Forgiveness is a funny thing…you think you’re actually on the path to forgiving someone and they pull some additional total crap, and you realize, “Hey, I’m really having a hard time forgiving this person. I’m struggling Lord, I mean having a REALLY hard time with this!”

This is especially true when the person is a narcissist…and not just any narcissist, but the one that abused you for a few decades or so. You know, he can try to do stuff all day against me and I will no longer be phased. He knows this, so he chooses another avenue — through my own children. Narcissists DO NOT fight fair, even when you roll over and state, “I’m out. You don’t own me.” They still enjoy playing with dying things, like a cat with a nearly-dead mouse. Ugh.

I do have a humorous story, however, that best shows how to view things when less-than-desireable things happen. I am trying to concentrate on this view or “urban parable,” if you will.

In 1998, when my oldest was young child and I was pregnant with my middle child, we rescued a beautiful and sweet dog we named JC. She was half English Springer Spaniel and half German Short Haired Pointer. We got her when she was 6 months old. She was sugar sweet, insanely intelligent, and fiercely protective of my children. She was the perfect dog!

In 1999, while I was shopping at Walmart, I noticed a sign in the store about an essay contest for the “Ol’ Roy Dog of the Year.” I decided to enter our dog, so I set out to write the perfect essay about how great she was and her humble beginnings, to illustrate why she was worthy of the award.

Her “breeding” was most likely is a local cross, desired by hunters who hunt varied game. However, she was dumped at a farmer’s house, placed deliberately in the kennel with his 10 other dogs. He discovered her when he went out to feed his dogs one morning, so she was placed there under the cover of darkness, the night before. He really liked her and hated to surrender her, but the shelter volunteer said that he brought her in at the gentle urging of his wife. She had only been available for adoption they day we came looking. We really wanted a puppy for our son, as a buddy and as a buffer for his new sister being born. Our child had a previous furry buddy, but that poor little beagle/dachsund mix was hit on our road and we had to find his little lifeless body.

JC fit into our family perfectly. She ran around with the oldest child, even “pointing” him out when he was hiding from me. She would lick the top of the baby’s head when she cried, to comfort her. She sat next to me when her paw on my lap, when I was upset. She could go “search” for someone if you asked her where they were, by name. I’m not entirely sure, but I think she secretly knew algebra and calculus. I had to spell when I was going on a W-A-L-K, but I also think she learned to spell too. She knew how to spell like twenty or so words.

I outlined all of this in my essay and fussed over it for a few weeks. I turned it in, when I finally decided that it was good enough. And mind you, I did this all while working full-time, taking care of two kids, being abused by my controlling husband, taking college courses, and keeping a house. It was a nice distraction. Once I turned it in, I was so busy I soon forgot about the contest.

A month later, I received a call at work from the Walmart store manager. My essay had won the contest! I was SO excited! The manager asked me to bring JC to the store at a certain time, so we could get a promotional picture for the newspaper and for corporate Walmart. I happily complied and provided her name and information for everyone. We received a 40 lb bag of Ol’ Roy Dry Dog Food, a $25 store gift card, and a framed certificate. I used the $25 gift card to get her a squeaky toy and her specific food (because she had sensitive skin). We donated the large bag of food we received to the shelter where we found her. I brought her home and hung up the certificate.

It wasn’t until a few days later that I noticed a glaring discrepancy: instead of putting JC’s name on the certificate as “Ol’ Roy Dog of the Year,” they put mine. My name??? WHAAAT!?!?!

My then-husband joked it was because I was “such a bitch.” I called the store manager, who would never return my calls. I just wanted a corrected certificate! As time went on, I gained a sense of humor about it, joking that I had a certificate proving I was “Head B*tch” at my house. My husband didn’t seem to like that I made it a more positive thing.

Over time, I changed that thinking to “Top Dog.” In my own mind, I allowed him to taint my thinking, so it was up to me to change it. I still found humor in the certificate, but it became a cherished possession, as our beloved JC has long since passed away. She was sweet and forgiving soul, up to her dying day. I want to be more like JC. The kids and I had to bury her because he couldn’t bear it. I had to tell my then-husband that burying her properly was the last act of love toward her — was he actually capable of loving anyone or anything? That was an epiphany I wished I had paid closer attention to.

The ability to forgive is all about perspective, I feel, just like how I viewed my title on the certificate. It’s just going to take some time to process…but believe me, the countdown until our youngest turns eighteen is only a year and ten months away…then blocked! I’m sure I’ll be able to heal further then, in order to further facilitate the forgiveness process.