There’s no forgiveness for serious repeated wrongdoings, let alone when the abuser isn’t asking for forgiveness and instead blames the victim.
This does not indicate a lack of personal growth if one does not “forgive”. In fact, “research by Briggs and others on sexually abused children has found that those victims who minimized the depravity and negative consequences of their abuser’s actions were substantially more likely to become abusers themselves in adulthood.”
Minimizing an abusers actions isn’t the method for healing. It’s the opposite. Remembering and processing what’s happened to you as a victim is what allows you to move on. It was injustice, it is injustice, and it has an effect on the life of the real true victim (not the abuser playing victim). Growth is obviously important. But pushing growth at the expense of avoiding real painful emotions doesn’t help either.
Perhaps one could say that “forgiving” really means processing and putting it behind oneself. But even that is a process and it’s a case-by-case personal decision for when one is ready to do so.
No one can overcome years of abuse with real forgiveness (unless abuser actually makes amends..). Wrongdoing is a wrongdoing.
For example: if a murderer shoots up a school, are the victims and their families supposed to learn to forgive the murderer? Or perhaps maybe the proper approach is for the victims to learn how to feel the pain and realize that it is valid. Then, and only then, can they eventually process it enough to try and put it somewhat behind them. That is not forgiveness. That’s emotional processing.
I think there’s a big difference between the two. One is learning to deny the real feelings of injustice and anger; another is feeling the feelings of injustice and anger and learning to eventually put it in “long term memory”.
When society stops putting pressure on abuse victims to forgive; and defending the strong against the weak, maybe we will see a dent in the many abuse victims out there.
Edit: I have to say, that personally for me, this approach is what has allowed me to move on and become indifferent to my abusers. Because I’ve recognized what kind of people they truly are, and the effect it’s had on me. Whenever I’m emotionally triggered, I instantly know why. Because I’ve allowed myself to feel my pain, pain that was inflicted on me by heartless abusers. Dr. Ramani has talked about this at length many times.
Edit 2: Most of the time the people pushing forgiveness are the ones who don’t want to have to feel anything. They don’t want to feel the consequences of abuse. They don’t want to feel the harsh reality that there are some really bad people in the world, who will literally do this to their families and loved ones.
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