Thoughts on Forigiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

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Rumin8
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Re: Thoughts on Forigiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

Post by Rumin8 » 02 May 2019, 12:32

This is a fascinating topic. My thoughts are a mess on this, and I will need some time to process. That said, I haven't thought of splitting "trust" from "forgiveness." I've always conflated them. I've always felt that I was not a good person, because I assumed that when I forgave someone a trespass, that I would then naturally need to trust them again, at the same level I did to start with. That does not happen with me. I struggle to trust those who have betrayed me in great or small ways. I am slow to open my true self to others, and slow to trust. But once I do, I expect them to say and do good things, and to do what they say they will do. And to keep my confidences. I cannot honestly say that when this trust has been broken, that I am willing to trust again. That does not mean I cannot have relationships with those people, but it does mean that I will take what they say and do with a grain of salt. In other words, trust is very hard to rebuild with me. I cannot think of a scenario in nearly my nearly 50 years of life that once broken, that my trust has been completely restored in a person. I have been accused of being vindictive when I don't trust people again. But, it's not that I want "revenge," but its more that I don't want to associate with people who have betrayed my trust.

Through my faith transition journey, I am finding that I am a lot more open to forgiveness (giving and receiving) and I'm legitimately trying to trust certain people again, or even trust more people with my vulnerabilities. So far that has been rewarding. But I am also expecting that to burn me at some future time, and I'm interested to see how I will react to that.
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Re: Thoughts on Forigiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

Post by Curt Sunshine » 02 May 2019, 18:05

Someone with an alcoholic parent who abused them while drunk might forgive that parent, but that person probably shouldn't trust that parent to take care of their kids with alcohol readily available - no matter how long that parent has been sober.

Someone who has been an alcoholic child abuser who truly has repented (both felt true sorrow and changed) would not agree to watch children with alcohol readily available. They might trust themselves to avoid such previous behavior, but part of full repentance (change) is to avoid situations that might trigger a lapse, especially when removing the temptation would be relatively easy.

Also, someone who understands alcoholism would not ask an alcoholic who used to be an abuser to watch children with alcohol readily available. Conditional trust is fine, as long as it is reasonable; unconditional trust is terrible in many situations.

Each case is unique, since each person is unique.
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SilentDawning
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Re: Thoughts on Forgiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

Post by SilentDawning » 06 May 2019, 07:15

I have been reading widely on trust and forgiveness, and I came across a quote that I thought was dead-on with our discussion. It's written by a pastor who is also a counselor....here is his comment:

"I would hope that you are willing to consider forgiving the person who broke your trust. Likewise, for the person who has broken the trust of another, unless you are willing to consider asking for forgiveness, you would be wasting your time to pursue the relationship further. Restoring relationships ruined through a breach of trust will not be achieved quickly or by people who are half-hearted. Pride has to be put aside. Humility must be present. We must be willing to give up the desire for vengeance and address the temptation to throw the misdeed in the face of the other. Mercy must reign in the heart of the person who has been hurt. For the person who caused injury, there can be no sweeping of wrongs under the rug. A relational balance is required and sometimes it is a struggle to get there".

He uses the word "consider" because he feels often people come to him for counseling in broken relationships to simply check a box on the way to the lawyer's office. This is a precursor to him going much deeper into the role of forgiveness (the wronged person gives this) and repentance (the wrongdoer does this).

What makes people want to "throw the misdeed in the face of the other" do you think?
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Re: Thoughts on Forgiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

Post by dande48 » 06 May 2019, 09:41

SilentDawning wrote:
06 May 2019, 07:15
What makes people want to "throw the misdeed in the face of the other" do you think?
We're still hurt.
We're ashamed of being hurt.
We want to feel justified in our misdeeds towards those who have wronged us (including feeling hurt); or at least feel we're "not as bad as they are".

I think one of the primary struggles in forgiveness, is we feel we have to forgive, and forgive "right away", or we're bad people. It's practically considered a sin to "feel hurt", especially long after the event. I wish we would allow ourselves to feel hurt, to realize it's okay, so that we can deal with those feelings, overcome them, and truly forgive.
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Re: Thoughts on Forgiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

Post by SilentDawning » 06 May 2019, 09:54

dande48 wrote:
06 May 2019, 09:41
SilentDawning wrote:
06 May 2019, 07:15
What makes people want to "throw the misdeed in the face of the other" do you think?
We're still hurt.
We're ashamed of being hurt.
We want to feel justified in our misdeeds towards those who have wronged us (including feeling hurt); or at least feel we're "not as bad as they are".

I think one of the primary struggles in forgiveness, is we feel we have to forgive, and forgive "right away", or we're bad people. It's practically considered a sin to "feel hurt", especially long after the event. I wish we would allow ourselves to feel hurt, to realize it's okay, so that we can deal with those feelings, overcome them, and truly forgive.
I agree with the one in bold, but not the others. It's the same reason some people make comments like "you don't love me". It's to elicit a "yes I do!" response to feed the person's need for reassurance. Just as some people need reassurance even though there has been a major event, like a marriage ceremony that is an outright statement of love (in most cases), people need further expressions of love to feel assured and happy.

And so, hurt people, like myself appreciate multiple apologies as a form of reassurance the person is truly sorry -- particularly when they revert back to the behavior that may not be as bad as the original offense, but is at least similar to it.

The more I investigate, this, the more I feel the biblical approach to forgiveness is short-sighted. Issues of trust, long-term forgiveness in the face of proximal behavior, and the difference between forgiveness and trust in long-term relationships aren't at all addressed adequately in the scriptures in my view. People mistakenly believe that trust and forgiveness are the same things in all but obvious cases. They think one apology is enough to restore trust or at least repair the relationship. And the notion that the person who won't forgive is worse than the original sinner is sacrilege to me if you mean worse in the eyes of God.

Maybe worse off emotionally than the person who committed the offence and didn't mean it, had no conscience, but it doesn't sound fair that God would condemn a non-forgiving victim of murder or assault more than the person who did it without remorse.
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Re: Thoughts on Forigiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

Post by Roy » 06 May 2019, 16:44

dande48 wrote:
06 May 2019, 09:41
We want to feel justified in our misdeeds towards those who have wronged us (including feeling hurt); or at least feel we're "not as bad as they are".
I think when someone feels criticized they get defensive and may then respond by criticizing the other person (even if the offence has nothing to do with the criticism that triggered the defensiveness). Maybe you criticize your spouse for forgetting an important date or event and they respond by saying some variation of, "How dare you criticize me after what you did 6 months ago!"
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Re: Thoughts on Forigiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

Post by SilentDawning » 10 May 2019, 07:12

Minyan Man wrote:
30 Apr 2019, 11:10
Trust is not a light switch that you turn on at a specific moment. It is built & restored over time. I think that's what you're saying?
I don't want to put words in your mouth.


No one can say: I forgive you therefore I trust you again the same way I did before you offended.
Jesus is the exception. I am working on it.
Definitely. I also believe the scriptures to be incomplete in their treatment of forgiveness, and almost silent in their treatment of trust. There is lots written in the scriptures about what is required for God to trust us. But there is little about what we must do to restore trust between mortals.

This books I'm reading have been enlightening in ways -- here is a quote from it that I like. The author is a pastor/counselor, so he's speaking from experience and observation:
Which comes first, forgiveness or trust? I can’t say. It depends on so many variables and the people involved. For some, they can’t forgive until they can trust. For others, they can’t trust until they have forgiven.
I realize I'm in the former camp. If someone comes to me and apologizes repeatedly, and then acts in ways that show proactive attempts to restore trust, I find it much easier to forgive them than if there is a one-time apology or no apology at all. I find it nearly impossible to forgive if there they continue to repeat the offensive behavior, previous apology or not.

For me, the trust has been destroyed, and there is little forgiveness until there is trust. At least, in committed, long-term relationships.

Now, it's unreasonable to expect people in arms-length relationships to care about the trust with you -- particularly if they don't even know they hurt you. In this case, it's easier for me to forgive, particularly if the infraction is minor. I tend to just brush it off. But in committed relationships where there has been a serious offence that causes deep hurt -- that is different. For me, I need thw person to apologize profusely. I need them to avoid all behavior that even suggests the offence as well.

My conclusion is that in committed relationships, the wrong-doer needs to go through many of the same stages of restoration that God requires of people to forgive them. There must be a change in character.

I shared something my wife did 27 years ago in our relationship that really hurt me. She returned to the same kind of behavior many times afterward over the last 2.5 decades. Once she even indicated the pain it was causing me didn't matter to her. There was no way I could forgive the original infraction under those circumstances.

And I'm not unwilling to practice what I preach. I usually apologize multiple times and then point out things I do in order to show I am working at restoring trust. It seems there is an assumption in Christian philosophy that one apology is enough for all people. I beg to differ -- at least in long-term committed relationships and in my case.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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dande48
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Re: Thoughts on Forigiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

Post by dande48 » 10 May 2019, 08:43

SilentDawning wrote:
10 May 2019, 07:12
My conclusion is that in committed relationships, the wrong-doer needs to go through many of the same stages of restoration that God requires of people to forgive them. There must be a change in character.

I shared something my wife did 27 years ago in our relationship that really hurt me. She returned to the same kind of behavior many times afterward over the last 2.5 decades. Once she even indicated the pain it was causing me didn't matter to her. There was no way I could forgive the original infraction under those circumstances.
That doesn't sound like a "trust" issue. Shouldn't we try to forgive people, even when there is likely not going to be a change in character? Thinking on the concept of grace and the atonement, aren't we given forgiveness and salvation, despite the fact that we often keep on making the same mistakes over and over again? Sometimes we're oblivious that what we're doing is wrong, or don't feel it is wrong. Sometimes we're weak, or stuck in a bad habit or addiction we're constantly struggling (and failing) to break free from. Or maybe we've lost the will to fight it.

Whatever the reason we keep making the same mistakes, I like to think the atonement (theoretically) covers us. I think it'd do us good to approach others with the same sort of compassion and empathy. But once again, that's a separate issue from "trust".
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SilentDawning
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Re: Thoughts on Forigiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

Post by SilentDawning » 10 May 2019, 09:24

dande48 wrote:
10 May 2019, 08:43
SilentDawning wrote:
10 May 2019, 07:12
My conclusion is that in committed relationships, the wrong-doer needs to go through many of the same stages of restoration that God requires of people to forgive them. There must be a change in character.

I shared something my wife did 27 years ago in our relationship that really hurt me. She returned to the same kind of behavior many times afterward over the last 2.5 decades. Once she even indicated the pain it was causing me didn't matter to her. There was no way I could forgive the original infraction under those circumstances.
That doesn't sound like a "trust" issue. Shouldn't we try to forgive people, even when there is likely not going to be a change in character? Thinking on the concept of grace and the atonement, aren't we given forgiveness and salvation, despite the fact that we often keep on making the same mistakes over and over again? Sometimes we're oblivious that what we're doing is wrong, or don't feel it is wrong. Sometimes we're weak, or stuck in a bad habit or addiction we're constantly struggling (and failing) to break free from. Or maybe we've lost the will to fight it.

Whatever the reason we keep making the same mistakes, I like to think the atonement (theoretically) covers us. I think it'd do us good to approach others with the same sort of compassion and empathy. But once again, that's a separate issue from "trust".
But remember, to God, the former sins return as a blot on our record if we repent and then return to them. Joseph Smith said that.

I agree, He gives us many chances, and we should forgive as many times as necessary, but the same sin, repeated again, requires yet another round of forgiveness. So, subsequent returns to past sinning behavior mean another round of forgiveness is required. It's not as if someone sins once, we forgive them, and that first forgiveness applies to all subsequent sins of the same kind. Each new sin requires a new forgiveness.


Also, please see my quote from this highly observant pastor and counselor who said that for some people, restoration of trust must come before forgiveness can happen IN SOME SITUATIONS AND WITH SOME PERSONALITIES. I gave it earlier.
Which comes first, forgiveness or trust? I can’t say. It depends on so many variables and the people involved. For some, they can’t forgive until they can trust. For others, they can’t trust until they have forgiven.
Also, I will say again, I think the scriptures are incomplete on matters of trust among mortals and even forgiveness in general. You seem to be interpreting scriptures in what I believe are for arms-length relationships. People are more than willing to entwine trust as a forgiveness in their traditional interpretation of the scriptures on these matters. But as you say, they are two separate processes, and as the quote above says, for some people, the wrong is so deep trust must be restored before forgiveness can happen quickly or even at all in some circumstances -- including long-term committed relationships.

Naturally, time is good for healing and promoting forgiveness. But it won't restore trust without a change of heart in the wrongdoer.

I am convinced I'm not going to get agreement from all people on this. But I think it's fair to say scriptures are incomplete on some issues, or the advice is for certain situations that aren't articulated. That is why we supposedly have an open canon.

For me, in my marriage, my wife I think has decided not to apologize for the wrong of 25 years ago until I can trust her again. I want to forgive, but find it hard to on that issue until I feel I can trust her again. And she wants me to agree to something related to the hurt that could revive her old behavior! If she would follow more of a repentance path, with true behavior change, then it would benefit her. I believe I would not only trust her, but forgive in an instant. And she would get the thing she keeps asking me for, which to me, entails far too much risk of return to a past offence if there isn't a full change in character on her part.

And this is in spite of my tendency to be a slow forgiver.

The other thing to remember -- if the ONLY THING the wrong-doer wants is forgiveness without restoration of trust, they may end up losing the relationship -- something they may value. They may get forgiveness (defined as a lack of angst about the offense in the person wronged), but they may end up in divorce or at least, a severed relationship in which there can no longer be collaboration based on trust.

You don't have to trust, and therefore, collaborate, if you no longer trust another. And if you accept the definition of forgiveness as a lack of angst about the offence, you might even argue that no-contact is a good way to prevent the revival of old feelings that you have dealt with. You may even argue that no-contact is the best way to start forgiving because the wrongdoer is not longer in proximity to reoffend, or provoke memories that you have tried to deal with through forgiveness.
Last edited by SilentDawning on 10 May 2019, 09:44, edited 1 time in total.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Re: Thoughts on Forigiveness and Trust in Committed, Long Term Relationships

Post by Minyan Man » 10 May 2019, 09:36

I have a couple of questions related to our LDS belief system:
- Do we believe in acts of contrition? Definition: sorrow for and detestation of sin with a true purpose of amendment, arising from a love of God for His own perfections (perfect contrition) , or from some inferior motive, as fear of divine punishment

- Do we believe in Penance?
1. a punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin.
2. a penitential discipline imposed by church authority.
3, a sacrament, as in the Roman Catholic Church, consisting in a confession of sin, made with sorrow and with the intention of amendment, followed by the forgiveness of the sin.

I'm not talking about doing (3) "Hail Mary's & (2) "Our Fathers.
Could it be...
1. going on a mission?
2. doing service within the community?
3. acts of personal sacrifice without a public displace or recognition?

My own feeling is: #3 acts of personal sacrifice without public display, etc

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