Forgiving Abusers and Self Forgiveness

I have struggled with “forgiveness” for a very long time. It isn’t what I thought it was and certainly not what I was told it was by my abusers. I had a revelation the other day and I started to understand what forgiveness really means. On wikipedia it states that forgiveness is an intentional and voluntary process. It is a change in attitude and feeling about the offense and the ability to start(TO START) to wish the offender well. Talk about a difficult thing to do when you are still feeling so much pain!

I thought to forgive someone was like saying, “That’s ok. I’m not hurt anymore.” My abusers told me it was “forgive and forget” and “starting over like it didn’t happen” and that jusy pissed me off. This wasn’t like I had my foot stepped on by accident. Many times my abusers tended toward minimizing the incident and my pain. This also pissed me off. It was impossible to even think about forgiving them or moving on until I got some distance of time and space between me and them.

I realize now that emotions are revolving and not a static state of being…neither is forgiveness. I am still hurt, still angry, still searching for peace that I can have for the majority of the time instead of a very small part. I need this feeling of forgiveness and I am so glad that I am willing to explore it now that little by little, I am beginning to heal.

To forgive doesn’t mean that “its ok” that they hurt me or that they are allowed to be around me anymore to have any opportunity to further cause me any pain. Its for ME. Its about ME and how I feel, not really about them so much. Its about me putting those bricks down and loving myself enough to give myself permission to understand what happened and move forward. Again, this sounds nice an all that but I remember when I didn’t understand and the mere mention of forgiveness would enrage me.  Now, I feel a little sad about remembering that feeling.

I am starting to let go of my feelings of vengeance and revenge which I REALLY want to indulge sometimes. The person those feelings hurt is me. I’m still working on this but I wanted to share my feelings and what I wrote about forgiveness. I’m not a religious person  but there is a certain spirituality that can be found in this even for those that aren’t interested in organized religion, like me.

Most of what I need to work on is forgiveness for myself and empathy for myself. I need to see myself in the same empathetic and loving way that I look at others that are in pain. This goes along with not being so hard on myself and treating myself like a machine with no emotions. I’m starting to forgive myself too.


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