10 February 2011

Love Beats Hate: How to get a happy ending

I am sharing this post with Alison and Ado in celebration of their Blogoversary Bash. This was the most cathartic, difficult post I have written to date. Any sort of speaking out on this topic is necessary. People need to know they are not alone and that healing can take place...

Blog Bash
Originally, this posting was my contribution to the "Love Beats Hate" event which I heard about through One Wee Voice and Love Beats Hate.  Click the links to connect with a whole slew of writers blogging about the power of love.

Once upon a time there was a woman, a teenager, and a preschooler.

They were part of a fun family.  There always seemed to be lots of love shared and lots of good times.  

One day the preschooler let the woman know that the teenager was doing bad things.  If you make a list of the three worst things your child could tell you, what the teenager was doing is probably on that list.  The family was ripped apart.  The teenager went away for several years.  The preschooler struggled with feeling safe, and the woman wrestled with many internal demons.  

For a while she was consumed with rage.  Then she was devoured by guilt.  She then grieved at the loss of her baby's innocence.  And much of this was laced with feelings of hatred.  Sometimes she found herself awash in all of these emotions and more... mostly very negative emotions.  The struggle to forgive, the fight to love was losing ground.  The inherent wrongness of the situation was overshadowing what really needed to be done.  

It was easy to get lost.  Broken trust.  Immense betrayal.  The realization that all she had been seeing was a sham.  The teenager was someone she had seen grow up... since younger than her now-preschooler.  Someone she had always loved... until now?  

As time went by and she often felt consumed by hatred of what had happened, anger at the teenager, sadness at the horrific turn her life had taken, paranoia that something similar would again happen within the family, her life lost its joy.  Then someone told her something that completely opened her eyes and turned her around:

Hatred is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

You can substitute other things in for “hatred”... ‘failure to forgive’ and ‘resentment' immediately come to mind.  Once you wrap your brain around these words, it all makes perfect sense that the way is love.

After the teenager had been in a program for a few years, it was time for the woman to visit and participate in the treatment.   It had been years since they had seen each other.  The teenager, who was now a young adult, read aloud a letter.  In it egregious actions were acknowledged, heart-felt apologies were tendered and a summation of the few years’ hard work was given.  Forgiveness was mentioned.

“I don’t know if you will ever be able to find it in your heart, nor am I in a position to ask it of you, for I am the very definition of ‘monster.’”

“No,” the woman said gently.  “What you did was monstrous... but YOU are not a monster.  I do forgive you... though I’ll never be able to forget.  I love you.  I want you to succeed.”

His welling tears, which had been held back by the thick fringe of lower lashes, burst their constraints, spilling down the cheeks below and dripping off of the jaw.  The woman began to cry, too.  She asked if she might be allowed to hug the teenager and was told “yes.”  The two embraced for many minutes... years of love exchanging between the two of them, years of wounds being healed.  It was hard for them to let go.  It was as if they were clinging to each other for their very lives.

It was a pivotal moment in the teenager’s treatment and healing.  Being offered and receiving the woman’s love would be the tipping point.  Without it, progress would slam to a halt and the healing work for all parties could only grind along at a maintenance level.

If she hadn't shown love to the teenager... if she hadn't dug down deep and found the power of love and forgiveness... there would have been no further healing.  There would have been no hope... for any of them.


Sometimes it's easier to process these things in the third person.


  1. You have such a way with words Marj. I am sitting at my desk balling. I love woman and preschooler so much.

  2. Wow! That is powerful. I'd like to say I would forgive someone for doing something like that to my child, but I'd probably kill them. I was sexually abused as a child and my mother did nothing and it angered me so much. But this is deep. This definitely a good thing that she forgave this person.

  3. This is so lovely. What a beautiful tribute to this day. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree about love and forgiveness. You don't have to trust that person again but there's nothing to be gained by holding onto hurt, resentment, anger, and hate. Beautiful story.

  5. With tears I say Wow...I am very touched by this story...as someone that has walked in the shoes of the one being abused and also as the mother of one abused but also as someone that did bad things and needed the forgiveness from others my heart knows the fullness of this story...of what it took on all parts for love to win over hate. This was a beautiful story and I feel very blessed to have read it tonight. Thank you. XX

  6. That is a powerful story. Not everyone would have the strength to forgive. In college my internship was working at a progam that supported incest survivors and those that actually did the abuse. I got to choose which population I wanted to work with. I could not bring myself to work with the abusers. I worked with young children who were victims of abuse. I came to find that one of the little girls in my group has been abused by her 7 year old brother who was also a survivor who had been abused by an uncle. It is a terrible cycle.
    Thanks for sharing the story.

  7. I really love what you did with this topic. This is a great post.

    I didn't have time to participate in this one, but I truly love the One Wee Voice Campaigns. She does such a lovely job spreading the word about so many important issues!

    I'm linking to this post on my FB fan page. I think it's really enlightening and should be shared.

  8. I see I'm not the only one to be moved to tears by this post... what a powerful piece to share with the world... thank you for your courage to share it and your ability to love in the first place xx

  9. Beautifully said/written. Thanks for your words today. As someone who works with sexually abused kids and their families, I "get" the hatred/anger and I "get" the need to one day forgive, however that looks.

  10. Thank you for sharing this powerful post for Love Beats Hate.

  11. That was great, thanks so much!

  12. What a powerful post.

  13. Wow....what a powerful story. I truly am touched by your work and your message here. Thank you.

  14. Wow. That is so special. Very few people get to have a healing moment like that after such strife. It shows enormous maturity on both parts. So glad to see that LOVE won!!! Hate is definitely poison. The quote you shared says it best. :)

  15. Wow- what a powerful post. So well written and so thought provoking.....Thankyou

  16. Wow, Marjorie. I am so touched by this.

  17. This post brought tears to my eyes. What a powerful expression of love beating hate. I have been deeply moved by your words.

  18. This post brought tears to my eyes. What a powerful expression of love beating hate. I have been deeply moved by your words.

  19. Marjorie,

    Wow! This is really an extremely powerful piece.

    I notice that you have this post categorized under:

    Things that were hard to write...

    Thank you for writing this! Love and forgiveness are so powerful and your piece was very moving.

    Like it did for so many others, this post moved me to tears. Thank you very much for sharing it.


  20. Holy bananas, Marjorie. That was beautiful. Very.

  21. Tears again. You have such a way with your words. So beautifully written. Thank you for writing. Such a great thing to read and be reminded of.

  22. Wow, that was beautifully sad and exceptionally well written. You are such a strong and amazing women.

  23. What a hard thing for all of them(you) to go through.

    Forgiving something that big is not something that is easy for me.

  24. What a raw, emotional, beautifully written post.

    Thank you for sharing this with us for Blog Bash, Marjorie.

  25. Marjorie,
    Wow. Ohmygosh. This is an incredibly moving post. I was moved by your ability to write the meaning and power of forgiveness. Not many people can do that - not many at all. Wow.
    Very powerful.
    Thanks for sharing with our celebration at Blog Bash.

  26. Your powerful words brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry that you had to go through this. Forgiveness is something that can be so very hard, something that I am struggling with right now. Your post has shown me the power it can have and your line about hatred is so spot on. Thank you for sharing this.

  27. Wow. My heart breaks for preschooler and for woman. Woman is amazing to find forgiveness and release hatred. I am not sure I would be able to do the same. You are absolutely right. Speaking out on this topic is necessary. Thank you for sharing it.

  28. wow. this is a rather old post...funny that I found it today of all days when I was lookig for a way to forgive and am stuck and cannot seem to. I cannot forgive, I cannot move on, I cannot do anything. I am stuck. And in reading this there is power to move and to propel forward to begin motion that will make that which is stuck unstick. Thanks for your brave, powerful words. xx


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