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Forgiveness & Love

Jill said through tears, “If I were to forgive my Dad… then that would mean there’s something wrong with me, and if there’s something wrong with me then that means I’m to blame for why I’m still single.”

She broke down and revealed this truth to herself and to me. This came through after digging deeper into why it’s been so hard for Jill to receive her Father’s love.

Let me rewind a bit so you know how we got here.

Jill came to me knowing she was stuck in a pattern of attracting men who were married or weren’t available for a real relationship. She wanted to understand why this pattern existed and how to release it so she could have the kind of long term relationship she truly desired.

We uncovered that getting involved with men that weren’t available felt safe for Jill because she didn’t have to emotionally invest in someone and risk the possibility of getting hurt or rejected.

We also uncovered that when these same men would show up attentive and caring, it was easy for Jill to get sucked into that feeling of being “wanted”. Feeling “wanted” had Jill bypass the fact that the relationship really couldn’t go anywhere, and she would become invested.

To figure out why she was doing this, we had to look at where this pattern was coming from.

Everyone has a pattern in love regardless of their relationship status. The root to these patterns stems from how you saw and observed love when you were younger within your family.

Those translations have been branded into our subconscious at a young age, and we’re unconsciously projecting those experiences from the past onto our present interactions.

To pinpoint the origin of Jill’s pattern, we looked at her relationship with her Mom and Dad.

When she was younger, Jill often felt like her Dad was highly critical of her. She even felt like her Dad was harder on her than her siblings, and it hurt. She just kept feeling like she couldn’t do anything right.

On top of that her Dad was extremely busy, so he wasn’t around much.

And even now when she’s around her Dad or talks to him, she still feels that same lack of support or emotional connection with him.

So, what we discovered through understanding Jill’s relationship with her Dad, was that Jill had equated distance and lack of presence to love (not consciously). That’s why it felt safe to be with unavailable men. It’s what she’s known and is comfortable with, even though it wasn’t what she desired.

Jill also craved an emotional connection with her Dad, which explains why Jill would get pulled in so quickly when a man would give her attention even when she knew it wasn’t right. What Jill was actually desiring is that connection with her Dad to feel fulfilled.

So, in an effort to shift this pattern at the source, I asked Jill to have a conversation with her Dad.

I said, “Let him know how you felt when you were younger and how much it hurt to feel like you couldn’t do anything right. Then let him know what you desire, which is to feel closer to him and to let him into your life and to connect with him emotionally.

I know this might feel scary and hard, but it’s one of the fastest ways to free yourself of this pattern.”

Jill courageously had this conversation with her Dad and he acknowledged how he made her feel when she was younger. He asked her what she needed from him to support her and for her to feel better.

He literally said everything she desired, but somehow when her Dad asked this question, Jill was caught off guard and blanked even though she knew what she needed.

Jill recapped her entire conversation with her Dad with me, and I told her, “You did a great job in having the conversation, but I can feel you really didn’t allow yourself to receive his love in that conversation to help you heal.”

Jill said, “I can feel that too.”

That’s when I asked, “If you were to take in his love and forgive him, what might you make that mean about you?”

It took me asking a couple of times before she realized and said, “If I were to forgive my Dad… then that would mean there’s something wrong with me, and if there’s something wrong with me then that means I’m to blame for why I’m still single.”

I then said, “Good job in pinpointing the truth and going there. Can you begin to take in that being single isn’t your fault nor is your relationship with your Dad keeping you from love?

No one is to blame. In fact the tendency to blame either yourself or your Dad is to try to answer the question, Why am I still single?

What if right now in this moment we make being single okay, and own that there’s nothing to fix or change about yourself. In fact, allow yourself to take in, because it’s sometimes just a choice, that from the moment you were born you’ve always been worthy of profound love.”

Jill said, “In this moment I can take that in.”

Then I said, “So, if you go back to that conversation with your Dad, can you accept and receive the love he was expressing? Can you begin to forgive him for how he made you feel when you were younger?”

She said, “YES!”

In her taking in his love I could feel something shift inside of her. Her heart opened and she exhaled, experiencing a level of connection she hadn’t felt with her Dad in what felt like forever.

Now it’s your turn. Are you having a hard time forgiving someone? Ask yourself if you were to forgive him/her what might that mean about you? I would love to hear in the comments below.

In Love,
Kavita

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  • SUSAN

    Greetings Kavita,

    I enjoyed reading the blog about Jill and forgiveness for her Dad but what advice do you have when you have a mother who refuses to acknowledge my emotions and a father who had abandonment issues and has since died?

    • http://kavitajpatel.com Kavita J Patel

      What is the pattern you are seeing in your love life? You don’t need them to acknowledge your emotions to forgive them. That occurred in this particular case, but there are many different paths to forgiveness. It’s also about allowing the way they are showing their love in even if it may look nothing like how you want it to. It’s about us having that understanding for ourselves.

  • KXOXO34

    Dear Kavita:
    I could never forgive my Father. As an older woman and single (which I’m not complaining about), I’ve come to realize that no matter what Fathers won’t change how they treated their Daughters. My Father has preferences over his other Daughters then his first born who happens to be me. He never showed compassion, warmth, or love. Even as an adult he still shows his indifference. About 8 or 10 years ago, my Father and I had an argument which is one I will never forget. He insulted me as if you would insult a stranger. Not once did he ever apologize after all the hurtful things he told me. I felt as if I was the bad guy. Years after, we tried to reunite which it did, but it felt fake. He never showed me the love I needed from a Father. From my Father. My relationships with men haven’t been Rose blossoms hence why I prefer to stay single and not involved. I been hurt too many times to fall within that pattern again. My relationship with my Dad is in limbo. I’m not satisfied with that relationship and will never be. His family thinks I’m being to hard on him or thinks I’m being dramatic or jealous. Are you kidding me? Do they not see what is happening????

    • http://kavitajpatel.com Kavita J Patel

      I totally get it, and I can hear the hurt and pain. It also sounds like you’ve made up your mind, and you’re allowed to feel how you feel. I just always ask myself are these thoughts and ideas I am having supporting me and creating freedom for myself? Maybe that is a helpful question for you maybe not. I find when someone wants to think one way that is all they will see, and they usually have a ton of evidence to feel what they feel, but the question is bigger than that the question is does that way of thinking create a life where you get to live fully and love fully. We are powerful we have the choice to believe and shift whatever thoughts we would like to support ourselves.

      • KXOXO34

        Yes, I’ve made up my mind. Why? Because nothing can be done to change someone. People, like my Father, cannot be changed. Change comes from within. I’ve tried, but I am numb to my Father. Also, I am not going to chase after anyone just to seek peace or love. Love and Peace starts from within not by obtaining it from another. My hurt and pain has given me the strength to be numb to many things. To surpass and move on in life. I am not complaining about how I feel because I know how I feel. I embrace how I feel. I don’t need the love or acceptance of men. Love and acceptance starts from me not from a relationship or men. I don’t need to be part of something such as a relationship to be or feel love. It is very easy for anyone to sit there and say let others love you. I’m not here to seek relationship guidance because I do not want a relationship. Reason I am here is because there is still life after all the hurt and pain someone has been through. You have to learn from your patterns and experience. You have to clearly know what it is you seek. You can still move on and heal.

        • http://kavitajpatel.com Kavita J Patel

          Yes I agree you can’t change anyone, and the point is not to change your parents. Trying to change anyone will feel disappointing, because that isn’t within your control. In fact it’s important to understand how your patterns and experiences are having you see things or people in a specific way, which may or may not be true. Allowing someone to love you isn’t about validating yourself, it’s about knowing you are love from within and therefore allowing others in is a part of that.

  • Cat in OKC

    I feel this was written by me except my Dad has been gone since I was 26 so I have not been able to have those conversations. He died about a year and a half after I was divorced and had become a “black mark” on the family. What can I do since I cannot talk to my Dad?

    • http://kavitajpatel.com Kavita J Patel

      You could talk to your Mom, siblings, aunts, uncles, family friends anyone that knows him. It’s important to see why he had certain beliefs that had nothing to do with you but his upbringing, and feel how much he really loved you.

  • Heidi Erika

    As always, I love your blog posts – they speak to me. I have a question Kavita. I have tried to talk to my mother about this (my story is so similar to this post) and she will not listen to try to understand the impact my upbringing had on me. She blames me. I had to cut off communication several years ago because it was just too toxic fro me. How do I move forward to have healing/closure when my mom wont listen or engage in conversations like this?

    • http://kavitajpatel.com Kavita J Patel

      Thanks Heidi! It’s important to understand how you are approaching her, it’s not about her really getting it. Do you feel you have been trying to have her “get it”? If so, this is really about you being expressed for yourself without expectations of her, and sharing your pain, and even saying these were my translations, and I want to understand what was happening for you at that time or in those situations. As you can see from the post even getting the acknowledgment doesn’t mean you finally feel free. Jill had to be in an a space to let his love in. Make sense?

      • Jerri Johnson

        Can you have forgiveness without talking to the person? If it’s just going to end up in a blame game, what would you really get out of it. I just feel sometimes you have to forgive and move on. But it seems you are saying a TALK HAS TO HAPPEN? In order to truly move past something.

  • Francina

    I have problems with both of my parents and I think that’s driving me crazy now, I dont know what to do. When I hear men saying you are beautiful I immediately imagine a relationship with them cuz I feel loved by them

    • http://kavitajpatel.com Kavita J Patel

      Hi Francina, that is great awareness. It’s important to face those problems with your parents because it will free you.

  • Franceil Passamenti Masi

    I don’t think it’s that’s easy Kavita! Children who are damaged from a young age by their parents have a harder time with relationships. It hasn’t been easy for me being gay too. I have forgiven my mother however we could never have a profound conversation that Jill had with her father. And my father is just lost. He doesn’t know the damage he has done to me. He won’t listen to how I feel hurt. So I think children like us need to resolve it ourselves and do the hard work of loving ourselves until that right one comes along. We need to forgive ourselves because the relationships as some of the other comments said may be too toxic to bear.

    • http://kavitajpatel.com Kavita J Patel

      Thank you for sharing Franceil. I have worked with all kinds of situations abuse, molestation, you name it. So, trust me this isn’t coming from a naive point of view or experience. The point of the post wasn’t that Jill’s father acknowledged her, there are many different kinds of conversations, and as you can see a parent can acknowledge you but you still don’t receive or take it in. It’s actually about understanding that you have come from love, it was just that you’re parents are highly imperfect and have pain that wasn’t dealt with within their childhood. So, there way of expressing love is very conditional, and yet those beliefs and their love for you are separate. When parents feel blamed yes it’s hard for them to listen, just like it is for us. However when we approach them with curiosity and without any intention of them getting it or changing, that’s when we get to be free just through expression. And you may even for the first time experience something different, because your energy and approach are different. It’s possible. If we are closed off to it because we don’t want to get hurt again, then yes that will taint our entire way of relating. Forgiveness is not only for ourselves but for those that created us too.

      • Franceil Passamenti Masi

        I have wanted to forgive my father but every time I talk to him it winds up to be a yelling match. Last time I talked to him he told me he wouldn’t help me and he needed to take care of himself when my son and I weee in dire straights.
        He basically had no involvement in my life and has no involvement in my sons life. I have tried to reconnect with him and talk to him but it doesn’t feel genuine. I honestly don’t know what to do or think it is not worth it.