Dear Counsellor: I cannot forgive
Q: I am now in my 60s and I cannot forgive some people who wrecked my family life. Another woman came into our lives. My father had a child with her. She was of no standing in our community. My parents eventually divorced and my dad did the unthinkable and got married to her. I do not know what he saw in her.
Eventually, they had four children. My brother and I were heart-broken.
Our father died, and we all went to the funeral. However, we have not communicated with that side of the family since his death. Sometimes they try to reach out to us because we are all adults, but we do not make any effort to contact them or socialise with them.
In his will, we got the major share of his wealth, but it pains us that they got something also. Much to my annoyance, our children and their children communicate, visit each other, and spend time together. We wish they would not do that because that side of the family produced a home-wrecker.
I would like the pain to go away, but I just cannot release it. What should I do?
A: It is sad that decades later, you cannot forgive. An unforgiving spirit is harmful to your health and well-being. You father is dead and you are still carrying feelings. You need to stop blaming the woman alone. Your father played a role and he even solidified his action by getting married to her. You will never know all the factors that led to the divorce, so leave that alone and move on.
The children are setting a good example by living together as family. The children and grandchild can be seen as victims, and you should not continue to victimise your siblings. You need to embrace them and enrich your life by being civil, if not cordial, to them.
You need to do some soul searching and determine whether your angst is due to the distribution of the legacy of your father. Your father has the right to determine what is left for whomever.
You still see the other woman as having no standing, which is unfortunate, degrading, and unnecessary. One's standing is not based on education, wealth, or family connection. She is created by God and has inherent status and standing.
Since you still have bitterness after all these years, and you are finding it difficult to forgive, I suggest that you seek a counsellor to help you learn to forgive, even while you will not forget.