Forgiveness is about de-powering yourself, and empowering a mythical illusion.
– King Ayles, author
“APOLOGIZED FOR ALL THE WORRY HE CAUSED ME…”
Madeleine was a young widow. She had three children in their late teens. She worked in government as a middle manager. She was well paid, well respected and well dressed. She was also a devout, traditional, Roman Catholic.
Madeleine’s husband, Alonzo (Lonny), had been an adventurer. He was a plumber by trade, but loved high risk sports and similar activities. He skydived, rock climbed, para glided, and so on. He had tried, over their years together, to get Madeleine interested. But, she valued care and caution and so, just not interested. She worried about him a lot, prayed for him a lot…but, never joined his escapades to the edges of safety. Just eleven months before she sat in my office, Lonny has died, when he fell while rock climbing with some friends.
Initially, Madeleine wanted to work on getting past her grief. She made steady progress on this, but got caught up, and confused, by her anger at Lonny. When I asked her what specifically she was angry about, she said, “He never apologized!”
“Apologized for what?” I asked.
“Apologized for all the worry he caused me…all the uncertainty he caused me, and all the pain he caused me!” she replied with self righteous assurance.
“You really are, very angry!”
“Madeleine, are you saying your marriage to Lonny had more pain than pleasure in it?” I asked.
“I sure am!” she replied defiantly again.
“Are you saying, you lost more than you gained, by staying in your marriage?”
“I sure am!” she said, repeating herself, but with a louder voice.
“Madeleine, are you saying it was a poor investment of your time to have been married to Lonny?”
“That’s exactly how I feel! And, now he’s dead, and I will never hear him say he was sorry for his lifestyle or for his endangerment of not just his life, but our marriage, our family, and our future together.” she replied vehemently.
“You really are, very angry!” I replied.
She paused, collected herself for a minute, then said, “Yes, I am, aren’t I? I didn’t realize how much I had kept those thoughts bottled up inside.”
“Well, now their out! Congratulations on taking the risk of sharing them. Would you like to be able to appreciate them, and use them, from now on?” I asked her.
“That’s not possible. I’ve only shared them with one other person,…my priest. And, he told me, I should, forgive and forget…easy for him to say…he didn’t spend twenty years of his life with Lonny…I did!” she replied, fuelling her anger, again.
“EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE PRESENTED AS EITHER WHITE OR BLACK…”
“But, what if it were possible to learn to appreciate the twenty years you had with Lonny?”
“How can I ever learn to appreciate those twenty years, when I can’t even explain them to my kids…I can’t even explain Lonny to his children! I get upset, then I get depressed about it…I feel so damn helpless!” she replied, her anger rising, yet again.
“Madeleine, what if it was possible, to learn to explain honestly, and genuinely, to your children, the relationship you had, with their Dad?”
“Ken, I’d love to be able to do that! But, it’s just not possible…is it?” she replied, raising her voice and eye brows slightly, to display her uncertainty, and yet, her hope it might be.
“It is possible Madeleine! But, there is a cost. You would need to be willing to learn some new ideas, and perhaps, broaden your spirituality, in keeping with your new Pope’s openness to scientific knowledge.”
“I like Pope Francis a lot…and I’m always willing to learn new ideas…so this really interests me. Where do we begin? ” she said, with a hint of curiosity, instead of anger.
“Let’s start with a little theology. Being raised Catholic, I bet you have noticed all the dualities in its principles and practices…like saints and sinners; angels and devils; heaven and hell; good and evil, and so on?” I asked her.
“Yes, I remember at one time, you were either a ‘good Catholic’ or a ‘bad Catholic.’ Everything seemed to be presented as either, white or black…but that’s changing.” she replied .
“I believe there are more films that involve love and forgiveness than violence, but they often seem fake and are almost embarrassing to watch.”
– Park Chan-wook, director
“I’M SUGGESTING YOU EACH WERE BOTH, PREDATOR AND PREY, IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP…”
“That principle of duality, of two-sided events, comes from science’s study of nature. The natural systems, in us and around us, operate on that same principle. For example, our weather system is a combination of high and low pressure systems, interacting; our economy is a combination of bull and bear market systems, interacting; our relationships are a combination of support and challenge systems, interacting; and so on.” I said.
“Are you saying my relationship to Lonny had to be a combination of support and challenge, interacting?”
“Yes, I am Madeleine! But, I’m also saying, like in nature, your relationship had to be a balanced event…equal, or equilibrated, for each of you.”
“Why do I care if it’s equal…he’s dead, and I’m here alone, and he owes me an apology for his dangerous lifestyle, and leaving me and our kids!”
“Madeline, there is no such thing as forgiveness in nature. Can I offer you another example? When the cheetah chases, kills and eats the impala, the cheetah is not angry, the impala is not sad…it is the natural system of predator and prey, acting out this natural, duality law. The cheetah never apologizes or feels remorse. The impala never expects an apology, or gets one. Each serve the natural order in their own way. The same is true of your relationship to Lonny. You each served the other…there were no mistakes.”
“Are you suggesting one of us was a predator and the other was a prey, in our marriage? I find that really hard to believe!” she exclaimed.
“I’m suggesting you were each, both predator and prey, in your relationship.” I replied.
“Now, I’m totally lost! How can that be, Ken? How can either of us be both predator and prey?”
“In the same way impalas getting wiser and stronger in their battle for survival with cheetahs, so too, do the cheetahs. Each wins, and loses, in the best way for the survival of the species. The same learning process goes on in human relationships. You are stronger and smarter, for your future, because of the relationship you had with Lonny.” I replied.
“BECAUSE IT PROTECTED YOUR ILLUSIONS, AND SO, IT FELT SAFER…”
“But, Ken, I just wanted to be happy with Lonny!” she said, tears filling her eyes. “Is that too much to expect?” she added.
“The purpose of your relationship with Lonny was not to get happy, it was to learn wisdom for your survival…but the price was the pain of the relationship. With your Catholic theological experiences, do you think you can you get people to want to go to heaven without them also having a fear of hell? One always comes with the other. The pain of our fears motivate us to seek pleasure, and so, learn to survive. They represent the duality of nature.”
“Are you saying, I was being unrealistic to expect happiness in my marriage?”
“Yes, Madeleine, if you mean pleasure without equal pain, at every second…Yes!”
Then, I added, “And, this is connected to forgiveness as well, Madeleine.”
“How is that?” she asked, not quite sure where this was all heading.
“Forgiveness is based on the denial of this duality law. Forgiveness is based on a belief, usually from theological experiences, that you can have more pleasure than pain, or even, all pleasure and no pain. But, nature ensures we get both equally, to motivate us to learn, and survive. Our fears motivate us to learn in an efficient way!”
“But, all I remember is the pain of my marriage…not the pleasure of it. Why would I do that…only remember one side of it?” she asked, looking truly bewildered.
“Because it felt safer by protecting your illusions, and the people and events where you learned them, even though they weren’t true.” I replied.
“So, forgiveness has been an illusion I‘ve been carrying around with me…is that what you’re saying?”
“There is no forgiveness in nature.” – Ugo Betti, playwright
“… I CAN SHOW YOU WHY YOU DON’T NEED AN APOLOGIZE FROM LOONY, ANYMORE.”
“Madeleine, we all have illusions about our life…it looks like that was one of yours. Please remember, it’s also a learning opportunity because now you have the chance to resolve this illusion, get the wisdom within, and get on with your life.”
“You’re saying, expecting Loony to apologize for his role in our marriage is my illusion, and I need to resolve it for my future, is that correct?”
Exactly, Madeleine! And, if you answer seven, simple questions, I can show you why you don’t need an apologize from Loony, anymore. Are you prepared to do that and resolve your forgiveness illusion?”
“What have I got to lose…sure!” she replied, sitting back in the chair and preparing herself for whatever was next.
“OK! Tell me three ways your spirituality has grown since marrying Loony?” I asked.
She thought for a few moments and then replied, “First, I attended church more so I could pray for him; second, I’m clearer about my own spirit as I watched him trying to test his; and third, I feel closer to my God because of the challenges in our relationship.”
“OK! Tell me three ways you have grown in self esteem, self worth or self confidence, since committing to Loony?” was next.
She paused again and then came out with, “Well, first, I learned to appreciate more my own values and beliefs; second, I’ve learned to have more self confidence in my own opinions; and third, I value myself much more than before I met him.”
“You’re doing well. Tell me three ways it has benefitted your in your career to have been connected to Loony?” I asked.
Her pause was shorter this time, and I could sense she was getting the duality laws implications more now.
Madeleine replied, smiling with more awareness “I took that new self confidence to work and have done well there, first, by displaying more of my creativity; second, by becoming more skilled and competent; and third, by getting more recognition and promotions.”
“Tell me three ways it has benefited you financially to have been married to Loony?”
“That’s interesting Ken! First, our family is safe because I made sure, years ago, we were both well insured; second, I took over the family finances and have managed them well; and third, I learned to value myself and my life even more, as I watched him risk his regularly.”
“Now, tell me three ways it has benefitted your in your social network to have Loony as a partner?”
“Well, as I think about it now…one is, over the years, I have develop close friendships with two people who I feel I can rely on when I need them; and another, I’ve learned how to be a friend in ways which surprise me, and finally, I’ve learned to stop worrying about what others think of me, now I focus on what I think of me.” she replied.
“… IT MOTIVATED ME TO LIVE MY LIFE AS I NEED TO, SO I CAN BE OK WITH ME.”
“Madeleine, would you tell me three ways it has benefitted your relationships with family to have been tied to Loony over the years?” I asked.
“Ken, that’s clearer to me than the others. In fact, I was noticing it just the other day. First, I have really close relationships with our children, I guess partly because they have learned to depend on me to be available; second, I have several close relationships with Lonny’s family, especially his parents and sister, which I value; and third, it has helped me appreciate my own parents and siblings, as well.”
I said, “One more question, tell me three ways it has benefitted your health to have been married to Lonny?”
“Well..for one, I take good care of my health and I guess Lonny was my motivation; for another, I take nothing for granted…every day I get, I appreciate; and finally, I think I’m getting what you’ve been talking about…I’m realizing right now…because of how Lonny lived his life, I got motivated to live my life as I need to, so I can be OK with me. I remember him saying several times over the years, usually when I was challenging him, ‘Madeleine, I don’t need you to do what I do, I just need you to respect my need to do it, to be me…in the same way, you need to attend your church to be you.’ He even once said jokingly, if I didn’t pester him to go to church, he wouldn’t pester me to go skydiving.” she said, smiling again.
“Madeleine, can you see now, I could have asked you for, not three benefits, but five or even ten benefits, to your time with Lonny, and you still could have come up with them…just with more details?” I asked.
Her eyes glistening, she replied, “Yes Ken, I seeing it, now! My time with him served me well. And, seeing our marriage that way, really the true way, shows me I don’t want, or need, an apology from Lonny any longer. Actually, I owe him a debt of thanks for the time we had together. And now, I can deal with our children just fine.”
“And, how does that fit with your Catholic theology, Madeleine?” I asked, curious as to how she integrated it, so smoothly.
“Well, it is really straight forward. Marriages are made in heaven…you are in it for life and you take the bad with the good…that’s the duality law you mentioned, Ken…so, Lonny was the man my God wanted me to have, for that period of my life. So, its all OK now!” she replied, smiling.
So, it all fit together for Madeleine perfectly, both within her life, and within her belief system. No mistakes, only learning opportunities.
“Forgiveness denies the natural, equilibrating, pleasure in every pain.”
– King Ayles, author
UNTIL NEXT TIME…
Now you know giving, or receiving, forgiveness is an illusion, and a denial of the duality law of nature. This law means there cannot be a one sided event anywhere in nature…a pain without an equal pleasure or a pleasure without an equal pain. This law is found in every hard science. Uncover the benefits of the event to you, and you won’t need an apology from others. Uncover the benefits of the event to them, and you won’t need to offer them an apology. Check it out, you will find it useful!
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