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KountC

Does anyone else here despise a dead parent?

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I'm just curious, if anyone else here, is by chance glad that a parent is dead and out of their life. When my father died, it was the biggest blessing not to have him interfere with my life. Does anyone else wrestle with these things ?

Cheers!

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Hi KountC,

So, we all know of the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. We figure "our neighbor" is pretty much everyone - even those who have done us harm. It's pretty hard to love and despise someone at the same time. You're surely in good company - plenty of folks have less-than-desirable parents. But we figure God gave us that commandment for a good reason.

Forgiveness is important. Mormons have a pretty clearcut understanding of the issue:

Doctrine and Covenants 64:10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

Here's one of the better talks I've seen on the issue:

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

A 32-year-old milk truck driver lived with his family in their Nickel Mines community. He was not Amish, but his pickup route took him to many Amish dairy farms, where he became known as the quiet milkman. Last October he suddenly lost all reason and control. In his tormented mind he blamed God for the death of his first child and some unsubstantiated memories. He stormed into the Amish school without any provocation, released the boys and adults, and tied up the 10 girls. He shot the girls, killing five and wounding five. Then he took his own life.

This shocking violence caused great anguish among the Amish but no anger. There was hurt but no hate. Their forgiveness was immediate. Collectively they began to reach out to the milkman’s suffering family. As the milkman’s family gathered in his home the day after the shootings, an Amish neighbor came over, wrapped his arms around the father of the dead gunman, and said, “We will forgive you.” 1 Amish leaders visited the milkman’s wife and children to extend their sympathy, their forgiveness, their help, and their love. About half of the mourners at the milkman’s funeral were Amish. In turn, the Amish invited the milkman’s family to attend the funeral services of the girls who had been killed. A remarkable peace settled on the Amish as their faith sustained them during this crisis.

One local resident very eloquently summed up the aftermath of this tragedy when he said, “We were all speaking the same language, and not just English, but a language of caring, a language of community, [and] a language of service. And, yes, a language of forgiveness.” 2 It was an amazing outpouring of their complete faith in the Lord’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

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Why would they forgive the father of the dead gun man? its not like he had done any shooting. Seems kind of rude to say to a guy who's son just went bonkers on a bunch of

school girls.

Grief isn't rational.

For many of us, when someone we love is killed, the knee-jerk response is to kill not only their killer but everyone who has ever been even tangentially associated with them. To soak the world in blood and then burn it down just for good measure.

It's the whole reasoning behind 'an eye for an eye'... The attempt at fairness. Not, you killed (or even just insulted) my son. So I'll kill yours, AND your wife, AND you parents, AND your dog, your neighbor, and anyone you've ever cared for... Which is/was the norm.

Even when society doesn't support revenge killings (and not only do some whole societies still practice revenge, but even in this country, many subgroups still do. Think gangs.) it's still a visceral reaction of many.

If my son killed someone's child, and their parents came to my house, I'd be expecting their wrath, not their commiseration.

Q

Edited by Quin

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Family issues are so complicated. Especially with parents, I think. When we're young, we have to rely on them for everything. When they let us down, it wounds us in a way that no one else can wound us. No one else can take their place or fill the gaps left when they've fallen short.

I don't know about you, but for me, hate and spite are usually an easier-to-deal-with front for pain or fear.

I don't know what happened between you and your father, but whatever it was has clearly left some injuries that haven't been treated yet. What have you done to overcome it? Not for his sake, for yours.

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Guest LiterateParakeet
I'm just curious, if anyone else here, is by chance glad that a parent is dead and out of their life. When my father died, it was the biggest blessing not to have him interfere with my life. Does anyone else wrestle with these things ?

Yes, I totally get you.

My mother died last summer. I had thought that when she died I would be relieved, and yet I was surprised to find myself angry. I was furious. Furious with her for all the unresolved issues in our relationship, and furious that she died without us being able to resolve them. (I know--feelings can be irrational.)

Fortunately, through therapy (and much study of the scriptures) I had learned that I need to allow myself to feel my emotions and work through them--rather than try to ignore them or deny what I feel.

So I allowed myself to be angry. I imagined that my mother could see me and hear everything I said, so when I was alone, I vented. I told her all the things I could never tell her when she was alive because I had felt she was too fragile (emotionally, mentally and physically). I raged for a few days. Then something interesting happened....

As I boarded a plane to go to her funeral, I wondered how I would hide my anger from my siblings. I felt they were grieving in a more "normal" way i.e. feeling sad for the loss, and I didn't want to intrude on their experience. That's when it hit me. I wasn't angry any more.

I felt better, lighter, happier than I had in a long time. All that anger was released, and cleansed. Having done that, I was at last able to forgive her.

I think forgiveness is a hugely misunderstood principle. We throw the word around as if it is something we all agree on, and yet if you ask people what it means, they will likely give you very different answers. I think a whole book could be written about it. I wrote a book (not published yet), and I used two chapters to cover my feelings about it...a whole chapter for what I don't think it is, and why, and another chapter about what it is and how we can claim that healing power in our lives. (I also have a chapter about anger and why it's okay to be angry...it's what you do with that anger that can be troublesome.)

You are not alone. If you still feel angry with your father, my suggestion would be to allow yourself to feel what you feel without judging yourself. Just feel it. Then get it out--you could write it down, or yell while driving as I did (I must have looked like a lunatic to anyone who saw me, LOL!) Express the anger (in a way that will not harm you or others) is the best way to release it and get closer to forgiveness. Don't rush yourself to forgive either...forgiveness and healing go hand and hand, and they both take time.

Be gentle with yourself.

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Honestly, I can't comprehend this. I can't comprehend the desire to expend the effort it requires to keep and nurture such negativity. Especially towards my parents.

I find it easier to just let my parents (or anybody else for that matter) be whoever they want to be instead of who I want them to be and let the chips fall where they lay. I might get mad and throw things at them, but then I'm done and everything is right as rain with me. If I'm the one being the jerk and I realize my mistake, I go and try to make things right and then I'm done and everything is right as rain with me. I don't require anybody to be what I want them to be or act how I want them to act for me to be right as rain. And that's where I want to be at all times... right as rain.

I actually don't know if I'm using that phrase correctly. It's from a movie - the Matrix. :)

Edited by anatess

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My father died in 1980. He was an abusive man who did a lot of damage while alive.

Do I despise him? No. Do I hate what he did to me and others? Would I rather have grown up in a household with a decent fathers? Absolutely. I don't wallow in it, though. I was pro-active and took steps to get on with my life and heal from the hurt. Did it change who I might have been? Maybe.

What I do know is that my Heavenly Father expects me always to forgive. It took some effort, but that is what I did. And I will be taking his name to the temple to have his work done.

No one expects you to not feel the pain. But for your own sake, at some point you must leave the despising behind and move forward.

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Despise is a strong word but I guess any word can be used in certain contexts.

I agree that harbouring anger and hate for an extended time, like throughout your whole life, is only damaging to yourself and possibly those around you. There is no healing process and moving on when you hold onto that stuff. BUT, I think there's a big difference between people who are RELIEVED that a parent has passed due to abuse and control. I have personally known people that have felt relief - a huge burden lifted from them when a family member finally goes - it's like a breath of fresh air. I don't think this is wrong. It is likely extremely therapeutic for some people to be able to sit down and say, "Finally - it's over!" I think the only time things become a problem is when you keep bringing up old wounds and reliving stuff that isn't necessary anymore.

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My wife has as good a reason to despise and hate her Father and Grandfather as anyone else. I'm not saying she is better than anyone, but she is a great example to me along the lines of forgiveness and healing. I know that she didn't feel relief when her Grandfather died, even though he did terrible things.

I know you asked for people who feel the same way. But details are lacking to compare. I am sorry that you did not have the father you wanted. Hopefully you can BE the father you wanted.

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