Helping my son learn to forgive



I’ve found a way to move passed the pain and we work very well together. That’s a hugely positive thing in my book.

It occurred to me while listening to Emmett’s pain, that I might be taking the wrong approach with him. While I believe he needs to talk about this, especially in therapy, maybe he’s not ready to. Maybe he doesn’t know how to unbury himself from all these crushing emotions?

I’m going to be very honest right now and please understand that there are some things I will not go into detail about. I’m not hiding anything or trying to protect myself. It’s simply not my story to tell.

I wasn’t able to move on past the loss of my best friend and wife of almost 20 years because I just forgot about everything. I was crushed, heartbroken and angry. That’s not easy to simply forget or just let go of. I was able to move on because I decided to forgive.

I realized that in order to be what my kids needed me to be, I couldn’t carry around all that pain. I tried to put all this stuff behind me but I was chained to it and couldn’t figure out of unlock my ability to do that. Over time, it became clear to me that I need to find the key to unlock the chains that were trapping me in this dark place.

A few months into my single parenting journey, I made a very conscious choice that proved to be the best thing I could possibly do. I made the choice to forgive her and I could into more detail about that later but for now, you just need to know that forgiveness was the key to freeing myself from all that I was carrying. It’s not perfect and I haven’t been able to forgive everything yet but it’s enough that I’m no longer controlled or influenced by pain, anger, heartache, confusion, and grief.

Making the choice to forgive has made working together so much better. I’m not saying we’re ever going to be best friends, but she’s the mother of my kids and my parenting partner in crime. In my view, that’s the only thing that matters and we’ve found what works for us.

Now back to Emmett.

It occurred to me that perhaps I should be talking to him about forgiveness, rather than simply trying to get him to talk about things he doesn’t want to talk about.

He knows that Lizze hurt me because there was no way to hide that in the beginning. I was caught off guard and the kids and I found out at roughly the same time. I’m an emotional guy and I was broken.

The point is, I haven’t talked to the kids about having forgiven her. I wasn’t sure if it would send the wrong message to the kids because our situations are different. What I went through and what they went through and are still going through, are not the same things. They’re always quick to point that out.

Anyway, I decided that I should talk to Emmett about forgiveness. I asked him if he’d forgiven his Mom and he hasn’t. The look on his face said he couldn’t believe that I would even ask that. I said that we don’t forgive people to make them feel better. We forgive them so that we don’t have to carry around all that hurt and pain. I explained that maybe we need to focus on helping him learn to forgive. I told him that I had already chosen to that and it made all the difference in the world.

Emmett said he doesn’t understand how I could forgive someone who hurt me so badly. Truthfully, I’m not sure how I did it, I just reached a point where I needed to make a choice. I don’t expect he’s going to understand right now but I feel like this is a good direction to go in for right now.

He’s agreed to talk to his therapist about learning to forgive. He’s doesn’t want to talk about what happened and I think he’s eventually going to have to do that. For now, getting him to talk at all is a positive thing. Forgiveness is so powerful and I’m hoping to help him find it.

Just so we’re very, very clear.

None of this is about blaming anyone. It may seem that way on the surface but that’s not at all what this is about. Before we can address a problem, we have to first identify it. From Emmett’s perspective, this is the problem, or at least a very large part of it. I’m approaching this from what I understand about his perspective.

Lizze is not the enemy. She’s the mother of my kids and my parenting partner in crime. I don’t see her as an adversary and I don’t know how I ever could. The mother of my children will always have my respect. Full Stop.

I actually did a podcast episode with Dr. David Hill from the APA about co-parenting through divorce. It’s a really good listen and it helps to better understand the importance of working together.

I’ve said this a million times but I’ll say it again. You don’t have to agree with, support their decisions, or endorse your ex-partner’s life choices but you do need to stow your personal shit and work together for the betterment of the children you brought into this world together.

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John Behling

So powerful.

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