For a long time, I blamed my father for my difficulties with words, especially while talking to authority figures. He was an army man and a disciplinarian- actually, no more than any middle class Indian father, wanting to raise children into responsible adults. Actually, he was quite loving and approachable. But I as a child did some ‘brainstorming’ (2+2=22, not even 5!) and thought- since I stammer when he questions me in ‘that loud voice’ – it is he who has put this fear of authority in me, which later must have infected other areas of my life- emotions, attitude, relationships etc. Much later, when I began researching stammering, I realized that, this could not be true. Because my other siblings, being older than me (I was the youngest) received more scolding from our father and still they did not develop a stammer. So, real reason had to lie somewhere else. I realized that I had inherited a genetic predisposition and later, it was me, who, when faced with negative audience reaction, opted for the ‘covert path’. My father died of an heart attack when I was about 20 yrs. Twenty two years later, when I was 42, I discovered that I had used my father as an scapegoat, instead of taking responsibilities for my own actions and decisions. A taut knot inside began to dissolve and I sought his forgiveness in spirit. I know nothing about afterlife- but I felt I was forgiven and thereafter I made rapid progress in my attitude towards communication and other aspects of life. I felt lighter, healthier and vibrant. But what about those, who have actually hurt us, knowingly or unknowingly? Should they too be forgiven? Ideally, yes- because then you no more carry that extra burden. That was about past. What should we do in the present? When both parties are present and accessible – we should try to protest, through whatever means available to us and acceptable to our society. “..But he did tell me. Never losing pace. There were a group of kids, they took him on, one with a baseball bat. They terrorized him. That’s the word he used, ‘terrorized’. He understood that he was being attacked because of his disability. He understood that what was happening was wrong. More than that he knew that his treatment was criminal…” Read this post about how a developmentally challenged person calmly went about helping himself when harassed by a group of adolescents. Here, another post on the same theme. For PWS, especially younger ones: making a protest, when mocked is difficult, because then, talking is even more difficult. But one can always leave the place in protest- IF nothing works. Finally, true forgiveness takes care of everything, of all the loose ends, and sets you free to move on.