Jun
05

The Confusion Created around Forgiveness Issues

By

How do I forgive that?Forgiveness is always a huge issue and a hot topic with survivors of any kind of abuse or trauma that was inflicted by another person. A lot of people preach and teach that forgiveness is the ONLY way to personal freedom and recovery. I think that is a wrong.  I think being told that is like being re-abused.  I think that forgiveness is a RESULT of the healing process BUT I had to set the whole issue of forgiveness aside while I did my healing work.

Because only when I set that issue aside was I able to look at the whole picture from a new angle. I was able to look at it through the grid of the truth instead of through what was being dictated to me and all the false teachings around the forgiveness directives.

As someone who has personally recovered from childhood sexual abuse and dissociated identity disorder as well as multiple chronic depressions, forgiveness was not the key to recovery for me. I understand today that forgiveness is not saying “what they did is okay” and I also understand that there is no point in forgiving someone that isn’t sorry other than to set myself free BUT I was not able to forgive (EVEN for the purpose of setting myself free) when I had not even processed the trauma or abuse events through the grid of truth. There was a step missing in there; freedom doesn’t come by sweeping the whole issue under the carpet. Freedom and emotional healing comes from facing the truth about what actually happened and validating it.

In each case of abuse or trauma I had to look at the results of that trauma. I was used, unprotected, and not valued and it was inferred or outright stated that I had some responsibility in it.  The abuser was NEVER questioned! My feelings were invalidated. The truth about what really happened was also invalidated. For each instance where I had been mistreated, devalued, oppressed, suppressed, and not allowed to have a voice or a defense ~ I had to look at the real truth. Who did it? Could I have prevented it? Did I really “ask for it”. Did I bring it on myself or deserve it?  The answer was always no.  I had to place the blame and responsibility for those events and that mistreatment back on the people who were responsible for them in the first place. And I had to validate myself; YES I was abused. Yes I was mistreated and my feelings about it were shut down and invalidated. AND that was wrong.

We are told to forgive people who are not seeking forgiveness. It is confusing that so often these people didn’t “ask” for forgiveness because they denied that they ever did anything wrong in the first place. In this case it is “other” people telling me that I HAD to forgive as a solution to my distress.  I still remember feeling insane around this stuff. The abusers denied everything and I am told to just forgive what they said they didn’t do? It felt to me like even the people telling me to get over it and forgive, were also denying (agreeing) that it ever happened.

And when abusers expect forgiveness when still denying they ever did anything wrong  it is even WORSE! This one is a huge part of the fog storm that survivors live in.  Statements like “WHY can’t you just get over it; forgive and forget” mixed in with statements like “you are full of crap ~ that never happened” and “OH you are so dramatic and tell such big lies” is crazy making, manipulating and very confusing. Consider that for a minute. We are told that we are unreasonable and defective for “holding a grudge” but at the same time we are told that the event we hold a grudge for never happened in the first place! And then we are asked to forgive. (to forgive something that they deny they ever did!)

Forgiveness makes more sense to me when meant for those that have repented from their wrong doing and actually feel BAD about it and really know the damage they did. There was a fine line in there between the fact that I needed to forgive so that I didn’t live in the resentment and terror of what they did to me and the fact that I was trying to forgive people that still deny what they did!

Having said that, it was imperative that I put myself, my process of recovery and my emotional healing first, before I even considered how I felt about the people that had abused me.

What set me free was finally understanding what happened to me and believing that I had nothing to do with the abuse. I did not make any decisions that caused the abuse, devaluing treatment and lack of protection and I did not bring it on myself as I was always led to believe. Even in Christian society, there was this “indication” that first of all, I must have done something wrong, and that I could not get over it because I didn’t have enough faith and that if I could just ‘forgive’ (what was denied ever happened) then I would be set free.

Do you see how this goes round and round? Do you see the fog storm involved with these teachings? Do you see the brainwashing that we have lived with in this area??

These were the lies that were taught to me that I accepted as truth. I felt like something was wrong with me because I could not seem to just “do it”.

My whole entire life I believed that it was up to me to have prevented it, and it all spiraled down to something I did wrong. In the depths of my heart I believed that it was all my fault. I had to set that straight and embrace the life giving truth.

The fear (of abuse and abusers) also ate me alive and I realized that my fears were about the powerlessness I had when I was a child and had carried those fears and reactions forward into my adult life. It was only when I finally understood that it was NOT my fault in any way, that I began to recover, and eventually I was truly free to live life as a whole and functional person. Then the fears dissipated because finally I knew that I wasn’t powerless anymore. I knew that none of what happened was my fault and so much of the fear was based around the fact that when I thought it WAS my fault I didn’t know what I did to cause the abuse. If I didn’t even know what I did to cause it or why I deserved it, I lived in the constant fear of causing it again.

When I was free of the false beliefs, I was also free to forgive, but what forgiveness “feels” like for me is just that I was able to let go of the hated, anger, bitterness and frustration.  I don’t need to PROVE to them that it isn’t my fault that all this happened or even prove that it did happen. I don’t’ need them to HEAR me anymore. I hear myself and I have my support system. I do not need to “tell” the abusers who deny ever having abused me that I forgive them.  I don’t feel much emotion around them anymore. The anger has dissipated.  They don’t rule my life anymore and they don’t define me anymore. They can no longer tell me what to do or how to feel. I am my own person today and another sign of my freedom is that I know they can’t hurt me anymore. I am no longer afraid.

Life is so much better now! Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I appreciate each one of you.

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Related posts: click any title to read Forgive the Abusers ~ A bit of a Rant

What about Forgiveness? by Christina Enevoldsen on OSA

Seeking validation and understanding from the wrong people

Permission to Live, busting through belief systems

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories : Self Esteem

144 Comments

1

Why do we “have” to talk about “forgiveness” when the offenders are not asking for it ever?

Why not talk about this (instead of pretending that a relational transaction of “forgiveness” has occurred?)

…”I was able to let go of the hated, anger, bitterness and frustration.

I don’t need to PROVE to them that it isn’t my fault that all this happened or even prove that it did happen.

I don’t’ need them to HEAR me anymore. I hear myself and I have my support system.

I do not need to “tell” the abusers who deny ever having abused me that I forgive them.

I don’t feel much emotion around them anymore. The anger has dissipated.

They don’t rule my life anymore and they don’t define me anymore.

They can no longer tell me what to do or how to feel.

I am my own person today and another sign of my freedom is that I know they can’t hurt me anymore. I am no longer afraid.”

2

Kate,
I am going to assume that these were all the statements that resonated with you.

I think the reason that no one wants to talk about the truth, is because they can’t stand to face it. Not a great excuse! I am glad that we all talk about it here!

Hugs, Darlene

3

Yes, they resonate with me, like the other statements you have made about discovering your own worth and responsibilities to yourself, good boundaries, which the abusers don’t recognize…

I think it is BAD boundaries to demand “forgiveness” from someone who is not asking, who denies the offense (!) as it is a timely process that involves both sides

4

I forgive myself for letting my biological family blame me and hold me responsible for their actions for so long. I forgive myself for keeping their secrets.

I do not and will not forgive them for what they have done to me and now have done to my son.

5

Darlene

I have been in my fog this weekend again.. seems i finally get to som clear spots the the fog descends again. Even people who are saying they care about me. in my group.. who are my personal ; who love my poems and speak with eloquence are telling me “honey your mother never really knew what she was doing.. .she was blind to what she was doing” .What does that mean ..that nothing she did she really didnt know . i was the child and i certainly didnt understand . I still dont understand everything that she did ..

My mom wont ask forgiveness because she doesnt think she did anything wrong and now probably pushed it out of her mind but then again why am I not suppose to seek therapy if she doesn’t remember.. .. I just get all messed up thinking of it.

In her recent letter .. which i shouldnt have read .. she said if i apologize for how I have been acting and stop talkng to the therapist and come back there .to where they are .. everyone would forgive me .and it would be like i didnt do anything wrong.

She said that therapy is doing bad things to me . turning me away from my family…makng me a different person ..she said in my letter am being brainwashed. .

I didnt tell that part to my T ( that is about what she said my therapist is doing ) as i was afraid I hurt her feelings and she is so kind to me. I dont want to hurt anyone even if I am hurting..

I dont yet feel anger or hatred yet.. I don’t know my feelings . I am upset . .I am hurt. I want to cry but I am still not yet convinced that hoping is foolishness. I know i need to let go of it. but it breaks my heart . I dont want to faill to love but i know she doesnt love me.

I have thought about it today . .I thought about everything today. I though how mom keeps saying I am a mistake and wondering how her letter makes sense..why would she want me back there if I was her worst mistake.

I was so confused today i havent really put much time into the groups or with friends..just stayed away . I played some music tried to draw some colorful positive picture with sentences to build me up . but also cried after i finished it .as I dont know why I find it hard to believe good things about me. but still do .

I did have happy moments . but the letter come to mind and my new friends words that mom didnt really know what she was doing . I keep asking myself am i wrong..am i selfish for wanting to heal .. i want to do the right thing

I know i look like the biggest sinner to everyone .to family . ex friends etc. but i know i dont see me doing wrong other then trying to heal.

joy

i am in some pretty deep fog right now .

6

Kate,
I think it is bad boundaries demanding forgiveness too!
Hugs Darlene

Hi Candie
Yay for self forgiveness. That is awesome. One thing that I realized on my journey was that “let word” was a dangerous one that I had to take a closer look at. It is that you “LET” your bio family blame you and hold you responsible for so long, but more that you had NO choice and didn’t realize a way to draw a boundary then. When we are raised from very young to be accountable for the actions of others, it is very hard to change that habit of accepting the blame.
Thank you for sharing, and p.s. you don’t have to forgive them!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy,
Yes it is messed up thinking. I had to consider that my own mother was a liar. There was too much evidence that pointed to the fact that she did remember.
About your mother; you didn’t do anything wrong. That is the truth. So if you do what she wants, then she will forgive YOU? This is what I am talking about in so many of my blog posts. That they always find a way to blame the victim! But we don’t have to accept that blame anymore. You have to give up your counsellor in order to be forgiven or even accepted? So no help for you? And no reason WHY? because that is a huge truth leak. She won’t tell you why you can’t see a counsellor BUT she did warn you not to talk about your childhood! (doesn’t look like she forgot about it!)

You are doing some great work Joy. Asking why she wants you back there if she keeps saying you were a mistake…. VERY good observation. That is a very true question. And lastly, people told me all the time that my mother didn’t know what she was doing..(and what the heck did they know??? I mean really, are they mind readers?) but finally I decided that it didn’t matter ~ all I knew was that she kept doing it… and I wasn’t allowed to talk about what she didn’t do?? Didn’t make a lot of sense anymore… See?
Hugs, Darlene

7

Not forgiving does not force me to hold onto anger and pain. Neither does it stop me from receiving some measure of peace. That pattern of thinking and belief system seems to give more power to the abusers, because it gives them an out from their behavior by the very one they abused!

In its simplest definition, forgiveness connotes excuse or freedom from guilt or blame of their consequences. Doing that will never be productive for me. It will only help to validate what I have always been told and taught to believe, i.e., the abuse was my personal fault.

8

why o my dearest mother wont you ever let me heal
if you never did any wrong then why is it such a big deal
you said want me to stop healing and come back home to you
yet i am but still your worst mistake so how can your words be true.

you deny ever hurting me and tell me I have been so wrong
you want me to say I am sorry for straying for so long
yet all i did was love you even when i had no breath
i wish i knew what made try to smother me to death.

i dont know how to answer you so i won’t even try
this poem is my unsent attempt to say to you “goodbye”
i feel you have been unfair to me and you do not really care
And though heart is hurting deep inside am cutting ties from there.

Joy

9

Its a foggy day.

Joy

10

Joy,

“In her recent letter .. which i shouldnt have read .. she said if i apologize for how I have been acting and stop talkng to the therapist and come back there .to where they are .. everyone would forgive me .and it would be like i didnt do anything wrong.”

You are adult. It is none of her business what you are doing, period. Her behavior toward you is controlling and inappropriate.
You don’t ower her anything.

You will reality worked out in words perfectly with any person. And YAY for you doing music and art today. I do the same thing. I would go crazy without my piano and voice lessons. Singing, using your whole voice, the low and the high muscles, together, with solid support of the voice, fights depression like chocolate! I found a song arrangment that I created when i was about 19 years old and played it a few months ago, nearly 30 years later. I arranged this music while we were going through a church split which rearranged my life in so many ways, and i know now that church should not have been that important to me, and looking back, I see that it was eating more and more of my life, and giving my parents a controlling place in my life that wasn’t there’s anymore. Anyway, i BAWLED and BAWLED while listening to this hymn. It brought back feelings (not exact thoughts, but feeling memories) from that time period. REALLY WILD!! I wish I could put it into words, but cannot.

11

Joy,

I meant to say:

You will never get reality worked out in words perfectly with any person.

12

Hi Kate

Its true am an adult but they believe in their way one never has permission to leave obeying mom.its crazy..and i know its controlling and it scares me though am an adult.

I did find some peace when doing my art..really it was homework am suppose to do every day for my T so I did it in color today putting sentences that are nice about me in different colors..It took me some time and surely wont make it to an art museaum but for that time period I was doing my homework to help me heal . and i wasnt thinking bad thoughts..

I love to sing. I love to play organ and keyboard but have access to niether right now but singing i can do . i have put poems to music before not my painful ones though . just my happier ones. .so i tried to create a happier one this morning and now will try to hear the music that goes with the words.

I am a weakling and my mom knows it. she knows am sensitive so her letter was an attempt to get my sensitive me. i know this but she didnt say anything that said anything about what i want or need. and it really shows me am absolutely nothing in her eyes. she wants me to come back there. why so she can abuse me again.

its all a mess . i am going to try not to let it bother me but that is something i have to work harder on; not spending time replaying the hurt that happened.. its not doing me any good in my mind. but it wont get out..

joy

13

Hi Ronnie,
YES forgiveness was never intended to be a way of excusing behaviour! That is distructive especially to the victim of the abuse.
Your comments are Well said! All of them!
Hugs, Darlene

Joy
Once again a very heartfelt and depth filled poem. Thank you for sharing with us.
Kate is right although it might take time for you to realize that there is a lot of misuse of control going on with your mother. The fear that we feel so large and looming is the fear of what would have happened if we stood up to them when we were children. It takes some time to realize that we are not that same powerless child anymore.

I also became aware of a fear that my mother would reject me if I stood up to her, but in reality, she already had, and for a very long time. I was never enough, never pleasing, never right, etc… she rejected me a long time ago.
Hang in here!
Hugs, Darlene

14

HI Darlene

I know mom is misusing her control..in my “family” though she has it all not just with my siblings .but the extended family. there is a big family reunion going on and on the list of people invite is a little section with my name on it saying “not to be contacted” .I found this out from a relative … not from foo but distant relative who asked me and told me whats being said.

I could never please my mom either but she didnt want me to. i was a nothiing, no one . worst mistake person. so when i tried like handing poems or flowers or even things i made in school they were thrown away in front of me.

it was such a heart breaker.

I know i will never be anything to her. as I know how i was born adn that i wasnt wanted and am a constant reminder of how i came to be a a disgrace ..to her .:( she has said it a gazillion times.

how am a disgrace i dont know but if she woudl ever take the time she would have seen am not such a bad person at all

joy

15

Darlene,

I forgive my parents and the others who abused me but as of yet, they haven’t received that forgiveness because they haven’t done their part and accounted for the wrong they did to me. Because of this our relationship can’t be healed. I would love for my parents to receive the forgivness that I have for them but I don’t really expect it to happen. They seem wholely unable to deal with their shame. They cope by blaming others and telling themselves and others lies about who they are. In fact, they are a lie and at this point, they don’t even know what is true about themselves or false. I feel sorry for them but there isn’t anything I can do to help. I did my best to give them an opportunity to make things right with me but they prefer to carry pretense than to work to make things right.

My parents and mys sister quote lots of Christian ‘isms’, those that suit their current purpose. They use them to try to manipulate me because they know I’m a believer and I care about doing what God wants me to do. I know they are just manipulating me because the one thing they never want is to face the truth and talk about our problems in a straight forward fashion. It is odd to me that people who claim Jesus have such low reguard for truth as He is Truth. They can’t make me feel bad anymore because I love the truth. I cling to the truth and I am fully aware of the power of it to heal. I put all of my trust in the truth while they put their trust in lies. Again, I feel sorry for them but their is nothing I can do but pray for them and remain true to myself and to God. I know I will never go along with their lies again. I am sad to be without them but I am also very glad to be free. I would not put myself into bondage just so that out family looks okay from the outside. That is what they want from me. Appearance seems to be everything to them and they value the admiration of strangers over the love of their daughter and sister. They don’t even know what life is really about. Now that I see them for what they are, I am amazed that I allowed them to have such power over me for so long. I wish I would have confronted them years ago. Before I confronted them, I had suspicions about the sincerity of their love for me but now it is clear that their true reguard for me is low. It hurts but it is good to know the truth and to be able to move forward.

16

My only guide on this is going to be what the Bible says: We ought to forgive because the Lord ask it of us.

That having been said, some folks are just plain toxic and if someone has abused you, I think you have a right to separate from them.

17

This is an additional comment that somehow was left off of my previous comment on this issue. See comment #7 above:

I will never forgive my abusers. Why? Forgive means to “absolve of responsibility” for what they did to me. That cannot happen. If they are not held responsible for what they did, is it my fault? I have often been beaten down about feeling this way because forgiveness is so often rammed down the throats of people through what they are taught by parents, teachers, religion, etc. I have to be true to me and no one else! Some things are just unforgivable!

18

I would just like to mention that the first definition in Websters online and dictionary.com for forgive is to give up resentment. And I would also like to add that as far as the Bible…definitely forgive in the meaning give up resentment. But there are also Bible verses that support walking away if the other party(ies) are toxic (of course, not Biblical terminology I am using). The first one that comes to mind is 1 Cor 15:33, and the second is Titus 3:10-11. You can forgive AND walk away and sometimes I think that is the only way it is possible to get to that point of forgiveness is to walk away…whether it ends up being permanent or temporary. But I am speaking from my own experience only.

19

Darlene, and everyone — thank you for your posts.

The topic of forgiveness is so crosswired in my brain. It would take a quantum shift in consciousness for any of my abusers to ever think they did anything wrong. They were entitled to take advantage of the weak, or defenseless, and I was available. And so all the love, and guilt, and blame, and pain got scrambled — at least in my mind and heart. And yet I still crave, long to have them do the unimaginable: tell me they are sorry. . . ask me for forgiveness. As if that’s some sort of magic bullet– have them say the magic words, and then everything will be all right. How’s that for a lie?

You all have given me some valuable insights in where to search for my truth.

20

Joy,
Is it possible for you to put more space between you and your mom?

21

Ronnie,
Excellent comments with which I resonte. Yes, religion rams this synthetic forgiveness formula down our “infant” throats because to recognize anything more healthy and true would possiblt open ou reyes to abusive systems…

22

Darlene,

Here is a reposted comment from my wall last night. I asked her if she actually read this artice and here is her response:

“i did. and she forgave even though the offenders didnt repent. Forgiveness had nothing to do with the offender, it has to do with the healing process for the victim. I am a victim as well, so I speak from experience. I can grant anyone forg…iveness if I so choose. I dont do it for them, I do it for me, in fact, I have never even told my offenders I forgive them. Doesnt matter whether they know or not. I pity anyone who refuses to forgive simply because they think they dont have to. They will remain unhealed and in need.”

I disagree; forgiveness is a process involving both sides.
Any other comments, Darlene. This is a tounchy one for me, because I have had this rammed down my throat all my life and it makss my skin crawl to get this response. Mental muscle building going on here.

23

Hi Joy,
I know that realizing this stuff is devastating. I am so sorry that this happened to you and continues to happen. You are on the right track however; the truth is what set me free; realizing and facing the truth. It takes time, so be gentle with yourself.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam,
I too did my best to give my parents the opportunity to have a relationship with me but they couldn’t be bothered. (blunt way to put it but it is the truth) When I had the last talk with my father his exact words were “well I am sorry….. I guess I will just keep doing what I am doing.” (my fathers “thing” is to make a big display of how shocked he is and sorry for his actions, and then just keep doing them) I was like “what??” LOL It was SO typical. And I thought, well if you put it that way, then I guess that is that.
My mother used to throw bible verses at me, (and she isn’t actually practicing ANY faith) and it was almost comical how obvious it was that she thought she could manipulate me with them. Even though I knew she didn’t know what she was talking about, I didn’t stand up to her then. Looking back, I can see how the fear of facing the truth (fear of pain) when it came to my parents held me back for a very long time.
Thanks for sharing Pam!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Wendi
I agree. I believe that it was as a result of facing the truth about “EVERYTHING” that the resentment went away.. Just for example, I can talk about sexual abuse that happened to me, and because I have NO guilt or shame anymore, because I have done all my healing work in those areas, I feel nothing about the perps anymore. But I would never think that because I have no resentment that I have to “be with or around them” again. It would be crazy to feel that I should be around them again. I am not crazy.
Thank you or your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

24

Hi Ronnie,
Thanks for adding the additional comment. this is a great point. In my view, that is the “other side” of forgiveness ~ to absolve responsibility. (the flip side being letting go of the pain of resentment) I do not absolve any of my abusers of the responsibility for what they did to me either!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ultralite,
Yes, I hear you on all your comments. It is exactly that “scrambled” definition of all those thing which is at the root of present problems. I know that the magic bullet would never work, because the damage WAS already done. It would be lovely to be heard and validated by ‘them’ but I would still have had to do my own work to re wire my false belief system.. so might as well just bite that bullet! LOL
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ken,
Welcome to EFB ~ You mention that your only guide on this is going to be what the bible says… but what does that actually mean? No one ever seems to be able to explain that statement… and it sounds like a directive that is so easy to just do. So how would you say it is done? (forgiving because we “ought to”)
Thanks for sharing, I look forward to your response.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kate
It does sound like this comment on your FB wall was from someone who either didn’t’ read or didn’t understand the post and I don’t really understand at all where she is coming from. (and I possibly have a different definition of the word and concept of forgiveness then that person does.) BUT, I don’t concern myself with the opinions of others in this regard. I don’t have to agree and I don’t have to understand them either, NOR do I have to prove my point anymore. They can live in whatever definition that they want to, but I know what set me free and I am going with that!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

25

Darlene,
Yes, I just poseted back to them:

?”forgiveness” wins the award for the word with the most definitions

26

Ken,

My only guide on this is going to be what the Bible says: We ought to forgive because the Lord ask it of us.

That having been said, some folks are just plain toxic and if someone has abused you, I think you have a right to separate from them.

Some people understand these two statements to be saying the same thing. Forgiveness IS separating from the offense/offender.

27

“bitterness” results from not separating yourself from the abuse

here is a great statement, from Darlene, I think, that is good reminder of our purpose on this blog:

“All any feeling wants is to be welcomed with tenderness, room to
unfold, to relax and tell its story, to dissolve like a thousand writhing snakes that with a flick of kindness become harmless strands of rope” Geneen Roth,

28

I definitely agree Darlene with your comment about not having relationships with people, if we choose not to. I hope I didn’t give that impression that I thought forgiveness implied having a certain type or a relationship at all with the “forgiven.” And the problems with the Bible being used to make people feel they have to do something that just doesn’t feel right is why I responded in the first place and especially the Titus 3:10-11 reference (but check out all of Titus 3 for complete context)… And I do agree that the forgiveness for me also came after I had kind of been back through it and worked through it and saw it for what it was…it was kind of like giving it back…even though they don’t even know I did 🙂

29

Hi Darlene–I’ve ranted on this point as well. Forgiveness of our abusers is no panacea. I often believe that the people who insist that if i only “forgive” my uncle for his heinous crimes from when i was a baby i would be free…have not been thru anything like my experience. All they do is to alienate and frustrate. For me it’s about forgiving myself for all that harm i’ve done to myself. Forgiving ME is such an inherent part of my journey it pretty much encompasses the entire effort. Thabks for this

30

Wendi,
I though your comment was perfect! I didnt get the impression that you implied any certain type of relationship with the “forgiven” at all!

I think that the biggest problem with the bible stuff is that it gets taken OUT of context so that it can be used to manipulate people. And then the people that learn that “false teaching” pass it on to many others and so on and so on. My question in the end (to myself) was “what kind of God am I believing in here anyway?” If God was all powerful, then wouldn’t his wishes make sense? And they do! I studied the bible for myself and saw a lot of things that I had not seen before when in the fog of being controlled by others. (having said that, I had to put the bible aside along with forgiveness, while I went though my recover process… there was just TOO much baggage and false teaching in my life for me to deal with all of it at the same time. It was all there when I emerged from broken though… and God waited for me too. I realized that so much of my “agonizing” about “sin” and doing something displeasing to God (according to what OTHER people told me) was about the belief that I would exp. the ultimate rejection (from God) if I did something wrong… such lies!
Thanks for being here Wendi!
Hugs, Darlene

Splinty! Great to see you!
Yes, self forgiveness was and IS very important. ps. knowing your story about what your uncle did to you, I am shocked and disgusted that poeple would tell you to forgive! (as I alwasy am when we are told that forgiveness will set us free in these cases of abuse) I think that this suggestion from them is thoughtless and shows the FOG that so many people actually live in!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

31

“there was just TOO much baggage and false teaching in my life for me to deal with all of it at the same time”

A truer thing has not been said!! Thanks for this, Darlene.

The absuer steals your innocence and also demands your “forgiveness”??
Quite the demanding person, system, “god”??

32

Kate

I can distance myself more but i have no idea where to go. i have no one. .and i surely dont want to go somewhere where i have no help if i get into another situation like 2009.. i am terribly frightened both in staying and in moving.

joy

33

Darlene

what makes it hardest is to think am the only one chosen for the treatment and i had stayed till i graduated high school.tried to do what my mom wanted for my life. and that failed. but i never begged money .. gave it out left and right to them when i had it. now am the bad person.. the black sheep.. 🙁 its so so confusing. other then seeking healing i did all she ever asked.!
joy

34

Forgiveness, for me, is the process of letting go of the people who choose to either abuse or remain silent or both. It is letting go of the hurt I’ve held on to because I thought it was mine. It is letting go of the implied and expressed obligations to them to answer calls, attend functions, to ‘follow their rules’. It is surrendering myself to God for the healing journey and getting rid of the stuff I don’t want to pack with me – namely them and their stuff! That is forgiveness to me. It is not excusing or explaining or making it go away, it is freeing up my voice, my life and letting me finally be as I was meant to be. Scars and all. If I say to them, “I forgive you.” I am also saying, “I don’t excuse you, I don’t want a relationship with you unless there is healing.” Forgiving is letting them go for God to deal with, and I have faith that He will.

Thanks for the post, and prayers and blessings for you all as you travel on your healing journey.

Shanyn, the Scarred Seeker

35

Forgiveness is not for you.
It is a gift to me.
It gives me the freedom to heal.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me.
It gives me the freedom to release you.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me letting go of the hurt.
It gives me the freedom to let you carry your weight alone.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me walking my own walk,
It gives me the freedom to carry my own load.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me.
It gives me the freedom to leave you, your stuff, behind.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me.
It is about me finding my way out from under you.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me.
It is my gift to healing, my song to sing.

Forgiveness is not about you.
It is about me.
It is not an obligation, a requirement, a relationship.
It is forgiveness.

That is all…

36

I have found with mine that as long as I listen, they talk; as long as I am around, they insult and abuse…i dont know your situation, Joy, so I really don’t want to say the “wrong” thing, but sometimes the reason for continued pain is that we don’t leave and put ourselves in a different situation physically,(move) emotionally, (disconnect) relationally, (unfriend) whatever,

37

could sometimes the word “healing” be used in place of the word forgiveness and it would make more sense? I feel like the religious world has latched ontp this word forgiveness and is using it as a club to beat people wtih

38

Darlene,

I’m not sure why I was never able to confront my parents earlier. I did try a few times but I was put off by their tactics. I don’t think I was afraid of pain but I was lost in the fog of lies. It was hard for me to get past thinking that they meant well even though they hurt me so bad as to damage me. When I did confront, I found out that there was no well meaning but only pathological selfishness. I like how you talk about ‘truth leaks’. I lived wondering about those leaks for a long time but when I did confront, the whole truth was laid bare. It hurt, it still hurts, but I am not sorry to know the truth.

39

Some people use forgiveness as a weapon to keep you and themselves in denial that something is actually wrong. They use forgiveness as a way to shut the survivor up about what is wrong. They don’t want to fix anything. They just want the problems or you to go away so they can stay in their quiet, safe world of denial. Those that push forgiveness the hardest are usually the ones who created the problems by abusing you or they have their own set of problems that they don’t want to look at.

You have to have a conscience to ask for forgiveness and I don’t believe that most sexual abusers have a conscience. My dad didn’t. He could never admit to doing anything wrong. He was interested in one thing and that was getting his needs met. He didn’t care how it affected anyone else.

Forgiveness did not mean that what he did was okay. It did not mean that my dad was going to be in my life or the lives of my children. I couldn’t protect myself from him as a child but as an adult, I could. Forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. A major part of my healing meant not allowing abusers to get near me. My dad was like a spoiled, self-centered child in a man’s body.

40

Ronnie, thanks for your comments about NOT forgiving – I am right with you on that one. To forgive someone does let them think it was OK – and we have no indication that they would change their behaviour if the same situation arose again. So no. No forgiveness from me either. Patricia your comment about having to have a conscience in order to ask for forgiveness is true. If these people had had consciences in the first place they would have known what they did was wrong. Those that ask for fogiveness of such behaviour are just demonstrating yet again their capacity for denial and deception/manipulation. They have a huge amount of work to do to prove to me that they should be forgiven.

41

Patricia

I think you hit the nail on the head with what you say of forgiveness.. all i have been hearing from folks is that i need to forgive. I know in my heart i havent even allowed myself to get angry about it .. Everyone .. even my best of friends tell me to forgive.. and I do i dont hold grudges.. I would so love it all the be like nothing ever happened.. but the one who needs to be forgiven is me…so i have to wait to be forgiven by them before they officially let me move on with my life. .that is according to the abuser law..

I wondered . just wondered what would happen if i called them up and said I am sorry you are all right . I am bad. i am not worhty . i am the worst mistake .. will you forgive me .

joy

42

Hi Joy,
I know it is confusing. I was stuck there for a long time and it never did make sense until I realized that it is about her and I am never going to understand it. I had to put the focus back on me and what I needed to do to heal. In the end, my healing had nothing to do with her changing or accepting anything about me, at all and it had nothing to do with me understanding them or her.
keep hanging in!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Shanyn,
Lovely poem, thank you for sharing your heart!
I also love your writings on forgiveness itself. Absolutely.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kate
About the words… something I have found about words is that it is only the definition that counts. What had been taught to me as a definition of forgiveness was wrong, but so was the definition of love, respect, relationship and many other words. Any word can be taught the wrong way and used the wrong way.
If it makes sense to you to put the word healing in place of forgiveness ~ do it! whatever works for you!
Hugs, Darlene

43

Hi Pam
Yes, I was also lost in the fog of lies for a long time. I love what you said “It hurt, it still hurts, but I am not sorry to know the truth”. Yes sometimes the truth hurts, but it is still worth knowing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Patricia,
YES sometimes people use forgiveness and a lot of other things/words/ beliefs/ teachings/ to control and manipulate and deny what is wrong.
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hello Liz,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
thank you for sharing your thoughts here too!
Hugs, Darlene

44

The topic of forgiveness after unforgivable acts were committed upon victims makes me crazy. I’ve been all over the emotional universe in my thoughts and feelings re: forgive. And yes, I too was manipulated to forgive in the manner in which “they” deemed appropriate, such as being at a family function with the perpetrator at the table. Now I see that their version of forgiveness is just another way to deny what was really done. I also believe that I’m better off knowing the truth (not repressing memories). I used to use an affirmation: “I know all I need to know so that my soul may have peace and happiness.” Even as I said this, I was scared of what I needed to know. That knowing took another 20 years to surface. I’m glad I did not die before really knowing. As for the others in my family, they do not know what they are forgiving when they say the “forgive” the perpetrator(s) for what they did to me (and others). 4give is always a hot topic! Thx 4 helping survivors cool off!

45

Hi Joy,
I am thankful that we no longer live by abuser law! There is no equal value in that law. There is no freedom or individual choice in that law. There is no justice in that law. There is no Life or Breath in that law… and there is no GOD in that law either.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynn
VERY WELL SAID ~ bravo! Thank you for contributing to these ccmments on this post.
Hugs, Darlene

46

Darlene:

Thank u for your kind words. I believe all you say is right . and right now am stuck in my own little rut. lots of things are playing back at me today..like all hell has let loose its attacks on my mind . i just want to cry . All the things playing back are twisted and all about their rules..am going to make it I know i will.

joy

47

Darlene, thank you for writing this, I could not agree with you more, and it is something that I have struggled with.

With my last therapist, whenever I brought up my parents and the abuse, he would always try to get me to see it from their point of view – that they were victims too, they didn’t know any better, they were doing the best they could with what they knew at the time etc.

It made me feel as though they were exonerated for their behaviour while I was somehow responsible for perpetuating the pain, and that I had no right to be angry and bitter about all of the emotional and physical and psychological abuse I went through.

I think the last session I went to I was talking about how scared I was of my parents and he asked me “Do you think maybe they feel afraid too?” and I told him “I couldn’t give a &%*$ about how they feel!”

He was really taken aback, but it felt so good to say that – to stand up for myself against my parent’s behaviour and my therapist’s invalidation of their behaviour.

I couldn’t agree more that ‘forgiveness’ is a by-product of healing, not a means to healing in the first place. It’s not something you can produce by force of will or choice, but something that occurs naturally as you heal the pain and see through the lies.

Joy: I can relate to the confusion you feel over the mixed messages your mother is sending you. Rationally they make no sense, but emotionally it is hard not to get sucked back in to the fog. I hope you stay strong.

48

Carolyn,
I just published the following quote on my facebook page for EFB ~ I thought it was fitting to add it to what you just said

“Child abuse damages a person for life and that damage is in no way diminished by the ignorance of the perpetrator. It is only with the uncovering of the complete truth as it affects all those involved that a genuinely viable solution can be found to the dangers of child abuse”. Alice Miller ~ Banished Knowledge

I could write a whole blog post about why some of the theraputic community does this to clients! There is no healing where there is invalidation and lack of permission. YAY for you!
Hugs, and thank you for sharing!
Darlene

49

Carolyn,

I wonder what the therapist thinks his job is it is NOT to help YOU!! You are explaining how you feel and he responds with, “Imagine the what the feelings of someone else MIGHT be!!”

SO WHAT IF they are afraid!! That fear doesn’t stop them from doing things that makde you afraid! DUH!!! And then you still have to deal with you and your fear, etc., whatever the effects of the abuse are.

I get so angry about therapists that live in a fantasy world.

50

Thank you for addressing this! I don’t think this is told to people enough, that forgiveness is completely up to them. I hope you don’t mind if I add a link to my blog, instead of re-writing it as feedback here. This is a post from my blog, http://livingwithdid.blogspot.com/2011/03/let-go-of-your-anger.html

51

Annette,

You wrote: “I have worked with many alternative medicine practitioners, and although I find them quite knowleadgable of the connection between mind and body, even they back away when confronted with the reality of such a frightening reason for problems between mind and body”

Isn’t it awful when each new set of people you encounter YOU have to “educate” on this subject? What a drain.

I just found this the other day with a massage therapist, and I don’t want to go back. It is too much work. Too uphill.

Last year it was the colon therapist. she put the tube in my body and turned on the water and asked if i had forgiven my ex-husband. WOW. I am amazed i got t hrough the $1,000.00 worth of treatments. then I had to read some dumb book whe wanted me to read on related issues. NO, i just wanted a friend, not another theory!

52

The massage therapist actually asked me why I married my ex in the first place and she needed to tell me to focus on the positive, that he gave me great kids, etc., i wasn’t wanting to focus on it at all with her other than to answer her questions.

53

Yikes Kate! It does seem frightening and overwhelming at times how absolutely permeated society is with refusing to hold abusers accountable for their actions. Not only does a survivor of abuse have to work up the nerve to stand up to their abusers, which we have been brainwashed to make extra difficult, but then we have to defend ourselves to the hundreds of people standing behind them that we wish could be our friends or heroes instead! I think one of the worst things in a recovery process is finding someone you allow yourself to trust, and then hearing them say “It wasn’t really their fault” or “It can’t have been that bad”, or of course “You need to forgive them”

54

joy,
i have only read down as far as your first comment and i would love to comment to you in more detail, but i cant concentrate very well at the moment i am on strong pain meds 🙁
i just want to tell u that your situation has made me feel so much for you, and dont forget many others read these blogs and dont comment, there would be so many feeling for you rightnow. it is so hard when you are in the ‘fog’ you described, i know. but you are in the right place, there is so much caring, (which u need right now, not the dreadful things your mother is saying/doing to you). also there is so much support, understanding, and excellent ‘advice’ here.
hang in there and take each moment as it comes, dont put any pressure on yourself. i am thinking of you today. ((hugs))

55

Dear Michelle thank you for your kind words.. The fact that you stopped to say something despite having a hard time concentrating makes me feel warm inside. .like someone actually cares. I know everyone here is caring and i have felt the warm of everyone here.. I a going through 2 things at once and sometimes its so overwhelming the case against my exboss is still floating around. i have had to talk to legal people my story and telling it to men things how you feel as a woman is not easy. to come right out and say.. so i go through embarrassment as i retell what happened to me from my abusive and controlling boss. then I am dealing with family who feel therapy is brainwashing me and making me a different person. I know it shouldnt bother me but i am juggling several things at one time. I want to stay strong but sometimes i sit and cry . .which i never had freedoms to do. and i cry hundreds of tears.
I know its all good that i have to let all these things come out. I feel am a big mess right now big tangled mess. and i dont now which string to pull out . .as i said before. . Thank you again Michelle. hope you get to feeling better. ((hugs))
joy

56

G’morning, Darlene and everyone. There is such incredible power in these posts . . .

Darlene, thanks so much for including the link to Christina’s article on OSA: What about forgiveness?

http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2010/10/28/what-about-forgiveness/

Very timely after meeting with the therapist yesterday. So much thinking yet to do on these issues. . . Thanks everyone. You are a light in my very dark world.

57

What a topic for us survivors of really bad things Darlene. I also struggled with this issue for a long time and in fact (maybe like others) I was told to forgive and stop blaming – but at no time was I, my pain or my experiences validated by those I sought help and support from. I told. I told many about the abuse. I questioned my mother about what was abuse? How do I know I’ve been abused? Or is this normal and something is wrong with me for not being ok with being treated so horribly?

Like you, in the end, forgiveness was a part of and even a bonus for me in my healing journey in that it allowed me to see that I held the power over my life. Finally. I’d written a post last year on fighting forgiveness that a few folks have said was helpful:http://zebraspolkadotsandplaids.blogspot.com/2010/12/fighting-forgiveness.html

The main thing for me was in learning that forgiveness was for me and gave me the power to choose who I allowed in my life whereas in the past the idea of forgiveness was used to require me to allow people in my life who continued to abuse me without any consequence.

Good stuff again Darlene; thank you!

58

Wow, Susan — that was GREAT stuff. Four valuable points — feeling; recognizing; grieving; forgiving. . .

Anger is still so totally foreign to me. . . no wonder there’s no comfort to be found in my life — it has been so internalized, it certainly must leak out in the ways I am not kind to myself (lately its manifested itself as an eating problem). This is definitely material to share with my next therapist (seeing how the new one feels she needs to refer me to someone with more credentials! 🙂 At least she admitted my situation was out of her depth).

Power to choose to people in my life who hold me up and validate me and affirm me. How much more exciting to run toward those people than wasting any more time running from those who held me back, ran me down, sucked me dry, and tried to contaminate the things I love best in the world.

Thanks again, Susan, Darlene. Thanks, y’all. Yer the best!!!

59

Annette and Kate,
I think that the forgiveness factor isn’t what gets in the way when it come to physical illness, but rather that the child was never heard in the first place and it has to manifest somewhere. Just like depression only physical. It is the same stuff that I always talk about; being unheard, invalidated etc… and once again, when dr.s say stuff like that, the survivor gets blamed! Kate, I also think that these medical professionals don’t want to face their own pain from their own childhoods, and isn’t forgiveness just a nice neat little answer to everything?
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Susan,
Yes, exactly what I said above to Annette and Kate ~ we are unheard. No one even WANTS to hear the issues of the child victim. Everyone gets so brainwashed that even as adults, well meaning friends say ~ well have you forgiven yet? Last night I was reading a fiction novel, (rare for me) and the main female character had been raped when she was 12 by her mothers boyfriend, and her friend was asking her if she had forgiven yet…. it is EVERYWHERE! It seemed as though the writer didn’t even connect to the seriousness of what had happened to her character at the tender age of 12. It really ticked me off… I was reading a book to get away from the reality that I talk about every day… and there it was in a fiction book! LOL
Thanks for sharing Susan
Hugs, Darlene

60

@UltraLIte…I like the way you compartmentalized the process! I’m glad you are feeling like you are making progress and getting the help you find helpful:) Thanks Ultralite!

@Darlene; I KNOW! What I’ve found is that listening and validating has been replaced with listening and fixing by those who can’t sit with their own pain and thus cannot sit with nor help another heal from their own. And often its the helpers who are working out their own pain through fixing others that this becomes how this is passed on I think. Great post Darlen; thanks!

61

This is a very involved topic.

First of all it was never brought up to me growing up that anything was done that needed to be overlooked, much less forgiven. I didn’t even know the meaning of what abuse was. I had to learn many years later exactly what ‘abuse’ consisted of.

Today, still, its easier for me to look at someone else’s situation, and identify components of abuse, than to look at my own life and identify incidents of abuse, or even an abusive atmosphere. Its as if it is/was ok to believe someone else had been abused- in any way- than to see it as abuse when it pertained to me.

Its as if I ‘disappeared’ my self, or somehow made myself irrelevant, in order to NOT have to acknowledge being hurt. I guess this is denial, or dissociation.

I remember at a recovery seminar we were doing some psycho-drama exercises and one of the facilitators was physically positioning us in different standing positions; he was guiding us by holding our shoulders or arms- very appropriately. His hand slipped or I moved, and he touched my breast accidentally, He immediately apologized. Automatically….I said immediately:’ That’s ok. There’s nothing there.’

So I believe I detached, dis- connected all of my life to most instances of abuse by simply not being there, or not acknowledging it as such, minimizing what it was, what was going on, in order not to face it; not to have to confront anyone; not to have to feel hurt, degraded, embarrassed, not to have to deal with something I had no clue how to deal with.

So really, I don’t know everything that went on in my life- abuse wise. I know some things. I know how the atmospheres felt.
I know I have identified a peculiar quirk reaction I have when face to face with dangerous – to me- people: its a very old reaction. I immediately feel TOO trusting of the person. I feel too much goodwill towards them. I am already excusing them for potential abuse by being TOO empathetic towards them.

I feel grateful to identify that I do this, because NOW I can really examine what is going on when I feel these unrealistic over- positive felings. NOW I believe they came from long ago situations where abuse occurred and I overrode fear, dislike, loathing, and at some point got in the habit of ‘making’ myself ‘love’ the person, or I already loved the person and was trying to absorb the abuse and detach from the pain, because it was too overwhelming to allow the anger to surface. Too dangerous and too confusing.

So allowing myself to slog through the false feelings, and get to the real anger and see the abuse and the abuser for what they were is hard. I felt guilty for standing up to anyone….after all, they ‘loved’ me; I loved them; I admired them.THEY wouldn’t hurt me.

I still see myself being taken advantage of in many situations due to this. I WANT to see the good in people, and its unrealistic many times.

As far as forgiveness, I aim for detachment, and staying out of reach of people I know abused me- emotionally, spiritually…I don’t ave memories of being sexually abused myself but it runs all through my family.

I believe either a babysitter or someone close to my family abused my little brother, when I was a child.I think I was there but its very very foggy. I do remember the babysitter terrorizing my little brother by pretending to give him shots, which terrified him, and which the babysitter thought was hilarious. Its hard to forgive myself for not protecting my brother from that aggressive babysitter. I feel angry at HER, but angry at myself for not helping him, or telling on her.

I believe the kids in our family were terrorized more than I can literally remember. I belive I became the scapegoat, so that much of the overt emotional abuse was given to me, out of their own self protection. I think we all three did that at times. I can remember being thankful at different times that one or both of my parents were focused on one of the other kids instead of me. This pattern continued to adulthood….and my life became a nightmare when I moved back in with my mom, with a child, as an adult.

People from outside the family, like family friends, church people, were ‘brought in’ to family conflicts, which became church conflicts and I literally was unable to be an effective parent, or person in that situation, because there were so many people around who didn’t want me to BE independent, think independently, or get away from them with my daughter.

I belive the family dynamics were so strong that I was the family ‘hostage’. For me to be in recovery- which I was; was an affront and a threat to my sister, mother, and some church people. They were trying very hard to make sure even if I detached from them, they were going to ‘keep’ my daughter.

So forgiveness- I don’t forgive them for NOT even attempting to find recovery for themselves. I don’t forgive them for not allowing myself anf my daughter to get free of them. I don’t forgive them for being overtly and activelt aggressive and cruel and dishonest towards me.

Mistakes, errors, misunderstandings I can forgive, but deliberate trampling on our rights, our feelings; deliberately telling people things to try to make them disapprove or dislike me or condemn me spiritually and socially I don’t forgive.

When someone says ‘please stop saying what you are saying and doing what you are doing, because its hurting me; yet they continue, then its deliberate.

My boundaries are my protection. If I forgive too easily, I forget too quickly. If unforgiveness is poisonin my heart as some keep harping on, then its really my own business. I don’t consider my heart poisoned; just watchful. Its a matter of semantics.

I really check my gut reactions these days. When I feel a discordant reaction; when things aren’t ‘right’ I feel it. I may not know what is going on exactly but I listen to myself; and I back off to observe.

Forgiveness is not the right word sometimes. First I have to have a real awareness of what the issue is before I can forgive.Sometimes it isn’t appropriate. And actually why are so many people so worried about whether other people are forgiving or not?

62

Hi Evie
Your last line is profound!

You wrote (almost as an afterthought) : “And actually why are so many people so worried about whether other people are forgiving or not?”

Brilliant question/thought/statement. EXACTLY. Why are so many people so worried about OTHER people forgiving or not? Really great food for thought Evie… I know what I think about it!

Something that really helped me to realize the abuse that I suffered was thinking about it in the third person as though a child (my child) was telling me the things that happened to her. Emotional abuse included. All the times i was shushed, silenced and disapproved of. The times I was punished without being heard, the times I was ignored, spanked, blamed, discounted. And I tried to hear myself as thought it wasn’t me that was telling, and I tried to react to this “child” telling me the story. I was outraged that this happened to this child… I knew it was all wrong. Taking it outside of the brainwashing that I lived under, helped me to see it differently and put it into a different perspective.

Thank you for sharing. You have brought up some really great points.
Hugs, Darlene

63

All,

All of these comments are so interesting. For me, forgiveness is very different from trust. I can forgive those who hurt me because I understand they are human with weaknesses, bad coping systems, and illnesses just like me. I forgive them because I don’t want to waste my life feeling anger or hatred toward them. However, I don’t trust them because they have the ability to harm with total lack of empathy and responsibility for their actions. I forgive them but it is not safe to be around them. I would have to agree that forgiveness in this form is for me. Forgiveness does absolutely nothing for a person who won’t say they are sorry; or better, for a person who isn’t sorry.

Having said that, forgiveness isn’t cheap. True forgiveness requires sacrifice of self. Anger and hatred are terrific pain killers. It is hard to let go of them and truly experience all of the pain of abuse. I couldn’t forgive until I was ready to face the truth and put aside my anger. Forgiveness has come in layers for me and though it has required some sacrifice and pain it is another step in freeing me from the control of my abusers. Forgiveness allows me to be free from them emotionally as well as physically. That doesn’t mean that anger doesn’t creep in again from time to time but every time that I take up those old offenses again, I re-injure myself. I give my abusers opportunity to hurt me again and again without even being present or a part of my life. I look forward to the day when I won’t even think of it anymore. I am hoping that there is such a day.

64

I forgave the fact that my x used to rape me, knock me around and cheated on me. I forgave my parents for making me their household slave and beating the crap out of me as a child. All these things tho never asked for forgIveness I did forgive long ago. But there are some things unforgivable in my eyes and when I got my memories of the actual horrors I lived, can’t forgive. I do however ACCEPT IT. Maybe I have a different view of what forgiveness is. I can’t say I forgive myself for these things because I never ever blamed myself except for being so stupid in trusting people. Forgiveness to me means not wanting harm to come to my abusers. And I sure as HELL want them to suffer! Do I dwell on it? Not anymore. I am at peace with the knowledge I will be avenged. I had a near death experience. I got to the beginning of heaven and after I wondered why my grandparents and other loved ones were there but not my parents. Then I got my memories. They weren’t there cause the ARE NOT THERE! Never in a million years thought I’d say “and that’s just fine with me” about that. They earned it! Part of my healing is accepting the fact that I don’t have to forgive them. And that’s ok too!

65

How do you forgive my ex husband for 35 years for leaving me and going with a friend of the family. I have been trying for over 6 years now to either forgive or forget but have been told that forgetting him would be much easier as we spent to many years together. New wife knows the family and is trying really hard to become the best step-mother ever (bought a boat as they live on the lake in her house). Have 3 new grand-babies, one other little man who will someday want and answer as to why so many grand-parents, what do I say then. After this many years it is hard to pull the ex out of my heart even though he crushed my life, left me in debt and he went happily on his way like nothing happened. I have since remarried to a really nice person who I love very much but in a totally different way then the love I had for my first husband. What advice do you give to someone starting over after 35 years of marriage and at my age? Do I continue to totally ignore them like I have been doing for 6 years and since my kids are adults they have been a big help with keeping us apart as they know now much I lothe the other woman. Sad she was some one I admired and invited to my house and went to her house, how could she stoop so low to steal someone else’s husband. I do wonder if I will ever be at peace with myself and will I ever get my ex out of my heart forever? And I agree, I will never forgive my ex for what he did to me especially since I found out that he had been cheating on me for over 5 years with this friend of the family, nice person wouldn’t you say. And all the things he bought her with the money I was making from my job really cut me to the quick. Thank you very much for listening and hopefully you can shed some light on what I should do next as to dealing with the likes of the two of them.

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Hi Suzie
Yes, that is okay too!
Great to have you here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mary Ann
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
The only light that I can shed is what I did myself to get over all of the past from childhood right through to my forties. I had to heal. I had to put my self first, I had to realize that it was not my fault or my defect of character that caused these people to mistreat me ~ it was something in them. In healing and doing my own work ~ restoring my self esteem and really realizing that what had been done to me was so wrong and resulted in a whole series of wrongs, has had a profound healing effect on my kids. The truth is so much easier to live with then the lies that always surround these situations. You were wronged. But you can go forward from here.
There is a lot of information in this site about how I did that.
hugs, Darlene

67

I’ve ranted and written many times on this issue. Forgiveness was so rammed down my throat over the years by my abusers as well as by many who never knew my abusers but who, the moment I said I’d been abused said “have you forgiven your abusers? You must forgive them.” Then when I’ve query that I’ve been labelled as rebellious and had it said to me “no one can help you unless you forgive”. Then “well, you need to forgive yourself then.” ???????? The abuse was done to me, I do not need to forgive myself for anything and do not buy into that at all.

Real forgiveness is not possible when your abusers don’t even recognise or admit anything was wrong, or if anything was wrong the fault was with me not them. Where people do not recognise any wrong forgiveness is not possible. Where people do not recognise or acknowledge the damage done to you forgiveness is not possible. Where people do not seek forgiveness, it is not possible. Forgiveness is not always possible.

Forgiveness for me where I’m at at the moment is about letting go of the anger, rage, desire for revenge and so on that I have about what they did and getting my life back in some way. I believe you can forgive things done to you. But I also believe there are many things which are unforgivable, they are so awful and so horrific. As for forgiving a person I believe only God can truly do that.

So many people are ignorant of the dynamics of abuse and the damage it does to survivors. So many people are brainwashed into the forgiveness paradigm without actually really thinking it through. So many people use the forgiveness issue to judge and control others in the guise of religious advice. Many people use the forgiveness word to shut you up.

It has caused me no end of hurt, pain and confusion.

I see forgiveness as an immensely personal thing. It has nothing to do with another human being whether you’ve forgiven someone or not.

When it comes to non-repentant abusers who deny anything ever happened forgiveness is not even a relevant topic for survivors.

68

HI Darlene

Wanting to comment on a phrase you said “Had to put myself first” ..for me this is the very hardests.. since everything everything was drilled into me to be last ..last in famlly because . .i didnt matter..Last in faith as they taught me that holiness consisted in putting self last ..others first.. Its hard for me to grasp the idea of putting myself first.. its seems so totally foreign to all i was taught..more fog .

joy

69

For me, ‘Forgiveness’ the word, is a concept. For me its a matter of semantics when trying to discuss it with others. What it means to me, is different perhaps than what it means to others, even though we all are using te same word: forgiveness.

Forgiveness and what it means to me is between my God and I. Therefore its almost counterproductive to discuss it with others.

I am very aware we are all human and make mistakes. I choose not to let bitterness eat me alive.

The only person who ever even mentioned ‘forgiveness’ to me, in a personal context – was a person who knew I knew what she had done in relation to some things she had said to other people. I apparently needed to forgive her, or I would further infested with ‘demon’…lol.I was not as much angry as I was shocked at everything. I suppose I should be grateful she was so concerned.lol.
Oh and I almost forgot the church elder who prayed, saying ‘Lord, forgive us when we sin; Even when we don’t know we are sinning..’ This is hours after I confronted the church about taking the kids on a youth trip without a female chaperone.

So, I don’t pay much attentions to people who are eager for me to ‘forgive’….I also tune out Christian rhetoric about it.

It literally is something we work out ourselves with our own higher power. Just my opinion.

70

Evie,

“and my life became a nightmare when I moved back in with my mom, with a child, as an adult.”

I was there for a while, with both parents and more than one child–hell

I couldn’t be an effective parent, either–hell

“Mistakes, errors, misunderstandings I can forgive, but deliberate trampling on our rights, our feelings; deliberately telling people things to try to make them disapprove or dislike me or condemn me spiritually and socially I don’t forgive.”

YES! I hear you, loud and clear!! And that is a hard thing for me to “get” free from, those lingering effects, the memories anyway…

the family dynamics were so strong, you felt like a hostage. In my situation, it was because of the church, the numbers there and the small town where this all took place that bad it so toxic for me.

I like your questions that arise. Why are so many people concerned about what is not there business?

This made me sad to read, probably because I do the same thing, or have in the past, and it was good to read this in print!!

“I know I have identified a peculiar quirk reaction I have when face to face with dangerous – to me- people: its a very old reaction. I immediately feel TOO trusting of the person. I feel too much goodwill towards them. I am already excusing them for potential abuse by being TOO empathetic towards them.”

71

Evie, I couldn’t agree more, forgiveness is a concept that means many things to many people.

To most Christians I’ve come across it means only one thing and that is all about spiritual abuse. So many times the people who want to push forgiveness on us perceive us to be bitter for not forgiving, nor wanting to forgive according to their perception of forgiveness. Bitterness is something else. I am not bitter, I am hurt and angry but I’m definitely not bitter.

As I said forgiveness is a personal thing and is nobody-else’s business. Forgiveness between you and God and me and God. Pity so many people in the church cannot leave it so.

72

Hi Fi,
Love your contribution to this post ~ I have to highlight this quote !

Fi wrote: So many people are ignorant of the dynamics of abuse and the damage it does to survivors. So many people are brainwashed into the forgiveness paradigm without actually really thinking it through. So many people use the forgiveness issue to judge and control others in the guise of religious advice. Many people use the forgiveness word to shut you up.

It has caused me no end of hurt, pain and confusion.

Thank you for sharing! hugs, Darlene

73

joy,
was the same for me too. but not now. they put themselves first all that time now it’s your turn. ?

74

that question mark is meant to be a pink love heart.. obviously my awesome iPhone emoticons don’t work here 🙁

75

well the frown works! go figure … hahaha

76

Michelle,

Love this emphasis on putting yourself first. Here it is in other words from John Gatto Taylor in his letter to 17-year-olds, or those about to graduate from high school: (never too late to learn!)

1. Self-Knowledge: This is the biggest prize of all. Without it you are lost and will flounder again and again through life. By now you should have introspected enough to know your own character: its proclivities, strengths, weaknesses, blessings, curses. How much assistance has your high school(!)(or anyone?) given you to accompish this? (Nearly NO ONE will help you accomplish this goal, hence our sorry state, but, now to learn, never too late!)

2. Observation: Your powers of observation in any situation should be razor sharp; at will you should be able to function like an objective camera/tape recorder sucking in accurate data for later analysis. Can you “read” the primary documents ( OR the behavior of others) and images from every age and place. Or must you take someone else’s word for their meaning?

3. Feedback: Are you rigorously trained to pick up cues about yourself from the reactions of others and from signals out of the environment? (Another behavior watching idea) Do you have trouble accepting criticism and evaluating its worth? (How about recognizing constructive help from abuse whether from teachers, peers, or parents, etc.?) If you rely on test scores and teacher evaluations as stars to steer by you are in for a shock when you discover discrepancies between what you’ve been taught to think and reality.

4. Analysis: Can you take a new problem, break it into structural and procedural elements, gauge the relationships among those, reckon major outside influences, and do all this without expert help? (Start with your own feelings about your own life and those in it.)

5. Mirroring: Have you learned to be everyone as well as yourself? Can you be a chameleon at will? Or are you trapped in your own tight skin the way little people are? Can you fit into every group, even a group of your enemies, (abusers) opting in and out as you please, yet remaining yourself?

6. Expression: Do you have a voice that’s your own? Can you deliver that voice with clarity, style, and force in writing and speaking? Without that, your ability to recruit allies will be feeble, and you will likely be swallowed up by someone whose expressiveness is superior to your own.

7. Judgement: Can you evaluate dispassionately? Can you see through falsehood? The society you are entering is a house of mirrors; little of what you see and few of those you meet will be what they appear. The most attractive personalities are invariably dishonest. How much chance did you have to develop judgement and test it?

8. Adding Value: Do you add value to every encounter, to every group of which you area part? Do you even know what that means? If you aren’t worth something to others, then truly you are worthless. That’s Kurt Vonnegut speaking in one of his books, Slaughterhouse Five, I think. (I haven’t read this book.)

From John Gatto’s Weapons of Mass Instruction, A Letter to My Granddaughter About Dartmouth, pages 162-163

77

Michelle

thank you for all your kind words: I so appreciate all your support..
sending a gentle hug if ok ((hug))

Joy

78

Fi,
One thing I know for sure, when someone demands forgiveness but never admits to any wrong, they don’t really want forgiveness. They want to deflect from their wrong doing and make it seem to be your fault. That is the way my parents treat me and I refuse to play along. I won’t take responsibility for their abuse of me no matter how they phrase it.

79

Hi Pam, yes that’s for sure, real forgiveness is something that can never be demanded from anybody, that isn’t real forgiveness, that is about the other person’s agenda.

80

Darlene

Regarding your words

” What set me free was finally understanding what happened to me and believing that I had nothing to do with the abuse.”

Did it happen all at once..did you arrive at this understanding and you never return back to wondering about your part in all the nonsense.. or did you sometimes find doubt even after you come to understand you had no part..?

ITs one thing to read this . .and say it ” I had no part” but another thing to really really believe it. Especially for me .when people seem to be coming out of the family woodwork blaming me . .. its hard sometimes ..not that I am not trying to keep saying “its not my fault. I didn’t deeerve this’

joy

81

Hi Joy

It didn’t happen all at once, it happened in stages or perhaps layers would be a better way to describe. I looked at the truth and what my REAL part in it was (the truth was that I never ever had a choice in any of it) and then I would validate myself, that I did not have a part in it…. but then some time would go by and something would cause me to doubt myself again. I would have to take another look (often times at a different situation) and on it went, each time I got a little stronger and went through the self validation process more quickly.

It really does take some time to undo a lifetime of brainwashing and lies.
Hugs, Darlene

82

Darlene

I am seeing that i make some steps forward thanks to good therapy work but now and then I fall backwards and I know its a long long journey.

I so appreciate you sharing that you had your moments of little setback.

Its such a big thing to realize that so many years have been in the wrong belief system. it’s even bit overwhelming but i see you have overcome all the odds Darlene, and so many others here too and this gives me courage.

I have family still contactingme through facebook mail ..extended family telling me am a liar . .why didnt i tell people sooner the things ..this most recent and it hurts e so much… .I have to trust someone really much to open up . .and luckily am finding that with a few now that i can trust. . though its a shaky trust. My therapist is so kind..so so kind and so are you Darlene..

joy

83

Luke 17:3 says So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”

but some how nobody ever quotes that it is a conditional forgiveness based on their repentance people who teach to blindly forgive are not teaching truth!

84

We are having rolling black outs in NYC today due to the heat wave so I probably won’t be back on today! Heading to the beach!

85

Pinky,
Thank you for sharing this! This is the kind of thing that I am talking about ~ how the TRUTH gets so twisted for the sole purpose of manipulating other people. The verse says “IF he repents” IF being the key word. But as you say, rarely do we see the truth when it comes to something that others want us to swallow it the way that they think it should be OR the way that they have also been taught and were also never set free from the lies.
Thanks! have fun at the beach!
Hugs, Darlene

86

people who “teach” to blindly forgive are teaching blindness

87

I love what you have written here and it is so very validating for who I am and where I am going.
Your statement~
“Freedom and emotional healing comes from facing the truth about what actually happened and validating it.”

This is one of the first Keys to healing.

With much respect and gratitude,
Lisa A Bull

88

Lisa,
Your services look great! I couldn’t get your email contact to work. Are you on FB?

89

Hi Lisa
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! I think most of us have had our fill of being invalidated, so it is time to validate!
Facing the truth became part of that validating for me!
Hugs, Darlene

90

wow, that was a ride….

I completely agree about the “forgiveness” thing….I think it’s just another form of abuse, it continues to put the weight of the offense on you, the victim…it serves the abuser again…of course, no surprise there. My abuser is dead and I know he would have never taken ownership of any wrong doing so, there is no pressure there to forgive….however, the dysfunctional enabling family I grew up in is something I have to deal with. My mother is a denial queen but seems to be opening her mind in little bits here and there….I don’t really feel a lot of hatred for her, just sadness since she grew up so horribly and passed it on to her own kids…I fight everyday to not pass it on to my daughter…I seek health….it is tough….especially when I do have to deal with my daughter’s father who sexually abused my daughter and acts like nothing happened…like I am crazy…yep, he is the one that gets my blood boiling…I could smash a mountain after having contact with him, he is so unenlightened and was actually preaching to me about god and how he is going to pray for me…the nerve of some people…makes me sick…anyway, thanks for reading my rant…any advice is welcomed for dealing with him

91

Hi Darlene,
nice day at the beach only I threw my back out and have to go to the chiropractor (old age) 🙂 and we are having rolling black outs due to the heat wave. So I am using the computer on no power it might go out again soon. And if you need to delete this fine but Jenny asked for advice I want to give my two cents.
@Jenny, you said—– he is so unenlightened and was actually preaching to me about god and how he is going to pray for me…the nerve of some people…makes me sick…anyway, thanks for reading my rant…any advice is welcomed for dealing with him.

Reminds me of my brother who raped me though we have not had contact in years he always says he prays for me at least he used to say it when we had contact.But I took the step to cut contact though he tries to get back into my life. He went onto molest his 2 years old daughter and break her legs. Too bad he is on his way to hell not sure who is praying to or who is listening.

Anyway any advice, yes, don’t deal with him, fight him in court, he should be no where near you or your daughter. It is not in the best interest of your daughter to have him in her life at all on any level in my opinion and unfortunately court cases can take years and thousands of dollars but unless a judge awarded him custody already and still I would appeal that I cant imagine even wanting to have him in your life at all. Again I dont know your situation and if you are forced by a judge to deal with him but I would still fight it if that is the judges decision. No judgement just advice. I mean a child molester? Why deal with one if you dont have to and eve if you do I woudl fight that as well .

92

Jenny,

Yes, I hear you about x’s. My x’s mother told him that the only language I would understand was a beating (I heard her say this) and I immediately entered the room and told him to get me out of there, to which he replied,n “Go read your bible.”

That 20 years ago. I stayed with him until about 6 years ago. Chronic liar and repeated adulterer, physically intimidating, and eventually physically abusive.

I face multiple challenges with our four children because of him. I try to get my children to be in touch with their own feelings and deisres. This is a LONG term goal. It is discouraging, and so I cannot give up on this. I may be the only person ever talking to them in this way.

One thing i will never do again is send a child to a Christian college since we’ve just had too, too many bad experiences in them. And it defeats my goal of my children knowing themselves and seeking what is best for their own lives.

93

Hi Jenny,
When I talk about abusers~ I mean anyone who devalued me… All abuse is abuse and when it comes to parents who ignor or dismiss the truth, it isn’t any easier, in fact sometimes it is even harder to deal with! But YAY that you try not to pass this on to your daughter. It must be very difficult to have to deal her father who abused her and will be extreemly important that you do hear her now, that you don’t discount her as she has already been discounted by him so badly.
I like what Pink said about dealing with him. I do hope that you have some help with this for her too.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

94

Jenny,

Sorry, I lost the fact that your x sexually molested your daughter. I think that mine has been inappropirate in every way had possibly can with our daughter, emotionally, and sexually in various ways, and I don’t know the full extent of it.

95

Thank you ladies for the support that has been so badly needed today!! I have gone to mediation with him and he actually lives out of state, it’s jut that he recently visited and stirred up the pot again and I can’t see subjecting her or myself to reopening those wounds over and over…for who’s sake, his?? she does love him and one day she will have to see him for who he really is….you have all given me some clarity and for that I am grateful…hugs to all

96

You are welcome Jenny and I hope you win in court and do not have to deal with him. All girls love their daddy’s but she is not in the position right now to protect herself. Once she is an adult she can make those decisions but right now the best you ca do is protect yourself and her emotionally. I wish you the best!

97

Pinky,

I so appreciate your encouragement because I thought the most difficult part of her abuse was over and that was finding out, believing her and standing up to his whole family for her….but it is obviously not enough…I already have supervised visits for her (me supervising) but she needs to be away from him altogether….I pray I win too…thanks I will do my best.

98

@Jenny I have been thorough something similar is is a long hard road I wish you the best! (you supervising that is priceless!) Wow! I hope you can get an attorney and judge that will realize how impossible that is! It puts you in a terrible position! Hugs and prayers!

99

Jenny,

When did this order for supervised visits begin?
Have you actually supervised any of these yet, or is this just starting? Do you have a pocket tape reocrder and phone camera?
Did you want to be the one supervising?

we had mediation two times because he didn’t want me moving the kids out of state. (more like because the experience would give him one more woman to fantasize about–the mediatior)

I told her how he was arrested three days before for rafting on the river when there was flooding going on, and it wasn’t even a real raft, and it was just a real nightmare, and she looked at him and said, “you were the “river morons”? They were talking about you on talk radio for two hours on the way to work this morning…you can leave the room now.” Then she told me how he shot himself in the foot and lost this effort…

100

I found this article posted on facebook today.

http://www.kellyclarkattorney.com/general/on-apologies-and-forgiveness/

“I get asked quite often by people what is the role of apology and forgiveness in the work that I do. Well, the short answer is: not much. As a child sex abuse attorney having represented over over 300 men, women and children who suffered child sexual abuse, I can count on one hand the number of times that I have witnessed a genuine apology and a request for forgiveness. Whether from those responsible for Catholic priest abuse, Boy Scout abuse, Mormon abuse, or any of the other contexts in which these crimes occur– families, schools, athletic leagues– I just haven’t seen it, with but a few exceptions.”

101

Kate,
Thanks for sharing that link, that article is really good! I am going to keep my eye on that blog. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

102

Hmm. I grew up in a very strict church where my father was the preacher, and FORGIVENESS was the first thing you had to do, in order to qualify you to be FORGIVEN of your “inborn sin” ~ in my dad’s church you didn’t have to actually do anything wrong to be guity of sin and in need of forgiveness to escape eternal hellfire; you were BORN A SINNER.

So. After trying out many different churches and religions, including no religion at all for many years… after reading the Bible from cover to cover at least 5 times, plus many other books on the topic of forgiveness… at the ripe old age of 58, I have decided, despite having a Mensa iq, that:

I don’t have a CLUE what FORGIVENESS really MEANS.

And, at this particular moment in my life…. I don’t much care.

Thanks for the great post, Darlene. I’ll have to read the comments later.

Lynda

103

PS~ BORN ALREADY a SINNER? Yes, that’s what my parents believed and preached. Was this their “justification” for being so abusive to me from the time I was a tiny tot?

Sick thinking. I am a Christian today, but I no longer buy all that sick ignorant “fundamentalist” thinking. About 3 weeks ago my extremely religious mother sent me a new and improved 60+ page hate letter, detailing all the “wrongs” of my entire life… apparently the 50 page hate letter she sent me 28 years ago had expired. In this latest letter, which I never read, thanks to my husband seeing it first and destroying it ~ my mother said that God told her to write that letter. Still the same old, same old, after all these years.

Forgiveness? She who always preached “forgive and forget,” writes 60+ pages worth of a lifetime of her grievances against me, both real and imaginary, mostly exaggerated, one-sided, and filled with lots of total misunderstandings in which I am NEVER given the benefit of the doubt… I’m just guessing, since I didn’t read the latest letter, that’s what her 50-page hate letter that she sent me when I was 30, was like.

Funny how forgiveness is always demanded by the abusers…. but never GIVEN by the abusers.

104

Exactly Lynda!
EXACTLY ~ How could someone who preached that, write that kind of letter! That is what I am talking about. That “love” is only one sided, and all about what you can do for them. Love , respect, forgiveness, didn’t apply to them! These were the things that I realized that set me free. This is the truth that I am talking about.
I have been thinking about writing an article about the history of how parenting was taught… It was believed that children were born bad and that the bad had to be forced out of them. That discipline had to begin very very young. It was also believed that children had no memory before the age of 5 !!! so it didn’t really matter what you did to them. I am pretty sure that half our society still believes that children are born bad etc because it creates a convenient excuse to abuse them!
I could go on and on….
Hugs, Darlene

105

@Lynda, so true all you have said! It is refreshing that you admit that you do not really know exactly what forgiveness is. Most people do not but would never admit it!I also did not believe in God at all for years and years. But it was not due to church abuse.
I think forgiveness and everything else really falls under the category of if it is done in faith (you know, I want to forgive…) then I think God accepts it as forgiveness because we can only be judged according to our own light . Something that might not be sin for me might be for you and visa versa. Anyway that is what I believe that God judges the heart not the “right” way of doing anything. And as you say if you are stabbed you bleed I can not accept that God woudl expect us not to bleed. Jesus bled, Jesus wept, Jesus got angry at the money changers and pharisees…God would never expect us to be anti human, Jesus had human emotions and expressed them so this Christian culture of denial is ridiculous.
And so true especially to “Funny how forgiveness is always demanded by the abusers…. but never GIVEN by the abusers.”

106

Darlene, and Pinky,

What you both said…. made me cry. Healing tears.

I’ve been doing a lot of crying of healing tears since my cousin Elaine drowned 13 days ago.

My husband and I were in the process of planning a memorial service for her, when the hospital where my cousin worked, beat us to it. I’m so glad they did…. my cousin’s co-workers put together a video of memories, photos, comments about her, things she had said, OH it was the most moving, loving, beautiful memorial service I have ever been to, and in my lifetime, I have been to many funerals.

My aunt…. wow. She is, as she says now, “71 and 1/3” years old. She was, she IS, the best, most unconditionally loving and giving MOM I have EVER known…. the polar opposite of her sister, my so-called mother. My aunt, even at the memorial service of her only daughter, was so lovely and gracious and gentle and…. I can’t even put it into words. I told my aunt, “YOU are THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN I have ever known.” I idolized my aunt from the time I was a tiny tot, and today, I love her more than words can say.

So, I am grieving the loss of my dear sweet young cousin, and I am also grieving on behalf of my aunt, mourning with her, her unspeakable loss.

In all of her PAIN, she is GRATEFUL! Grateful that she had Elaine for not-quite 39 years. Grateful for all the precious memories she had with her daughter.

I printed out all of the many loving tributes that have been posted on my cousin’s facebook wall, in the days since her death. I increased the font size a bit, because my aunt has cataracts. The total number of pages of loving tributes to my cousin was 83!! 83 pages of LOVE.

At the memorial service last Friday, when my aunt went forward to speak about her beloved daughter, she held up those 83 pages and said, “This is my speech.” Even in her searing grief, my aunt’s bright beautiful sense of humor lives on~

I spoke, too, on behalf of my cousin. I told how I had talked for almost an hour on the phone to Elaine on the night before her death. I told her in that last conversation, that I love her 4 ways: One, I love you for YOU. Two, I love you because you are my cousin. Three, I love you because I love your mom, my favorite aunt. And four, I love you because I loved your father, my favorite uncle…

Oh how I used to love to sit across the table from my cousin Elaine, and see both her father and her mother in her face, in her voice, in her gestures and mannerisms. She was a perfect blend of those two people whom I loved so much, long before she was even born.

Forgiveness? I have been struggling with ANGER at a universe that would take my cousin Elaine, just like that, let her DROWN, when she had so much life, so much love, so much yet to DO. She was a registered nurse on an infusion ward, she gave chemotherapy and other treatments to the sickest of patients. Several of her patients also spoke at her service there in the hospital. Also several co-workers.

I don’t understand how, why, Elaine can be GONE, just like that! We had plans, SHE had plans, my husband and I were helping her with those plans, and then, on the morning she died, she sent text messages to our cell phone saying that she and her friend were on their way up north to the hot springs, and YAY! and a smiley face… she was happy, she was excited, and a few hours later her body was found in the hot springs…

In my lifetime I have received the bad news about many loved ones dying.. but only twice did I SCREAM when I got that terrible news. The first time was when my baby grandson Kyle died in 2006, and the second time was Saturday morning, June 4, when my precious aunt called to tell me that her only daughter had drowned.

We all know that none of us will live forever. We all know that death can come at any time, for any one. We know that all over the world, every day, every hour, people of all ages are dying, in all manner of ways. We know this, but to maintain our sanity and equilibrium, we keep this knowledge pushed to the back of our minds…. we make plans for a week from now, for a month from now, for a year from now, 5 years, and 10 years…. and then we get a phone call that shatters all our plans.

Part of me wants to just curl up in a ball and QUIT. But… the bigger part of me wants to do what a little girl named Jillian Bucklin said, when she was dying of bone cancer at the age of 9. She was the daughter of some friends of mine, and she lost one arm to cancer. After a brief remission, her cancer came back, and she didn’t live to be 10. But, shortly before she died, this young lady with the very wise spirit said: “WHILE YOU ARE ALIVE ~ LIVE!”

I don’t know what this has to do with the topic of forgiveness, it just came pouring out of me. I guess.. the forgiveness I need to come to, for the loss of my cousin, my only blood relative in the state where I live. My aunt said it so beautifully at her daughter’s service: “I give God the credit for all the good things in life, but I don’t blame him for the bad. I give God the credit for giving me my wonderful daughter….”

I want to be like my precious auntie when I grow up.

Lynda

107

PS~ In addition to being a registered nurse, my cousin Elaine had a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. During one of her final conversations with her mother, my aunt told Elaine about recently receiving in the mail the 60+ page hate letter my “mother” had recently sent to me. My aunt also shared with her daughter, the wonderful reponse she had just mailed to her only sister, my mother~ a response that put my mother in her place, with style.

I told my cousin how I used to think that “I was the only one” to have a horrible hateful mother like that, until I found this blog online, and some others, and learned that, sadly, I am far from being the “only one.”

“I have come to realize that my mother probably has Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” I told Elaine. After a brief silence, my cousin blurted out: “WOW! THAT would explain…. EVERYTHING!”

Oh, Elaine….

108

@Lynda, sorry you are hurting, grief takes it time and s different in each case with each person. This may not help butI just want to share with you someone I was close to (long story) died in 2009 and always reassured me they were not going to die because (as a joke) they would say only the good die young! I think there is some truth in that! Life is so short and I realize that more and more each day! hugs!

109

Hi Lynda,
I’m glad that there was a beautiful memorial for your cousin Elaine. I think that tragic events make all kinds of things come to the surface, so just let them come out. I am gald that you are sharing. Where there is as much history as there is in your life, it really does take time to get it all out and to sort it all out, face the lies, and replace them with truth. You are on the journey which is all that matters!
Hugs and Love, Darlene

110

I’ve decided whatever forgiveness is, what it’s NOT is necessary. It’s not even necessary, for me anyway, to even talk about it. And anyone who doesn’t like that, well that’s not my problem either.
After being told to fucking pray for Osama bin Laden’s soul, by a Catholic woman who believes that action will get his soul out of whatever hell he went to, I said forget the whole goddam thing. I’m NOT praying for Osama bin Laden’s soul, mind, emotion or any other part of his pathetic existence while he had it.
Furthermore, these people don’t even know what the hell they’re talking about before they start running their great big fat mouths. A few weeks after the woman told us to do that, and I said no, we received information (well the government received it but we were informed of it) that he gave as his reason for why he did what he did and even why he was going to KEEP doing it. That reason was ‘The Americans are in Arab countries and killing them is the only way they’re going to leave.’
He was planning another attack, probably for September 11, 2011 (that’s the date he gave in the document; either that or July 4, 2011), he wasn’t the least bit fuckin’ sorry for what he’s already done and she was telling me to pray for his goddam soul. While he was planning more attacks, I’m supposed to be praying for his soul. And SHE’S the one people think make sense.
This comment will probably be deleted for its existence of curse words, but I chose to enter it with them there, b/c I’m sick and freakin’ tired of people telling me to forgive other people–and the people who abused me when I was young are some of them–who have no goddam sorrow at all and are even planning to create more chaos.
My A. Rosemary threatened to “beat the shit out of me” if I breathed a word of what happened, which she insisted never occurred but knows did, or she wouldn’t need to threaten me.
I need to do my own healing. That doesn’t include forgiving people like her or Osama bin Laden.
Even God doesn’t forgive a person who’s actively not sorry, for God’s sake. If anyone thinks he does, I’d like to know how. It says you have to ASK for forgiveness before you get it.

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I like the very first post. I like others too, it’s just that the first one jumped out at me.

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Vicki, I like what you said: “Even God doesn’t forgive a person who’s actively not sorry……. you have to ASK for forgiveness before you get it.”

That pretty well sums up my feelings on the matter, too. How can I forgive someone who has done me a terrible wrong, when they have never indicated that they regret doing so? My answer is… I can’t. I won’t. I can eventually work my way through the hurt and anger and go on with my life, I can eventually work my way through to a place of peaceful serenity, where I no longer need to dwell on the hurt the person has done to me. Then I can focus on other, happier things… but, to FORGIVE someone who has never indicated that they are truly, sincerely sorry? To FORGIVE someone, who is continuing to hurt me every time they have the chance?? That makes no sense to me.

Vicki, I am grieved in my soul about the things that are being said about the horrible 9/11 nightmare. A conspiracy with our own government?? That’s crazy, surely… I did not know, until I read your posts on FB about that a few hours ago, about those rumors… I do not watch or read the news, almost never, because there are too often, many triggers in the news for my PTSD.

It’s a crazy world we live in. I’m sorry for your hurt, Vicki. I’m especially sorry that your daughter has told you she wants to distance herself from you because it hurt her so terribly to lose her dad in the World Trade Center, she doen’t want to risk being hurt that badly again when or if she loses you. That’s mixed up thinking caused by her hurt, and I hope she will eventually heal past that… but in the meantime, it must hurt you terribly, I know.

Lynda

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What does ‘dwelling on the hurt’ mean? I’m asking b/c, every time I was upset even if it was the first time, my mom would yell at me and say ‘All you do is dwell on the negative.’
I didn’t think I was dwelling on it, but I also don’t know what it means b/c it’s another of those phrases that, a lot of times, is used just to get someone to stop talking. I don’t believe you’re doing that, I’m talking about my mom.
So I’ve seen it used both ways now, I’d just feel more comfortable if I knew what it meant.
I never FEEL like I’m dwelling on ANYthing. I always feel like it invades me, like a hostile intruder, and then refuses to leave when I tell it to get out.
That’s how it feels for me, but I haven’t thought about the phrase ‘dwell on it’ since the last time my mom said I was doing it. Well, she always made it sound like I was being upset on purpose just to get on her nerves specifically.

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Hi Vicki
One of the readers said something that I thought was profound about “the past” She said, I will leave the past alone when it leaves me alone” and that made a lot of sense to me. Although I talk about the past almost everyday in this blog, it doesn’t bother me anymore.
Your mother saying that is one of those typical things that is meant to just make you feel wrong. Just like you suspect. (because whatever she is saying is bugging her)
Hugs, Darlene

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Hey Darlene,
As I continue to read your posts, I’m in awe really. Always. You recovery is amazing and encouraging.

I wonder what you think about hypnosis? I have some memories returning and they are unpleasant. In the post above you mention facing the truth and I do believe that is the way, but because I left my body so often I have years worth of blanks spots. With the return of memories I’m inclined to believe there’s a lot more that I need to face but I don’t have the recall yet. My preference would be to not drag this out for years. I’ve been doing a lot of work around these old trauma issues lately and it’s been so freaking hard!Yet, I’m dedicated because women like you give me hope that all the nasty lower dark energy can be healed.
Peace & Love, Kim

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Hi Kim
I don’t know much about hypnosis as a tool for memory loss. I have never done it. I do not have all my memories ~ what I believe is that the memories are not a real key to recovery. I have two thoughts actually; One is the one I just mentioned and the second one is that the mind will give you the memories or whatever else you need, at the right time. In my case, I only looked at three memories, before I was well on my way to recovery. What I did differently was to look at what I believed “because” of the abuse or mistreatment. I had to look at what I believed about myself. Usually it was coloured through the grid of protecting someone else such as my mother. I felt so sorry for her that I could not blame her for what happened to me. In other words I excused her instead of placing the responsibility on her but I could not get to the whole truth that way. And it isn’t about blame anyway ~ it is about truth. MY truth. I don’t have to mix my mothers truth into it anymore. So the key is in the belief system. I hope that helps.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi everyone!!
I know this is an older post, but in reading it, I’ve wondered myself why I couldn’t just hit the forgiveness button and be done with it. I’ve always thought I had a defect in that I wasn’t born with that ability. I am able to forgive, but it takes some time for me. Recently, I’ve thought a lot about why I struggle with immediate forgiveness, even in the face of a heartfelt apology. I believe it’s partly due to the message that’s been sent with the offense, which is always, “you’re not good enough”. That message sinks straight to my core and I have a really tough time handling it. Just recently, I was thinking about all the Christian people I know; well intended people who might say, forgiveness is the key to freedom. I still don’t have the ability they are speaking of. Flip a switch and all is well. With respect to their Christian beliefs I started to think about what the bible actually says about forgiveness. Of course, God suggests we forgive one another. BUT, the real revelation came when I thought of the verse that states, “the truth shall set you free, and you shall be free indeed”. I don’t remember ever seeing a verse that says forgiveness shall set you free. Only truth. Anyhow, I’ve held onto that for a few days now. Letting it sink in and hopefully it will have a bearing on my next steps regarding my family.
Mimi

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Great points Mimi!
Thanks for sharing! I agree… only the truth will set you free… AND only the truth DID set me free.
Hugs, Darlene

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I too have struggled with forgiveness. My definition was what I learned from my Family- “get over it” and “don’t hold a grudge”. I now realize, that I was holding back for a reason. The people who did the damage deny they caused harm, won’t talk about it & there are no apologies! How can I forgive someone, if they don’t admit the truth.
It’s sending a message, that their behavior was ok and my feelings don’t matter.

They don’t even try to work it out, even when they know how I feel. That sends me a message that they don’t really care about ME or having a relationship. So with that being said, I don’t have the desire to forgive. I came to this conclusion recently, that only GOD can truly forgive. Only He knows what’s in their hearts. My healing is based on facing MY Truth! There is a difference between making mistakes & inflicting repeated harm.

I hope this makes sense. After writing this, I doubt myself about whether this is true or not. I get confused about people’s intentions based on my experiences. Darlene, Can you clarify this?…Is this part of the process in healing?…I’m questioning so much, at this point in my life. Sincerely, SMD

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My abuser DID admit to what he did and did ask for my forgiveness, and I said that was an unfair request and that he can only seek forgiveness from his god (I am not personally religious). I can’t even picture a time in my life when I will be able to “forgive”, by any definition of that word.

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Rebecca
Welcome to emerging from broken
Forgiveness is your choice. Even the way you understand the word is your choice. Thank you for sharing
hugs, Darlene

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Pam
Your story about your parents and religion and use the Biblical quotes just to punish me or get in gilt are so similar. I have confronted my parents. That was shock to them of course….Jesus give us new Life why you come back to old dirt. etc. My father deny he sexually abused me a few times and my mother said I should forgive.
Derlene
Thank you and Amen Amen Amen. 30 years forgiving just only stopped me from healing!!!!! Abusers were never questioned !!! they were my PARENTS !!! and all that biblical quotes about respect etc. I was not allowed to have own voice, and show the true. Now after confrontation they pray for a mercy of forgiveness to me in meaning…”if you will do it right we can have back lovely life as we always had and all was fine – to them !!! When crimes was cover!! NOT FOR ME.
Getting stronger by giving right to myself to not contact then and not be a part of that huge illusion any more.

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Meerkat
That is exactly what I am talking about; WHY do people think that we need to just forgive without ever addressing the crime that in fact has been done! The bible doesn’t say this is the way to have relationship at all!
Thanks for sharing! Hugs, Darlene

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I published a new post on this subject of Forgiveness with a focus on how devaluing and abusive it is to suggest forgiveness even before the victim has been heard OR validated ~
http://emergingfrombroken.com/forgiveness-and-child-abuse-when-suggesting-forgiveness-is-abusive/
Hugs, Darlene

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Dear Darlene –

Thank you SO much for breaking this down so honestly!! This is where I am in my life right now. About a year ago, I ended my relationship with my abusive mother and family indefinitely. I have felt nothing but relief and space and lack of anxiety in my life since, so I am 100% sure that this was the healthiest step to make in this healing process. However, my husband’s family cannot accept that and keep sending me information on “forgiveness” and “resentment”. They’ve never been in abusive situations and have no idea what they’re talking about, and I know that. I’ve recently decided to have healthy boundaries and ask them to respect my decision, read a collection of quotes I’ve put together (some from this page) to help them understand where I am, and not to ask me about it again until I am ready to move forward. Thank you for breaking the mold and helping us understand how to work through this as you have!!!

Love you Way,
Noelle

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Dear Darlene (continued) –

As I continue my research on this topic, I am shocked by how many Christians are SO sure that forgiveness comes down to a simple choice. It is SO much more complicated than that and you have taken that hole that so many people leave out and given some practical steps to forgive once and for all rather than a fake forgiveness that will only prolong the healing process!!! Thanks again.

Noelle

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Hi Noelle
Welcome to EFB
The words to say when people ‘fought me’ on my decisions became more clear with time. This is your choice and really it isn’t about forgiveness OR resentment. It is about mutual respect and love. (and if I had that from my family things would not be the way they are now. Good for YOU.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene, I wish I would have read this a couple of weeks ago.:0)Reading it helps me understand why choice is a word packed with pain for you and other survivors. I had the same beating up over my needing to forgive but it was never presented to me as a choice. I was just suposed to offer myself in complete sacrfice and shut up. It was presented to me as something I owed my parents and it included never even mentioning my ‘percieved’ wrong. Of course, a different standard was applied to me and there was no forgiving or forgetting anything I’d done but a kind of reluctant tolerance and control through disapproval. There have been four times in my life when I came to a major empass with my parents. The first was when I was fourteen and was raped. I was damaged goods(as I’d been taught girls who lost their virginity were) and I mindlessly, ran away, threw myself away, I wanted to disappear. The second time was when I was almost 16 and the creep convinced me to come live with him. The third was when my parents punished me by hurting my son in some way that I still don’t have full disclosure on. The fourth is that last time that I’ve described to you before. All four times, I was at the same crossroads. I was filled with pain and anger over their treatment of me and propelled into some kind of action that brought confrontation but the first three of these empasses were all eventually, settled in the same way. I took responsibility for everything and pretended they done nothing to hurt me. It was insane, being damaged by their abuse and also, excepting blame for it. This was forgivness as it was taught to me. The first time, I knuckled under because at 14 it became clear pretty fast that I had no way to care for myself. I was picked up and put in jail and I never wanted that to happen again. The second time, I thought I had an alternative and a way to have the things I needed to survive. I just didn’t know that what I would pay for that was a price much greater than any amount of money. I paid with myself and that really, wasn’t much different from what I had at home in the emotional sense. When the creeps got tired of me and threw me away, I managed to pull some things together but the drugs I used to numb my emotional pain, pulled me down, far down. So, I ended up crawling back home at 19. I was nearly, dead and had no place else left to go. They made a big deal out of their ‘graciousness’ in taking me back. Again, I forgave as they defined forgiveness. I took responsiblity for everything they’d done to me and not done for me and I even took responsibility for the creeps. I buried everything they were ashamed of deep inside of me, I ate it and as emotionally twisted inside and crippled as I was, I still managed to move forward. The third time, I ended up feeling sorry for my mom and was convinced by my sister to again, forgive as my parent’s define forgiveness. I did set some rigid boundaries around my children but none for myself. In all these major empasses, I had no true, definition of forgiveness and there was no choice for me in that definition but to offer myself in complete sacrifice. The fourth time was different because of the healing process I’d gone through. I had a very different understanding and concept of what true, forgiveness looked like. When they sided with my sexual abusers demanding I forgive them along with my parents(even though all wrong-doing was laid on me) (and also,forgive my sister since she sided with my parents)everything became so clear to me and this time I saw my choice. Either I would surrender myself again or leave all the crappy things they’d done to me in their lap and move forward and cease from trying to get anything from them. If they didn’t acknowledge what I required them to acknowledge, they could receive my forgiveness. Otherwise, I would move on into the future without them. I couldn’t have done that the other times because I wasn’t equipped to do so. I wasn’t a whole person, ready to walk independently, of them. I was still emotionally enmeshed in that system, in my own thinking, and couldn’t see myself as being forever seperate from them. The fourth time, I was a whole person, I could make that choice, because I was a whole person. Even if by some miracle, they should meet my requirements for relationship, I will remain a whole, individated person. I don’t fit the role they once assigned to me. Nothing can be the same because I’m not the same. I’m not an emotional cripple, anymore.

I probalby, would have gotten treated by Christians the same way you did if I hadn’t been so thoroughly, silenced. I know I’ve heard people say what you quoted. It was never directed personally, toward me.What they said bothered me but it wasn’t used on me, personally. I know there is no way for a person raised in an abusive family system to simply choose to forgive what has never been acknowledged but blamed on the victim and suddenly, be healed. Only a whole person can forgive in the way that Jesus forgave. He struggled with doing what He had to do too. It’s not a matter of simple choice. None of it is simple or easy. However, for me it was a matter of empowering choice tht liberated me from the main tool used against me that insured my parents of my compliance and silence.

I don’t think we disagree at all, Darlene. It’s the same process. We’re just two different people with simular but also, different experiences trying to describe the same product of healing. I call it closure because it is the end of the matter for me. All the unresolved issues have been resolved, within me whether or not my family ever deals with them and I’m confident in that. I couldn’t have skipped ahead and made a choice that made no sense to me and have been able to end the matter. It would have just been the same, repeating cycle because I wasn’t equipped to make any choice but only, meet their demand. It’s funny, but when I wrote the first letter to my parents, Jesus words of, “Leave the dead to bury the dead” popped into my mind. It made no sense to me then but when I forgave them and left them to deal with all the offenses they commited against me, I heard those words again and I understood, perfectly.

Anyway, I wish I would have read this earlier but maybe I wasn’t supposed to. I walk away from this with a very refined concept of what forgiving means for child abuse survivors. Thank you, Darlene.”0)

Love,
Pam

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Hi Pam
Those same words “let the dead bury their own dead” popped into my mind when I was agonizing over the whole thing about standing up to my mother and saying ‘no more’. Other vs. too ~ it was so fantastic for the fog to lift around the spiritual abuse that I had endured and the mis-taught bible vs. that were used against me.
Thanks for sharing Pam! There is freedom in all of this!
Hugs, Darlene

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Yes, there is freedom and peace. I don’t know how long I felt kind of miffed at God because it seemed there was nothing in the Bible about child abuse. Then it snapped one day that Jesus, Himself was my example to follow. Religion has enshrined bad behavior in a theological word, sin that people don’t understand anymore. Jesus died because of human abuse. All abused people suffer for the evil actions, committed by others, in their place. Jesus didn’t die because He couldn’t save Himself and He didn’t die to give people what they want, a cover for their evil behavior. He died because the suffering He went through was enough suffering and He left all those who live by the power abusing God and others gives them, with their abuse, to make their own choice in accepting what He suffered, acknkowledging they caused it by being abusive, and seeking to learn not to abuse. Then He picked His life up and began to live a life in which He’ll never suffer for the abuses of others again. You know, little sister, I see the spirit of the Lion of Judah in you.:0)I’m so glad to know that forgiving others doesn’t mean I have to be a martyr!lol! It’s wonderful…

Take care of your eyes.

Love you,
Pam

p.s. I hate it when people say, Jesus is the ONLY Way. He is the Way, the path to follow, the process that has the power to end human abuse.

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I have gotten that same confusion on forgiveness. I am like make up your mind can’t be both ways!! I was told to forgive that it doesn’t dust the issues under the rug and then I have it’s about dusting it under the rug to move on – all kinds of crap! We live in a society where we dust crap underneath the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist!!

Forgiving just doesn’t work for me because my tummy cringes hard and makes me even more bitter. Soon to be ex therapist told me that ‘I will always be bitter and angry if I don’t forgive and I can’t help you if you don’t forgive.’ How dirty that is to make your client forgive asap because we need to get it over with!

I was told how could I make up lies about my parents? What lies?!? The signs are right there especially when you’re a child, you don’t even wanna be around your parents because of the “extreme negativity,” constant screaming/yelling/berating, the crying from me, etc should tell a grown adult who is suppose to have common sense be able to sense what is wrong with a child.

People always wanted to shush, I always hated pretending things were fine at home but every time I opened my mouth; people would jump down my throat telling me you should never speak about your parents like that. I said no wonder victims are always left in the shadows still without a voice!

I am still bitter because I didn’t have a real childhood like some people had and I feel it isn’t fair for me to sit here and pretend that I did when I didn’t. So yea, that is why I am still bitter and I got bitter towards my boyfriend because he got stuff that I never/still don’t have. My parents never wanted us to have anything only to depend on them yet complain why aren’t I independent? Gee, your the problem!!

I don’t believe in forgiving if a person isn’t truly and has zero intentions of wanting forgiveness. My sister is 45, half sister is almost 50, and my brother is 41 yet my parents hate them – my brother is suppose to be the golden child, dad disowned him years ago and brother never wants anything to do with him.

You know, all teachings start out good and it just takes one person to screw it up and confuses everybody. I believe we can forgive people on certain things, but murder, rape, abuse, etc is not forgivable. I told people we know our parents aren’t gonna change, but you keep insisting they will and they won’t! I was told ‘you must have did something for your parents to do this to you guys.’ Who asks to be abused? (said this in another post on here) Who makes someone push a person down the stairs?!

That’s like telling a person ‘oh, you must’ve made that person kill your daughter/son/wife/etc?’ That’s an act of blame where you blame that particular person – whatever happen to sympathy? Doesn’t seem to exist! I agree how forgiveness is another way of being re-abused all over again as I have seen it myself with my situation. This blog my “therapist” would completely agree, never mind what those MHPs think not their lives anyway! My therapist said forgive your parents because of how they were raised – what?!!?!? She calls herself a mom?!?

I could never understand how the abuser never gets question and I questioned this hard to therapist and other people, man the looks I got with their mouths open and tails between their legs! lol I guess they never thought that hard in their lives. I mean it was tough, I kept looking at them like got an answer yet? I told therapist how come you’re not questioning the abusers? Why is it the victims always get the backlash of everything while you’re letting the abuser slip by? Ohh, she didn’t like that! She said it’s about your life not theirs I said in reality, it’s both of our lives how the hell do you think the problem exists?!?

I know my truth and acknowledged it at a very young age. My therapist you have this expectation of your parents and told her I do, I just want the “parental teachings” that I never got but some other person got from their lovely family – why do I have to do it on my own as an adult? I told her that is why in the past, I was seeking a mom and dad figure. I know how I feel about my parents, I sincerely hate them! There is no love loss, I never really loved my parents since I was a kid yet I have been told people ‘how could you say such things? All kids love their parents, you just don’t appreciate them but one day you will.’ The list goes on. What is there to appreciate when they took away your childhood and made you their slave?!? Again, nobody on this planet asked to be born.

I never want anything to do with my parents once I get a job and move out, they were just ATM machines to me. Yep, sounds very cold but it is the truth yet they’ve stolen from us and nobody ever says a word about that! My own therapist never questioned about my parents stealing from us other than the ‘oh, that’s shameful for them to do that,’ but felt I shouldn’t do it anymore. I said stealing should be stopped on both sides not one, all I saw in my sessions, most of them were just so one sided. Next Monday, will be the final day of my last session again.

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This is my new article about victim blaming~ “Victim blaming ~ when you are blamed for the core of your pain”.
[…] “malice” and that we should not air our dirty laundry in public. That is when we are directed to forgive the abuser or offender without ever having the offence validated in the first place. That is when we […]

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[…] “malice” and that we should not air our dirty laundry in public. That is when we are directed to forgive the abuser or offender without ever having the offence validated in the first place. That is when we […]

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Yes, this is a hot topic for many survivors. I recently was not only unfriended, but blocked from a friend’s facebook page, and the only reason I can think of is because I do not agree with the popular belief (which she is a promoter of) that a childhood sexual abuse survivor MUST “forgive” her/his abuser in order to heal. I never wrote my opinion about this on her page, but indicated this opinion only on my own personal page. I was very stunned and hurt by her behavior, as I have been a huge supporter of this person, and am still proud of her for her advocacy. I realize that we all have our own ways of healing, and I only state what is best for me, and on my own personal page. I am respectful of any way which a survivor chooses to heal.

I have absolutely no problem with never seeing the only living abuser in my family ever again, and have essentially removed him from my life. I no longer am angry and full of rage about what he stole from me in the past, and am trying to cope with other things that he is trying to do to us currently re: parental inheritance.

I have always had problems with the definition of the word “forgive”. Several dictionary synonyms for the word are: “pardon, excuse, exonerate, and absolve”. With these words in mind, I prefer to refer to the process as working through the anger, emotional healing, and other descriptive phrases which focus on my healing instead of concentrating on my abusers. Letting the abusers fade from my memory (after processing the traumas) is a crucial step for me.

You have explained the process of “letting go” in an excellent way. I agree with SO much that you wrote in this blog post. Folks don’t seem to realize how devaluing it can be to try and force a survivor to “forgive” their abuser in order to heal, and especially at the beginning of the survivor’s healing journey. Letting go of anger toward an abuser is (in my opinion) a spontaneous happening which occurs over time and through healing. It is not (in my opinion) a vocal statement to the abuser saying “I forgive you”.

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Hi Susa
YES. Love your comments. There is no healing for us when we concentrate on them! (and I realized that the reason I used to concentrate on them was because that is what I was taught to do in the grooming process!)
I don’t believe that forgiveness is even an issue when people don’t admit their crime or when they are not sincerely sorry for it. I am no longer full of anger or rage either, and I believe THAT is the result of the healing process. And that is my version of “forgiveness”.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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I continued respecting my grandmother and father, as I thought that was the best way in order to undo all of the hurting. IT WASN’T. They were still the same old selfish people who got a “free pass” from me everytime. A free pass that was constantly abused as much as they abused the person who distributed said pass. That’s where it hurts! I wasn’t forced to forgive, I chose to pretend that I got an apology from them, through the tiny bit of goodness I saw, and thus forgave them. But the many articles I have read here and commented on, has helped me realise that what I did was not the “best way.” It was from here that I realised that the anger towards the actions of the past and the present that I chose to put aside, still has a right to hold onto me. For the mind, still remembers what the heart has chosen to forget. There goes a saying that you shouldn’t always rely on your heart when it comes to love. That the mind to has an important role to play in all of this. That to me seems like the best option not just for family, but also in terms of the other faces of love.

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matt 5:22 but i say unto you that whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the fire… I have not read that scripture in all the bible translations but most of the newer versions such as niv and good news bible have omitted the “without cause” part,
that is suspicious because the niv bible is printed by zondervan publications and the satanic bible is printed by harpo publications and both companies are owned by the same man rupert murdock.

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my apologies, the verse i quoted was from king james version

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Hi Shane
Welcome to EFB ~ thank you for sharing this interesting information. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

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I was struggling with this a lot and then Maya Angelou died and they played an old interview with her on NPR. Somebody called in and asked her about forgiveness and she said- you always forgive the moment but people tell you who they are all the time and you should listen to them because they know themselves better than you do. Then it all made sense to me. I forgave them every time every day. It just hurts too much now to keep adding new things to forgive them for.

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I’m glad to see this article highlighted again.

Forgiveness was beyond confusing for me because I never stopped blaming myself for the things that happened to me. I couldn’t accept forgiveness because somewhere inside I believed I didn’t do anything wrong, just not enough to blame anybody else. I needed to recognize my innocence and someone else’s guilt FIRST. I’m not sure if I forgave some of the perpetrators of my abuse, but it seemed a non-issue by the time I figured out that I had nothing to be ashamed of.

Hobie

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Hi Hobie
This whole issue was huge for me. (and it is one of the most important healing issues for my clients as well.) I would say it is one of the top 5 KEYS to freedom!
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

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Hi H.
Welcome to Emerging from Broken and thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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