I believe in the power of prayer to overcome resentment.
I haven’t always been able to determine I had a resentment or that I had gotten over it. I can’t really say how common that is. In my case I had severe resentment for my mother due to childhood traumas but they were so traumatic I blocked the incidents and the hatred out of my conscious mind, a kind of defense mechanism to make the unbearable bearable. Then in my early teenage years drugs made me even more oblivious to it.
After decades of sobriety the traumas came back to mind and I became aware of the resentment. It was just a quiet subtle thing which was triggered by her presence.
I confronted her about the past and apologized for the resentment. I thought I was over it.
One day I watched a young Father with his 5 year old daughter. I couldn’t help thinking I had been an innocent child like that. Then, at a Church meeting, the minister asked me if I had given up resentment.
I began to tell him about the barber shop incident and then yelled out “How could someone do that to another person?” and the anger surfaced, too obvious to deny.
At that point the minister just said, “Ted, you haven’t forgiven your mother”.
Then he said “ Your mom couldn’t help what she did to you.”
I said,“ I realize that.”
His reply was that I just knew it intellectually but didn’t really know it. (You know like reading something in a book but not seeing it for yourself). Then he said “Ask God to show you that she couldn’t help it and he will, and then you will go free.”
In prayer I asked to God to see she couldn’t help herself. Several days later as I was driving I began to remember an incident when I was about 10 years old when I had been extremely cruel to another young boy. And I could see at that time how compulsive I had been. In short, I had become just like my mother I hated.
Around that time I had a talk with the office manager of the Church about the meeting and what I had seen. When I described my compulsive cruelty as a child, he said “That’s how it is with adults too”. We chatted about compulsiveness and how many people think acknowledging it is a sign of unwillingness to take responsibility for their actions.
Through my own experience of being cruel , I was slowly seeing that my mom was just as compulsiveness in her cruelty as I had been in mine. She couldn’t help herself anymore than I could help myself. I don’t know the details of her childhood but she was once an innocent child also who had experienced her own traumas that had shaped her. Somehow in seeing all this, I have gone free.
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