I know that this anger and hate is causing me more pain and destruction of myself than my hating this person does to her. She will always be the kind of destructive person she is. I can't change her-how do I change me?
Thank You, J
Not really sure to tell you what my "belief" is. I have always tried to do the right things, taught my children to be decent, loving, caring, understanding. They are wonderful. Why is it so hard for me? I don't want to hate, I am sickened by the anger this person brings to my life. She is a relative so it is impossible to escape having her in my life. She does not care who she hurts or how. She is never sorry. Unfortunetly her daughter is the same way. I have tried to forgive her several times and we have started over without it lasting for long. They lie, steal, manipulate people and situations, always causing grief and destruction in my life and my marriage. This has been going on for 35 years. I ask them to stay away from my home and myself about 2 years ago. Even tho I have no contact with them, do not speak of them with other family members things are still uneven in my marriage and other family relationships. Forgiving them only sets me up for their next catastrophe. Any suggestions?
Welcome to the real world. The more fortunate people do not have to experience the agony of family feuds, naughty and incorrigible children, unfilial siblings, squabbling parents, and a host of other family problems. I fully understand how you feel for I am still reeling over similar problems, perhaps more than yours.
Before we get too upset over these problems, we have to realize the true nature of life. As Buddhists we are reminded that this life and this world are by their very nature, unsatisfactory. We are here to act out our parts in life, the good and the bad. As Buddhists we attribute this as the results of our past kamma (actions). Many things we have the power to change and prevent. However, certain things and events are destined to happen. We can try our best to lead a skilful and peaceful life. Having done our best and troubles still haunt us, then we have to find solace in the teachings of the Buddha. This is the true nature of existence.
Now coming back to your comment:
" How do you forgive those who have hurt you so deep you can not even stand to look at them or think of them or talk about them with anyone?"
Actually you are experiencing the exact opposite of what you wrote. You still want to look at them, you still think of them, and you still talk about them! That's why you are feeling miserable. Just consider this: If you do not look at them, do not think of them, and do not talk about them; then you will not have any more problems with them! This is pure logic.
We have been deceived by our mind. Each time when I took my shower, the old scenario played itself over and over again, how they hurt me, how they deserted my mother, why my daughter could have become such..... After awhile I finished my shower and the mental self destructive stage-play stopped! We become victims to our problems which by themselves are already bad enough. To associate mentally with them is like the proverbial adding insult to injury. This is what the Buddha referred to as unskilful conduct, which causes misery.
Your next comment:
"I know that this anger and hate is causing me more pain and destruction of myself than my hating this person does to her. She will always be the kind of destructive person she is. I can't change her-how do I change me?"
You got the facts right! Then start with a bit of common sense. Since such behaviour is not to our benefit, we should make effort to reduce this bad habit. As for me, when such thoughts came by and at times when I was mindful, I would command my mind to stop the poisoning, stop the non-productive and destructive thoughts! I didn't have to forgive. Maybe I am not wise enough or magnanimous enough to forgive. But I can stop the destructive thoughts from haunting me. This is the difference.
Your next comment:
"This has been going on for 35 years. I ask them to stay away from my home and myself about 2 years ago. Even tho I have no contact with them, do not speak of them with other family members things are still uneven in my marriage and other family relationships."
If this person is no longer within sight, then I would assume this person would not be causing any problem now. Thirty-five years is a very long time. Perhaps you may want to try the method that I am practising.
Have peace in yourself, if not for others.