Forgiveness and the Doormat Effect

To err is human. To forgive is divine, but to repeat is stupid.

For those of us estranged from our families during the family fetishized holidays shoring up the end of the year, the pressure to forgive and forget can be especially pronounced. Society at large tells us that – to borrow a turn of phrase from the poet, Alexander Pope – to err is human; to forgive, divine. And that the victim is the perpetrator, the betrayer, the pariah should forgiveness be withheld — to be pitied, subjected to public scorn and, ironically, unforgiven for being unwilling to forgive. Rather than emphasis on understanding and compassion, this is institutionalized blaming of the victim that I think most of us were raised to believe, wrongly.

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Winter Illumination: Let’s Keep Christmas Lights Until Easter

One of my favorite features of the holiday season is Christmas lights. They’re like a cheerful “fuck you” to what is otherwise the darkest, bleakest, coldest, dirtiest, deadliest, most expensive and yet least prosperous time of year.

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Surviving The Darkness

The infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heaven

Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky
With hideous ruin and combustion down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell

No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges …

— John Milton, Paradise Lost

Mother steps out the backdoor of her newly installed, manufactured home with a pot of warm leftovers. From a few yards away, peering out of the window of the dilapidated camper trailer that I lie forgotten in, I can make out the steam rising from the food as she pushes it with a large wooden spoon into the dishes of grateful dogs, hungrily lapping it up. Lucky them, those obedient pets. They haven’t failed her as I have. Haven’t disappointed her. I haven’t eaten in three days and resigned to the idea that my lifeless body won’t be found for many more days to come, mere feet away from where Family breaks bread and give smiles to one another. At least the maggots will eat as well as the dogs. For that, they can also thank Mother.

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Cursed by The Queen of Lies in The Kingdom of Shame

Mother’s eyes grow round with horror as she looks upon me transformed into a monster. I must be terrifying but I feel nothing. Nothing but an endless serenity disconnected from the chaos playing out before me on the big screen in a darkened theater. The movie being shown feels unreal, strange like a dream. Only, it’s not really a movie.

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Sacrificial Scapegoats And Other Familial Fuckeduppery

The term scapegoat is derived from the Book of Leviticus 16:8

And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel.

Azazel, meaning “for complete removal” in Hebrew, has become translated to scapegoat in English over the millennia since. The sins of the people would be given to this animal and banished to the wilderness. The other “for the Lord (the Hebrew god, YHWH) goat, I think, can reasonably be interpreted as the favored Golden Child in the narcissistic family dynamic. It bears mentioning that both goats are sacrificed but only the scapegoat has a fighting chance, albeit a very poor one.

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