I was reading Crucial Conversations (an extremely good book) when I got to thinking about my difficulty in forgiveness. I realized that my son had emotionally wounded me the first night he stayed with us when we adopted him and his brother. I had been carrying around that hurt for seventeen years. As I tried to re-experience him dismissing me in disgust and the resulting worthless feeling I had about myself I wondered how I could resolve this hole in my heart.
I prayed about it and I realized that my son, through his attacks, was actually telling me what he needed from me to heal him.
He felt worthless (a result of being abused and neglected for five and one-half years in his birth home before we adopted him) and he was trying to make me feel how he felt so I would know how to help him. (I don’t believe he wasn’t doing any of this consciously, though).
Once I saw this I explained to him what I was thinking and apologized for not understanding him, for seeing only the surface attacks and feeling their pain and not understanding the communication of a physically and emotionally traumatized little boy.
He accepted my apology but I don’t think he understood fully what I was talking about. Then unexpectedly, I noticed my heart changed. I didn’t have an undercurrent of resentment toward him that I had been unknowingly carrying around. I finally felt free to more completely accept and love him. Which is what his near constant attacks had been asking of me all along.
I only wish I’d understood this seventeen years ago.