Forgiveness does not justify what the abuser did.
Forgiveness is not for the abuser but for the self.
Forgiveness is a process of releasing the wounds.
When you forgive someone because you should, when you feel you have to forgive someone otherwise you will not heal, then it isn’t really forgiveness.
Quoting Fiona Mc Callion, http://www.coerdelionreikieft.co.uk/index.html, ( with her permission):
People often think that forgiveness means making what “they” did ok. It doesn’t mean that. What “they” did is not ok and can’t be made to be so. Making it ok is collusion, not forgiveness.
Forgiveness is about releasing the emotion around the events, putting down the burden of all those negative emotions and leaving them in the past, where they belong. It’s about choosing to be in control of one’s own life, rather than letting “them” continue to control every aspect of it. Forgiveness is a gift to the self, rather than the other. An untying of those destructive bonds forged in emotional pain.
A choice, if you like, to be happy.
Put in this perspective, the choice to exclude that person (or persons) from one’s life is an obvious positive one. Exclusion is not punishment, but a choice to move on.
However, forgiveness is not an easy choice. It is a difficult process. In my opinion, even if you can’t forgive, try to just focus on letting go – that itself is a huge step towards healing. There are many methods in energy psychology that can help you process the difficult feelings. Letting go of the feelings attached to the traumatic experience is very important. Jeff brown spoke about this very eloquently in a post – that we don’t have to forgive to heal. We can heal without forgiving. I am quoting it here:
Forgiveness is not a concept. It’s a process. And, if you choose not to forgive at the end of that process, you are not a bad human. No-forgive and forget, works too. It’s okay to not forgive in certain situations. It doesn’t mean you are not spiritual. It doesn’t mean that you are unresolved. It doesn’t mean you will come back in the next lifetime to live it out again. The assumption that forgiving the abuser is the benchmark of a completed emotional and karmic process is the mistake. It’s another way the New Cage movement insensitively vilifies the victim. The real benchmark of resolution is whether we have gone through our emotional process authentically and have arrived at a place where the negative charge around the experience has dissipated. Perhaps we learned some lesson, or perhaps we just feel liberated from the memories—the important thing is that we feel at peace again. Focusing on our responsibility to forgive a wrongdoer sidetracks the whole process. If it’s there, it’s there. If it’s not, it’s not. Just because you don’t choose to forgive doesn’t mean you haven’t let go yet. Maybe you realize forgiveness is not essential to your healing, and not your responsibility. Some of us actually heal and choose not to forgive. Imagine that. (~an excerpt from ‘Spiritual Graffiti’)
Jeff Brown’s Page: https://www.facebook.com/SOULSHAPING/
You can read earlier posts on “When the abuser is a Family Member”
Part 1: Setting healthy boundaries without judging oneself and feeling guilty is one of the toughest challenges for an abuse survivor. Children in abusive environments develop this feeling that they are bad and it is their fault that they are being abused; they cannot fathom that their caretakers are the wrong party. They develop protective coping mechanisms to preserve their sanity and their sense of trust in their caretakers, to survive. Read the full article here
Part 2: If you have been through sexual abuse in your childhood, and are on a healing path , the decision to boycott your abuser, ban him/her from your life is often the toughest one to take, especially if the abuser is a parent or a close family member who you might still be in touch with. In order to feel empowered some decisions and choices have to be made. Confronting the abuser and telling him/her that he/she was wrong can be a life changing event. If that isn’t possible, then deciding not to be in touch with him/her, can really make a huge difference in your healing journey, especially if the abuser shows no signs of remorse or repentance ( which they rarely do). Read the full article here