Being bitter...holding a grudge

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Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby Middleway » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:43 pm

I would like to get a buddhist perspective on this.
I have been estranged from my father for around 6 years now but have basically had very little to do with each other for about 15 years despite him still being married to my mother and her and I being in frequent contact.

He was extremely emotionally and physically abusive throughout my childhood and adolescence. He would regularly explode into rages over the most trivial of things and it was nearly always directed at me rather than my younger brother or my mother.

I have this terrible conflict... I can't seem to write him off as having never loved me, I can't write him off as being a totally bad man.
There is this part of me that desperately wants some kind of resolution but there is so much anger in me too...its eating me up. I'm chronically depressed and anxious, no medications help me. I feel like I am running out of options

I am 33 and he is an old man now...but I know that his core personality hasn't changed.
I'm sure he would like some kind of resolution too but the thought of him hugging me makes my skin crawl. The thought that if he started his bullshit behaviour directed at anyone or anything in my presence that I may totally lose the plot and end of putting him in hospital and me behind bars.

I just can't find a place for all the history and the current shit to sit in my mind without it poisoning me.
I just can't forgive what he did to me, I can't write him off either. So I can't move on. What would the buddha say?
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:57 pm

Hi Middleway,

Have you ever tried metta meditation?

Best,
Laura :)
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby ground » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:42 am

Yes metta is good advice.

Or the practice grounded on the thought that all want happiness and do not want suffering. They are all the same in this but some are more crazed and helpless than others to realize this because they have no teacher and carry the burdon of the negative karma.

This thought is practiced towards specific person appearing neutral, pleasant and disagreeable to generate an even-mindedness, equanimity. This is important: Impartiality towards all beings.

Toward those that we are attached to we generate the thought that since the continuum of existences is without beginning they also have been our enemies countless times.

Toward those that we have problems with, that we do not like or that appear to be hurting us all the time we generate the thought that since the continuum of existences is without beginning they also have been our loving mothers countless times.

Kind regards
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby ground » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:44 am

Here are some meditation practices:

http://www.bodhicitta.net/Meditation%20home.htm


Kind regards
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby KeithBC » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:47 am

While the Dharma is ultimately the cure for what ails us all, some things need the attention of a professional. You wouldn't go to a monastery to treat acute appendicitis or to get your car repaired.

May I suggest seeing a counselor? The issues you raise do not lend themselves to a do-it-yourself fix. I have found counselling to be extremely helpful in working through this kind of thing.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby Hanzze » Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:20 am

There would be no father without his child and no child without a father. One thing is to respect, those who have been here fist and accept/respect what ever they say or do. With humility and the "right" devotion, there is always a possibility to walk his own way. To respect and accept is the way to release not only your self, even those who have been fist. That does not mean, that you need to follow any advice but to listen and respect it. No other way to freely walk on.
Maybe you like to overcome your fear and look him into the eyes (no need to meet him physical, just place his image in front of you), as a child. "Thank you father, there is no better father than you for me." Take your time and tears are good.
Just that! :-)
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby catmoon » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:44 am

The method for dealing with a major aversion, a really overpowering one, is not to be shooting for a stunning sudden victory. Begin by merely thinking, "I might be able to reduce this aversion a little". Stay with that thought and watch as it transforms, over time, from something repulsive, to something neutral and finally becomes a firm conviction that it would be right and possible to reduce it a little. This frame of mind puts the practioner in a position to do some very small bit of forgiveness, or to do some very small act of kindness. By such methods one may slowly erode a major aversion.


- The Catmoon Sutras, Book XXIV Ch. 238

(ok i made it up)
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby CSEe » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:19 pm

Hi middleway , in search of Buddha your dad is perhaps your grandson , he is still a very naughty baby . So can you blame a 3 years old boy if he damaged your computer ?

In life you might have reason to blame your father using your knowledge as a tools . In Buddha you cant use the same tools to measure .

you see ,
Knowledge is measurement of knowing in our world and awareness in my perception is measurement of our energy towards purity / emptiness , towards Buddha .

In your case ,you have the knowledge that what ever your dad did is wrong , as for your dad he might or might not have the knowledge of his action . He apparently does not have the awareness .

So in Buddha what ever he did is not wrong simpily becouse he does not have the awareness , in simply words in Buddha maybe he is still a baby .

Buddha is about same and equal , so you have to love your dad same and equal to your lovers , love your lovers same and equal to your enemy . That is in buddha ok........just try to be aware of buddha and have the awareness to face your dad .

In search of Buddha , i can do what ever i like but just make sure i dont regret it when I move to higher awareness , so you can choose to dislike your dad but make sure you dont regret it .
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby muni » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:01 pm

Middleway wrote:I would like to get a buddhist perspective on this.
I have been estranged from my father for around 6 years now but have basically had very little to do with each other for about 15 years despite him still being married to my mother and her and I being in frequent contact.

He was extremely emotionally and physically abusive throughout my childhood and adolescence. He would regularly explode into rages over the most trivial of things and it was nearly always directed at me rather than my younger brother or my mother.

I have this terrible conflict... I can't seem to write him off as having never loved me, I can't write him off as being a totally bad man.
There is this part of me that desperately wants some kind of resolution but there is so much anger in me too...its eating me up. I'm chronically depressed and anxious, no medications help me. I feel like I am running out of options

I am 33 and he is an old man now...but I know that his core personality hasn't changed.
I'm sure he would like some kind of resolution too but the thought of him hugging me makes my skin crawl. The thought that if he started his bullshit behaviour directed at anyone or anything in my presence that I may totally lose the plot and end of putting him in hospital and me behind bars.

I just can't find a place for all the history and the current shit to sit in my mind without it poisoning me.
I just can't forgive what he did to me, I can't write him off either. So I can't move on. What would the buddha say?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erqJF_pp ... re=related

In some way anger toward the acts is okay but toward the actor is there compassion.
Theories can create an illusory distance between us and enlightenment.
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:10 pm

muni wrote:In some way anger toward the acts is okay but toward the actor is there compassion.

:good:
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:06 pm

KeithBC wrote:You wouldn't go to a monastery to treat acute appendicitis or to get your car repaired.

May I suggest seeing a counselor?

:thumbsup:
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby kirtu » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:05 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
KeithBC wrote:You wouldn't go to a monastery to treat acute appendicitis or to get your car repaired.

May I suggest seeing a counselor?

:thumbsup:


:thumbsup:

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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby CSEe » Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:08 am

Hi middleway , in addition to my earlier reply . If you use your knowledge to face your dad , you will hate him more and more each day as you gain knowledge more and more each day .
But if you face your dad in awareness ( awaress in my perception is measurement of our energy towards purity / emptiness -the Buddha ) , you will understand and forgive him more each day if you move to higher awareness ( more understanding on Buddha ) . You even feel so sad of your dad shortcoming and is possible love him more .

I hope my explaination to you about awareness and knowledge is clear , only by understanding the difference you could be able to understand . You will never understand if you use wrong tools .

If you want to cut an apple use a knief , dont use a cloth to cut an apple . You are using wrong tools . In our current world knowledge is everything but in Buddha knowledge is nothing .
knowledge is never exist in Buddha but only play a small part in the process of search Buddha .

why all robber run away after robbing people ?
This is becouse they have the knowledge that rob people is wrong but they does not have the awareness . You dont kill people / dont rob becouse you have not just knowledge but also the awareness .
In your case , please explore your awareness in Buddha before you face your dad .
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby muni » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:05 pm

Dear friend,

A question one can ask by such memories to those actions in the morning is: how many power I will give my thoughts-emotions today about this, in order to destroy this great opportunity or offered moment? The more my emotions get power, the more the licking flames of anger are the boss and I their slave and so they are destroying my peace and health and those surrounding me.

Compassion asks great courage, to hug the one who had so less peace as victim of his own emotions.
Theories can create an illusory distance between us and enlightenment.
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby muni » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:47 pm

Painful anger makes us smaller, while forgiveness give us the forcefull chance to grow beyond suffering. the freedom to live without regrets.
Theories can create an illusory distance between us and enlightenment.
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby Nosta » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:24 pm

You need to develop karuna (compassion).

Search on internet for meditation on love and compassion. They are very powerful really, and good to open your hearth.
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby Middleway » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:14 pm

Thanks for your replies, I have avoided coming back here to receive them for so long because it is very painful subject matter for me.

I think the advice about professional help is a good one and I will pursue that..

From the perspective of the dharma, what your saying is that if I continue on my path to develop compassion and loving kindness I will gain a new understamding of the situation?
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby fragrant herbs » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:46 pm

My father was physically abusive; my mother verbally. Therapy only made me hate them more. In fact I didn't even know that I disliked my mom so much until I got into therapy. So, I can't recommend it. What helped me is to see that my parents were suffering a lot, and that "they did not know what they were doing," and so I thought of them as victims in this world, and that they could not change. I didn't feel bad when either of them died, but I feel bad that I didn't feel bad about it. I have an older sister that is just like my mother, and we see each other once a year. I think of all the pain that she has suffered at the hands of our parents, but she doesn't believe it because she considers them to be loving, and when I watch her and her daughter verbally abuse each other I can't do much about it because if I say anything then they are hurt and would say, "I won't ever come back." It is a vicious cycle what people have done and are doing to each other in this life. My father's father used to beat my dad with a cat-of-nine-tails. My dad has shot at my sister from the window. I can't say that I love them, but I can say that I really feel bad because of how they were raised and how they lived their lives. When my mom died I thought, "I wish that she had been a happy person." So, yes, work on loving kindness, but in doing so try to understand that they are victims of their upbringing and that they really don't know any better. And don't say, "well, they could have gotten into therapy," because they don't see that what they are doing is wrong, and if they did they don't see that they need help. I spent many years coming up with this solution, and I am not saying that it is the best. I only regret that my mom isn't alive so that I could continue to try to help her, and now I try somewhat with my sister, but then I realize that it is all just a waste of my time. But I also spent years telling myself to "forgive them because they know not what they do." It was like a mantra in my mind whenever I thought about them.

It is sad that some people are raised in such a family, but then it is our karma to be there, and it is compassion that will get us above it all.
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby Dana » Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:50 pm

Yes, me too. I had a repressive, abusive, autocratic Dad who I hated as a youngster enough to leave home at age 16 to start working and a life of my own. I did return to his house briefly about a year later but then got married and moved away across the country and saw him only one more time before he died at age 63. The mailman liked him! Kind of a surprise to remaining family, sis and mom.
I lost my hate for Dad when I was told about some of his childhood whippings by his father, a country veterinarian in some old country, who would take the word of others over his son's; a grandfather who reputedly sang like an angel in church on a Sunday and came home to beat his diminutive wife until Dad stood up to him one day....and then came WW2 when he was all of 18 yrs and was marched to Italy over the Alps, losing his friends to enemy fire until he landed in a POW camp in Italy, then on to Canada as a DP. A father in his early 20's. I first born.

I did not stop hating all at once, unfortunately, no epiphany and instant insight! No karma for that! Only hard work for me but also, distance and time to think and try to understand from his side. He did help me when I asked for a loan and when I returned to pay it back (foolish, my sis & mom said) I tried talking to Dad to draw him out a little but he kept so much locked up inside that he was not able to let much out anymore, and old before his time. I could see that he was just not able! I hope it gave him some comfort to be approached by his daughter. At least it was before he died. I am so glad.

As I reviewed my life I came to realize, after seeing Buddhist teachings that, if we choose our parents, especially the opposite sex parent, perhaps I decided, that my wayward spirit needed his strong personality (tho terribly overbearing) for me to develop as a good person, and so perhaps that is how we came together in this life. Honesty above all, good work, creativity, compassion (in his own way), responsibility.....
It is so sad when I think on how his life went, how he tried to keep it together til he died from a heart attack, surely it must have been broken? his heart, I mean. And so, gradually I lost my hatred as I knew that he had only the best of intentions for me and did help me when I asked for it.

When I was 13, I recall saying to Mom, that Hell was life on Earth, as it was living with Dad. She didn't know what to make of it!
And now, it is Mom I am estranged from! The Mother who was always the understanding one, who gave to her other daughter a life changing gift that excluded me. I had such a hard time getting close to Mom when she moved nearby and now I think it was due to this long held secret, which, when finally outed accidentally by sis, ended our relationship at Mom's instigation. Whew! I got lucky, I figure, as sis is now taking care of the evil tempered woman who is my Mother.
Oy! Go figure!
They both still hate Dad and will hate him til the day they die, not realizing the importance of forgiveness. It felt so much better to be at peace with Dad and our past. When I mentioned forgiveness including Dad, sis went quiet on the phone (wanting forgiveness for self but not willing to give it to Dad?). I suppose they think I will never forgive them......but how will they know if they will not speak with me?
There are still some cranky days when I awake and feel anger and hatred toward what they did to me and their attitudes toward me but I do know better than to harbour such or to try too hard to make it all go away too quickly. It does take time and small steps,
unless you have that karmic quality that allows for quick release for these things.
Unfortunately my mind is like a steel trap, unwilling to let go..........until those neural circuits learn new paths, making learning a slow go for me! Ah dummy D ;)

Not everyone can afford to pay for therapy, I know, but the pros have seen it all before and do know how we tick and what might work for our personality once they get to know us. If you can afford some talking sessions with a friendly listener and adviser, it may help a lot, much faster than working on one's own.

Best wishes,
May the Blessing of understanding and forgiveness be yours, soon!

D
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Re: Being bitter...holding a grudge

Postby Ken1969 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:17 pm

Middleway wrote:I'm chronically depressed and anxious, no medications help me. I feel like I am running out of options


Hi Middleway, this isn't exactly 'Buddhist' (or maybe it is), but I have some experience with resenting a parent and letting go of that hurt. I'm a recovered member of Alcoholics Anonymous and just about every drunk has a huge resentment against one-or-both parents. In my own case my father was a raging alcoholic (he's now dead) and my Mother was a hard unloving Japanese woman. I abandoned further education to join the army at age 16 to escape them both.

Years later, I ended up in A.A. with a bunch of resentments that needed to be resolved if I ever was going to stay sober, because an alcoholic with a resentment will drink again; we're like that! :D

We have an 'inventory process' where we list those we resent, in one column. In the next we list what they did to us. In the next we list how that affected us (did it harm our self-esteem for example), and then in fourth column; the most difficult column to fill, we have to write our part in the resentment. With parents, since we were children (mostly) when the harm was done, our part is often 'Nothing', we don't have a 'physical part' in that resentment.

But what we do have is a lack of understanding now. Our parents did the best they could with the spiritual tools they had available; even if that was none. What was your Father's upbringing like? How did his parents affect him? He's only human like the rest of us. In my case I had to understand that my Mother was affected by my father's drunken behaviour. How could it not have been like this? It's maybe easier for us in A.A. to understand other people's 'spiritual' sickness, because everyone in A.A. arrived being spiritually sick and we have often harmed many other people; including our children in some way.

So, then we then take this piece of paper and discuss it - confession style - with a trusted friend, just to get another perspective. And then comes the toughest part, we make amends to the parent whom we have resented for many years; we don't look at their part; only our own.

In my experience, I severely resented my Mother; she had even disowned me about eight years ago; so making amends to her is tough (and it's still an ongoing process). My part in my resentment towards my Mother was that I had not been a good son; regardless of what she'd done to me. So now I pray for her happiness just before I phone her each week (the prayer reminds me to be nice, even if she is not, which sometimes she isn't) and I speak to her. We haven't met up yet - I don't want to force the issue as she doesn't seem to be too keen on meeting up with me yet, but I'm willing to make a face-to-face amend to her.

Anyway, in short, having got it down on paper, having took this paper to another person and discussed it, then swallowed my pride - which wasn't easy - and started making regular friendly contact with her, I've found I'm not carrying all that baggage I used to carry around with me.
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