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16 May 2009

Hope vs. Expectation; Forgiveness?

Earlier this week i saw John, the therapist i've worked with for many years. Because i'm largely healed of the past & not "crazy" any more, i usually don't see him but about once a month. But i'm seeing him a little more often in anticipation of the visit with my family next month.

I mentioned to him that i no longer believe that we will conceive a child/have a family, but i can't help but hope. He thought this normal. However, when i talked about monthly disappointment & mourning, he said, "That's not hope; that's expectation."


Expectation is the assumption, the confidence that something will occur eventually. I did have this confidence a year or two ago. I no longer have any confidence, assurance, no prospect, no expectation that this will happen for us. But i still have hope. And as long as i have hope, i will be disappointed. I know there is no promise that we will have children.

I found this on a blog earlier today:


Level 1 — Detached Forgiveness — There is a reduction in megative feelings toward the offender, but no reconciliation takes place.

Level 2 — Limited Forgivenss — There is a reduction in negative feelings toward the offender, and the relationship is partially restored.

Level 3 — Full Forgiveness — There is a total cessation of negative feelings toward the offender, and the relationship is fully restored.


  • Approval of what they did
  • Excusing what they did
  • Justifying what they did
  • Pardoning what they did
  • Reconciliation (Takes two people)
  • Denying what they did
  • Blindness to what happened
  • Forgetting
  • Refusing to take wrong seriously
  • Pretending we are not hurt


  • Being aware of what they did and still forgiving them
  • Choosing to keep no records of wrongs
  • Refusing to punish
  • Not telling what they did
  • Being merciful
  • Graciousness
  • An inner condition
  • The absence of bitterness
*INTIMACY IGNITED by Dillow & Pintus (p.210-211)

Now, this is speaking directly about marriage, at least on the blog it was & by title, i assume the book is as well. But it made me think of forgiveness in general, & IF this is appropriate to marriage, i don't think it is in general forgiveness.

If it is, i haven't done much forgiving in my life. But one huge difference is that forgiveness can occur without restoring of a relationship. If fact, it often has to. If i was hurt by a bully at school i've not seen in 20 years, or by someone who has died but forgiveness is necessary, then it happens without the other person being involved. What is more, forgiveness is freeing me. It does not require the other person to be repentant. But it does free me from carrying the burden of judgement of the other person.

This of course touches me as recently i've frequently posted on my mother & my relationship with her. And, at least one person has spoken to me on forgiveness.

I can state that i believe that i have forgiven my parents, particularly my mother. But one of the reasons it comes up frequently for me is that it has shaped me. I respond in certain ways because of that shaping. And i'm not sure i'll ever be able to change it, so i will always be aware of the things that were done that created that shape. It is not unforgiveness, it is awareness.

For example, right now Duane is out visiting with the neighbors who are having a garage sale. And this makes me very, very nervous.

The neighbor is very friendly. He will stop at our house for half an hour or more & chat in the driveway. My husband is very friendly, a people person, & enjoys this interaction. So why am i nervous?

It is because my mother rarely allowed me to visit with neighbors. When we saw the neighbors outside her comment was, "Don't bug them. Leave them alone. They won't like you if you bug them. If people really know you they won't like you."

We were allowed to visit with an elderly neighbor lady when she was out in her garden, but ony for a few minutes at a time. I believe that this lady did indeed enjoy the visits of her young neighbors, but my mother rarely allowed it. Now, i wonder if she didn't limit these visits because of the abuse. If someone got to know us really well we might have told, & my mother did a wonderful job of making a good appearance to everyone who knew our family. She didn't want that facade marred.

Or, she may simply have believed as often even normal parents do, that we were disturbing the neighbors & they would rather not be bothered.

But it effects me & effects me very strongly. I will join Duane in visiting neighbors when we are outdoors, but if we stand talking for more than about 10 minutes i begin to get very uncomfortable & antsy. The idea that if someone "really knew me" they couldn't possibly like me effects me on a day to day basis.

Is the fact that i "tell what was done" & talk about it an indication of unforgiveness? I don't know the answer to this. I don't know, but i don't believe the above is appropriate to general forgiveness.

I'll post later today on the baby blanket & the apron i made. Off to a memorial right now.



Rosemary said...

I really liked seeing these stages of forgiveness and what forgiveness is and isn't - I have things in my life I've dealt with and haven't and this is making it very real to me what moving on from it will mean and how I'll need to feel.

Always profound, my dear Kathryn, always profound.

You are finding your way in life so much more than some people can ever hope to even try and you should be really proud of this. Really living life is not for the faint of heart! You're doing just fine! (or as Dorie would say from Finding Nemo - just keep swimming)

Meadowlark said...

The "telling what they did" aspect is interesting.

Perhaps it depends upon why a person tells... to make the original person look bad? But what if a person tells simply because "it is what it is". There is no desire to make the original person out as a villain but those actions happened and they helped to shape and create the person doing the telling. (did that make sense?)

Just my two cents. I could go on and on and on... but I won't.