inspiring and illuminating story from Colin
Tipping's "Radical Forgiveness"
book and website...
By Colin Tipping
soon as I saw my sister at the Airport, I knew something was wrong. I could see
she was in pain.
Jill had flown from England to the United States with my brother John, who was
stopping in on his way home to Australia. Jill chose to accompany him so she too
could visit my wife, JoAnna, and I for a couple of weeks.
As soon as we got into the car to head north to our home, Jill said, “Colin,
Jeff and I might be splitting up.”
This surprised me. I had always thought she and Jeff were happy in their
six-year-old marriage. Both had been married before, but this relationship had
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Well, it’s all quite bizarre, and I don’t really know where to begin,” she
replied, “but Jeff is acting really strange, and I can’t stand much more of it.
We’ve gotten to the point where we can’t talk to each other any more, and it’s
killing me. He has totally turned away from me and says that it’s all my fault.”
“Tell me about it,” I said.
“Do you remember Jeff’s eldest daughter, Lorraine?” Jill asked. I nodded. “Well,
her husband got killed in a car crash about a year ago. Ever since then, 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 she comes to our
home, they huddle together in this deep and hushed conversation that excludes
everyone else — especially me. I can hardly stand it. I feel totally shut out
She went on and on, offering more details of the strange family dynamic that had
developed. JoAnna and I listened attentively. 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 too and offered his perspective on the situation from time to time.
What seemed strange and suspicious to me was the uncharacteristic nature of
Jeff’s 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
caring and affectionate towards Jill.
The conversation continued all the next day. I began to get a picture of what
might be going on from a Radical Forgiveness standpoint, but decided not to
mention it — at least not right away. She was too caught up in the drama to hear
it and probably too committed to being the victim in the situation.
However, on the second day, I decided the time was right to try the Radical
Tentatively, I said, “Jill, Would you be willing to try looking at this
“What do you mean?” She asked
“Well,” I began. “First of all, let me say that nothing I am going to say
invalidates your story. I believe that it happened exactly the way you said it
happened. But I want to give you a hint of what might be going on underneath
“What do you mean, underneath the situation,” Jill asked, eyeing me
“Well, it’s perfectly natural to think that everything out there is all there is
to reality,” I explained, “but maybe there’s a whole lot more happening beneath
“Take your situation. You and Jeff have this drama going on. That much is clear.
But, what if, beneath the drama, something of a more spiritual nature was
happening — same people and same events — but a totally different meaning? What
if your two souls were doing the same dance but to a wholly different tune? What
if the dance was about you healing? What if you could see this as an opportunity
to heal and grow? That would be a very different interpretation, would it not?”
Both she and John looked at me as if I were now speaking a foreign language. I
decided to back off from the explanation and to go directly for the experience.
“Looking back over the last three months or so, Jill,” I went on, “What did you
feel mostly when you saw Jeff behaving so lovingly towards his daughter,
“Anger mostly,” she said, but continued thinking about it. “Frustration,” she
added — then, after a long pause, “And sadness. I really feel sad.” Tears welled
up in her eyes. “I feel so alone and unloved,” she said and began sobbing
quietly. “It wouldn’t be so bad if I thought he couldn’t show love, but he can
and he does — but only with her!”
She began to sob uncontrollably for the first time since her arrival. She’d shed
a few tears prior to this, but she hadn’t really let herself cry. Now, at last,
she was letting go. I was pleased that Jill had been able to get in touch with
her emotions that quickly.
A full 10 minutes went by before her crying subsided and I felt she could talk.
At that point, I asked, “Jill, can you ever remember feeling this same way when
you were a little girl?” Without the slightest hesitation, she said, “Yes.” She
was not immediately forthcoming about when, so I asked her to explain. It took
her a while to respond.
“Dad wouldn’t love me either!” she blurted out finally and began to sob again.
“I wanted him to love me, but he wouldn’t. I thought he couldn’t love anyone!
Then along comes your
Lorraine, Colin. He loved her
all right. So why couldn’t he love me, God damnit!” She banged her fist hard on
the table as she shouted the words and dissolved into more uncontrollable tears.
Jill’s reference was to my eldest daughter. Coincidentally, or rather,
synchronistically, she and Jeff’s eldest daughter were both called Lorraine.
Crying felt good to Jill. Her tears served as a powerful release and possibly a
turning point for her. A real breakthrough might not be far away, I thought.
“Tell me about the incident with Lorraine and Dad.” I said.
“Well,” Jill said, while composing herself. “I always felt unloved by Dad and
really craved his love. He never held my hand, or sat me on his lap much. I
always felt there must be something wrong with me. When I was older, Mum told me
she didn’t think Dad was capable of loving anyone, not even her. At that time, I
more or less made peace with that. I rationalized that if he wasn’t really
capable of loving anyone, then it wasn’t my fault that he didn’t love me. He was
not a bad father. He just couldn’t love. I felt sorry for him.”
She cried some more, taking her time now. “I remember a particular day at your
house.” she continued. Your daughter Lorraine was probably about four or five
years old. Mum and Dad were down, and we all came to your house. I saw your
Lorraine, take Dad’s hand. She said, ‘Come on, Grandad. Let me show you the
garden and all my flowers.’ He was like putty in her hands. She led him
everywhere and talked and talked and talked, showing him all the flowers. She
enchanted him. I watched them out of the window the whole time. When they came
back in, he put her on his lap and was as playful and joyful as I have ever seen
“I was devastated. ‘So, he is able to love after all,’ I thought. If he could
love Lorraine, then why not me?” The last few words came out as a whisper
followed by deep long tears of grief and sadness -- tears held in for all those
I figured we had done enough for the time being, and suggested we make some tea.
Obviously Jeff’s behavior was unconsciously designed to
support Jill in healing her unresolved relationship with her father. If she
could see this and recognize the perfection in Jeff’s behavior, she could heal
her pain — and Jeff’s behavior would almost certainly stop.
However, I wasn’t sure how to explain this to Jill in a way she could understand
at this point in time. Luckily, I didn’t have to try. She stumbled on the
obvious connection by herself.
Later that day she asked me, “Colin, don’t you think it’s odd that Jeff’s
daughter and your daughter both have the same name? Do you think there’s a
I laughed, and replied, “Absolutely. And that’s not the only one. Can you see
other similarities between the situations?”
“Well,” said Jill. “Both of them were getting what I don’t seem to be able to
get from the men in my life.”
“What?” I inquired.
“Love,” she said in a whisper.
“Go on,” I urged gently.
“Your Lorraine was able to get the love from Dad that I couldn’t. And Jeff’s
daughter, Lorraine, gets all the love she wants from her Dad, but at my expense.
Oh, my God!” she exclaimed. She really was beginning to understand now.
“But why? I don’t understand why. It’s a bit frightening! What the hell’s going
on?” she asked in a panic.
It was time to put the pieces together for her. “Let me explain to you exactly
what happened and how it has effected your life up until now,” I said.
“As a little girl, you felt abandoned and unloved by Dad. So you concluded that
there must something wrong with you and that you really were unlovable and not
enough. That belief anchored itself deeply in your subconscious mind and, later,
when it came to relationships, began to run your life.
“As a child, the pain of not getting Dad’s love was more than you could bear, so
you stuffed it down. Later, when you began to realize that your father was not a
naturally loving man and probably couldn’t love anyone, you began to feel better
about it, so it remained dormant.
“Then, along comes the bombshell that knocked you right back to square one. When
you saw him loving Lorraine, that triggered your original belief. You said to
yourself, ‘My father can love after all, but he doesn’t love me. It is obviously
my fault. I am not enough for my father, and I will never be enough for any
man.’ From that point on, you continually created situations in your life to
support your belief that you are not enough.”
“How have I done that?” Jill asked.
“Well, how was your relationship with Henry?” I responded. She had been married
to Henry, the father of her four children, for 15 years.
“Not bad in many respects, but he was always looking for opportunities to have
sex with other women, and I really hated that.”
“Exactly. And, you saw him as the villain and you as the victim in that
situation. However, the truth is, you attracted him into your life precisely
because, at some level, you knew he would prove your belief about not being
enough. By being unfaithful, he would support you being right about yourself.”
“Are you trying to say he was doing me a favor? I sure as hell don’t buy that!”
“Well, he certainly supported your belief, didn’t he?” I replied. “You were so
'not enough' that he always was on the lookout for other women, for something
“So Henry was reflecting my belief that I would never be enough - and making me
right. Is that it?” she asked.
“Yes, and to the extent that he provided you with that opportunity, he deserves
credit — actually, more than you realize right now. On the surface, he was just
acting out his sexual addiction, but his soul — working with your soul — chose
to use the addiction for your spiritual growth. Recognizing this fact is what
Radical Forgiveness is all about.”
I then switched back to Jeff. “In the beginning, Jeff was extremely loving
towards you, wasn’t he. He really doted on you, did things for you, communicated
with you. On the surface, life seemed pretty good, right? She nodded.
“Yet this didn’t fit with your picture of yourself — your belief about yourself.
But because your soul knows you must heal that belief, it colludes with Jeff’s
soul to bring it to your awareness. On the surface it seems that Jeff begins to
act strangely and totally out of character. He then taunts you by loving another
Lorraine; thus acting out the very same scenario you had with Dad many years
ago. He appears to be persecuting you mercilessly, and you feel totally helpless
But the real truth is that he is doing it for you, not against you. Not that he
is doing this consciously, of course. He really isn’t. He is probably more
perplexed at his own behavior than are you. Remember, this is a soul-to-soul
transaction. His soul knows about your original pain and is aware that you will
not heal it without going through the experience again.
“So, once more Jill, you’re at a point of choice. Whether to heal and to grow —
or to be right,” I smiled. “If you make the choice people normally make, you
will choose to be the victim and make Jeff wrong, which, in turn, will allow you
to be right. Or, you can choose to move into forgiveness by recognizing that
Jeff is offering you a wonderful chance to heal.”
Jill still looked a little confused and uncertain.
“Look,” I said reassuringly. “There’s no need to figure it out. Just being
willing to entertain the idea that something else is going on is a giant step
forward. In fact, the willingness to see the situation differently is the key.
The healing occurs the moment you become willing to let in the idea that your
soul has lovingly created this situation for you. If you can really surrender to
the idea that the Universe will handle this for you if you turn it over, you
won’t need to do anything at all. The situation and your healing will both get
“Wow!” Jill said, and took deep breath. She relaxed her body for the first time
since we had begun talking about the situation. “I feel as if a weight has been
lifted off my shoulders,” she said.
“That’s because your energy has shifted” I replied. “Imagine how much of your
life-force energy you have had to expend just keeping this whole story alive.
“What do you think would have happened if I had left Jeff?” Jill asked.
“Your soul would simply have brought in someone else to help you heal,” I
quickly replied. “But, you didn’t leave him, did you? You came here, instead.
You have to understand, this trip was no accident. There are no such things as
accidents in this system. You — or rather your soul — created this trip, this
opportunity to understand the dynamics of the situation with Jeff. Your soul
guided you here.”
“So, what do I do with this now,” asked Jill. “What do I do when I go home and
“There really is nothing for you to do,” I answered. “From this point on,
it’s a question of how you perceive the situation. Do you get that you are no
longer a victim? Do you understand that Jeff is no longer a persecutor? Do you
see that the situation was exactly what you needed and wanted? Do you feel how
much that man loves you — at the soul level, I mean? He was willing to do
whatever it took to get you to the point where you could heal.
Jeff is not naturally a cruel man, so it must have been hard for him. Few men
could have done that for you while risking losing you in the process. Jeff truly
is an angel for you. When you really understand this, you will feel so grateful
to him! Plus, you will stop sending out messages that you are unlovable. You
will have the ability to let in love perhaps for the first time in your life.
You will have forgiven Jeff, because you will be clear that nothing wrong ever
took place. It was perfect in every sense.
“And, I promise you this,” I continued. “Jeff’s soul will already have picked up
that you have forgiven him and healed your misperception about yourself, so his
behavior is changing already. Time is not a factor where energy is concerned. As
you change your energy, his changes too.
Getting back to her question, I said, “ I want you to promise me that you won’t
do anything at all when you get back. In particular, do not, under any
circumstances, share with him this new way of looking at the situation. I want
you to see how everything will be different automatically simply as a
consequence of you changing your perception.
“You will feel changed as well,” I added. “You will find yourself feeling more
peaceful, more centered and more relaxed. You will have a knowingness that will
seem strange to Jeff for a while. It will take time for your relationship with
him to adjust, and it may still be difficult for a while, but this issue will
resolve now,” I concluded with conviction.
The day she left, Jill obviously was nervous about going back to the situation
she had left behind. As she walked down the tunneled ramp to her airplane, she
looked back and tried to wave confidently, but I knew she was scared that she
might lose her newfound understanding and get drawn back into the drama.
She needn’t have worried. Apparently the meeting with Jeff went well. Jill
requested that he not question her immediately about what had happened while she
was away and to give her space for a few days to get settled. However, she
immediately noticed a difference in him. He was attentive, kind and considerate
— more like the Jeff she had known before this whole episode began.
Things went on well for some days and Jeff’s behavior with his daughter,
Lorraine, changed dramatically. In fact, everything seemed to be getting back to
normal with regard to that relationship, but the atmosphere between Jeff and
Jill did remain tense and their communication limited.
About two weeks later, the situation came to a head. Jill looked at Jeff and
said quietly, “I feel like I’ve lost my best friend.”
“So do I,” he replied.
For the first time in months they connected. They hugged each other and began to
cry. “Let’s talk,” Jill said. “I’ve got to tell you what I learned with Colin in
America. It’s going to sound weird to you at first, but I want to share it with
you. You don’t have to believe it. I just want you to hear me. Are you willing?”
“I’ll do whatever it takes,” replied Jeff. “I know something important happened
to you there, and I want to know what it was. You have changed, and I like what
I see. Tell me what happened.”
Jill talked and talked. She explained the dynamics of Radical Forgiveness as
best she could in a way Jeff could understand. She felt strong and powerful —
sure of herself and her understanding, secure and clear in her mind.
Jeff, a practical man who always is skeptical of anything that cannot be
rationally explained, did not resist this time — and was indeed quite receptive
to the ideas that Jill asked him to consider. He voiced openness to the idea
that there might be a spiritual world beneath everyday reality and, given that,
saw a certain logic in the Radical Forgiveness concept. He didn’t accept it
totally, but he nevertheless was willing to listen, to consider and to see how
it had changed Jill.
After the discussion, they both felt their love had been rekindled and that
their relationship had a good chance of surviving. They made no promises,
though, and agreed to keep talking to each other while they watched how their
It did, indeed, progress quite well. Jeff still paid attention to his daughter,
Lorraine, but not as much as before. Jill found she didn’t care anyway, even
when he did behave in this manner - which I think he did (unconsciously of
course), to test her. She passed, for it did not trigger her to regress
emotionally and react from old beliefs about herself. And within a month of
their conversation about Radical Forgiveness, all that stopped. Lorraine
didn’t call or visit as often and she got on with her life.
And so it was that everything slowly returned to normal. That was quite a number
of years ago and they are still together, and so far as I can tell, very happily
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Radical Forgiveness, Making Room for the Miracle, 2nd
Edition - Colin C.