Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Well-Tempered Heart

I learned a lot about myself from this particular book.  Two things in particular I learned I will share here.

I learned that once an act of violence has been done to me I will most likely carry it around inside of me forever.  But it is up to me to forgive the person that did that violence against me.

I learned that because I was betrayed I will always feel betrayed unless I can learn to forgive those that betrayed me.

There are times that I don't want to forget or forgive.  It is just too hard when the nightmares plague my mind.  I can forgive the lesser insults but the deeply scarring ones are taking a lot longer to forgive even though some are more than a decade old.

Oh I realize that my mind might just be a bit freer if I can let it go and forgive that person or persons that hurt me.  But why should I forgive them?  Is it because I am wasting energy on thinking about them and what they did to me?  Is it because I feel as though they shouldn't be forgiven?  I can't tell yet.  I'm still at that point in my life that I am unable to deal with the full scale of the insult to my mind and person.

I'm not talking about an insult to me like what a bully would do.  I'm talking about something that leaves a deep scar on the brain and sometimes even on the body.  One scar that has healed is the one my brother inflicted on my face when we were children.  My brother cut my face with a knife while we were drying dishes.  I was only four years old.  My mother didn't take me to the ER to get stitches and I still carry some of the scar on my face though it has faded and can't be seen all that well now that I am four decades older.  It really is the fact that my brother lashed out at me with a knife in his anger.  It is the fact that my own mother didn't think the cut was bad enough for stitches.  Every school photo showed the scar on my face and often I was asked how I came about it.  I have forgiven my brother for the scar but I can't forgive him for the anger.  He still carries such violent anger around with him.

I have yet to forgive my parents for having a favorite child.  Now that I'm pregnant and my parents are wishing a boy upon me I wonder if they would be happy if I had a girl.  I am actually fearful that they would not love my child if it were a girl.  Yes, there are some scars that stay with me.  I was not loved as much as a child should have been because of my gender.  Too my parents I was almost useless as I would not carry on the family name.  A girl is nothing to them.  If I have a girl I'm not sure I want my parents near her for fear of what mental pain they might put her through.

This post was inspired by the novel A Well-Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker.  Feeling lost and burned out, Julia drops her well paying job at a NYC law firm. After hearing a strangers’ voice in her head, she travels to Burma to find the voice’s story and hopefully herself as well. Join From Left to Write on February 4 we discuss A Well-Tempered Heart. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


  1. Rebecca, I'm sorry that your family feels that way about having a daughter. No matter the gender of your child, you will be the one she loves, the one he looks up to.

  2. This book certainly touched deep emotional nerves in us, didn't it? I know well the feeling that one isn't the favored child - what a terrible shame that your parents place value on boys, and not on girls. I think you need to listen to your instincts about whether your parents are healthy influences on your future child. Grandparents are wonderful, but not all people who become grandparents deserve the title. I do hope that you find a way to forgive. I don't think forgetting is necessarily good, but there has to be a way to get past the pain.

  3. Rebecca, I'm so sorry that your family was not and is not able to see you for the gift you are. If you have a daughter, she will be loved and treasured for sure. I read a great thing about forgiveness: forgiving someone doesn't make them right, it makes you free. I wish you the freedom that comes from true forgiveness. Blessings on you and your child!


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