began to get a picture of what might be going on between Jill and Jeff
from a Radical Forgiveness standpoint, but decided not to mention it --
at least not right away."
Radical Forgiveness, Part 2
"Do you remember Jeff's eldest daughter,
Lorraine?" I nodded. "Well, her husband, Wayne, got killed in
a car crash about a year ago. Ever since, she and Jeff have developed
this really weird relationship. Any time she calls, he fawns over her,
calling her 'Love' and spending hours talking to her in hushed tones.
You'd think they were lovers -- not father and daughter. If he's in the
middle of something and she calls, he drops everything to talk with her.
If she comes to our home, he acts just the same, if not worse. They
huddle together in a deep and hushed conversation that excludes everyone
else -- especially me. I can hardly stand it. I feel as if she has
become the center of his life, and I hardly figure in at all. I feel
totally shut out and ignored."
She went on and on, offering more details of the strange family dynamic
that had developed. JoAnna and I listened attentively. We wondered aloud
about the cause of Jeff's behavior and were generally sympathetic. We
made suggestions as to how she might talk to him about his behavior and
generally struggled to find a way to fix things, as would any concerned
brother and sister-in-law. John was supportive and offered his
perspective on the situation as well.
What seemed strange and suspicious to me was Jeff's uncharacteristic
behavior. The Jeff I knew was affectionate with his daughters and
certainly co-dependent enough to badly need their approval and love, but
I had never seen him behave in the manner Jill described. I had always
known him as equally caring and affectionate towards Jill. In fact, I
found it hard to believe that he would leave her out quite so cruelly. I
found it easy to understand why this situation made Jill unhappy, and
Jeff's insistence that she was imagining it all and making herself
mentally ill over it only made matters worse for her.
The conversation about Jill's problem with Jeff continued all the next
day. I began to get a picture of what might be going on between Jill and
Jeff from a Radical Forgiveness standpoint, but decided not to mention
it -- at least not right away. She was too caught up in the drama of the
situation and, therefore, unable to listen or hear what I had to say.
Besides, Radical Forgiveness is based on metaphysical principles, and I
had never had an opportunity to discuss metaphysics with either John or
Jill. As far as I knew, neither had any knowledge of esoteric thought or
metaphysical systems, and I felt certain they were unaware of my beliefs
about Radical Forgiveness. Surely, the time had not arrived to introduce
so challenging a thought as "this is perfect just the way it is,
and this represents an opportunity to heal."