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Rape and Abuse If you or someone you know is being abused in any way and you need support or advice, don't hesitate to reach out to us here.

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Forgiveness - July 14th 2017, 04:03 PM

I am not sure if this goes here but the topic relates to abuse.

I am part of a group on facebook and many of the users seem quite obsessed with the concept of forgiving your abusers as being the only way to heal. I replied to one post and said that I don't think forgiveness is necessary for every person who is trying to heal. I explained that I haven't forgiven my abuser but I have been able to move forward and heal because I let go of my resentment and anger towards them. I don't obsess over them nearly as much as I used too etc. The person came back and told me that if I didn't forgive it would lead to bitterness.

This angers me for a number of reasons because the person is essentially invalidating my experiences and the way I have chosen to heal and the things that have worked for me. But, I also find this type of belief, that you absolutely have to forgive to get better harmful.

I think forgiveness for some allows them to let go of their anger and resentment but it doesn't work for everyone in that way. And, I essentially explained that, I said that healing is different for pretty much every trauma survivor. They might experience some simialarities but at the end of the day one persons experience is going to be different from another.

What I am asking is, am I wrong? Do I have to forgive to move forward? I have talked to both my doctors about it in the past when I was trying to figure out how to heal and what I needed. They both told me that for some forgiveness works and for others it does not.


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Re: Forgiveness - July 14th 2017, 09:51 PM

I think it's wrong of anyone to assume that what works for them will absolutely work for another person. Forgiveness is something which, for some people, I would imagine is really useful, however it's understandable that for other people it's not something that would be helpful. I don't think you were wrong to explain your views to people as there could be others, like you, in that group who are disturbed and uncomfortable by the prospect that forgiveness is entirely necessary to move on from trauma. By expressing a different view point it could help another person feel more satisfied in their response and attempts to move on if they can't forgive a person for what they have done.

I really think that if you are working on moving forward at the moment in a way which is proving successful, then you're not wrong at all. Don't let other people make you feel like you should be coping and working on this in a different way. Move forward in the healthiest and best way for you and you alone. Seeing other people survive in different ways is great as long as it works for them, but it's important to think of yourself too, so don't ever make yourself uncomfortable just because other people think you're doing it wrong.

I hope you're ok. <3


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Re: Forgiveness - July 15th 2017, 08:00 AM

I know the topic of "forgiveness" is in various daily reader books such as AA's "The Courage to Change" and Family Anonymous red book (I forget the title) and "The Language of Letting Go", all of which I don't have copies of, but I recall looking in the index, and flipping to those pages on "forgiveness", and as I recall it said their idea of "forgiveness" is what you say, letting go of resentment and anger, because that's how you release them from having power over you to make you miserable. (Some would say you're actually making yourself miserable, since they aren't even around anymore, and you're just thinking about the past.) At least that's what I remember.

I remember one page said "forgiveness" wasn't a "gift" you gave to someone else, as in "here I'm giving you this gift of forgiveness," (unfortunately I don't remember the rest. I'm sure it was something profound, or at least good enough to ponder on for a day.)

I've always been a bit curious just what "forgiveness" was, as the old fashioned "gift" of forgiveness being something you give to someone else, like a pardon, something you give to them, releasing them, puts the focus on them, when probably it's more releasing them but for your own benefit, so they don't have power over you anymore to make you miserable.

I think it's more semantics. Sounds like you've done well so far. You let go of resentment and anger, so you no longer obsess over them, and some people would call that forgiveness, and others would not call that forgiveness, depending on what they think forgiveness is. It's just a word. I'm glad you are healing and moving on.

The abuser has his own problems. It's not your job to heal him, if that's what "forgiveness" means. We can heal ourselves; others we can only release with compassion and understanding.
   
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Re: Forgiveness - July 16th 2017, 01:45 PM

You're not wrong; you don't have to forgive to move forward. You have to do what it best for you and you certainly don't have to forgive if you don't want to. If forgiveness works for some people, that is nice but abuse is so varied; it's not one size fits all and it must have been difficult to feel like your experiences were invalidated.

Keep doing what's best for you. You can continue to move forward in your own time, at your own pace, with or without forgiveness.


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