Forgiving your abuser is by far the hardest and one of the last steps that you’ll take beginning your life after relational abuse. It is not a step that can be done early in the process, and should not be pushed on by family and/or friends. Everyone will come to this place of forgiveness in their own time.
Lies About Forgiving Your Abuser
When you’ve been in pain and buried yourself like most victims do, forgiveness is not anything you want to think about. You feel like if you forgive them that you’re saying that what they did wasn’t wrong, and maybe even saying that it was your fault. While these feelings are normal and completely understandable, that isn’t what forgiving your abuser means.
Truth About Forgiving Your Abuser
Forgiving your abuser releases their hold on you and your life. Letting go of all the anger, bitterness and resentment you’re carrying around frees you to move on.
Forgiving your abuser is what you must do in order to truly live after relational abuse.
You can’t ever get back what they took from your past, but you can take hold of your future and all the possibilities it has for you. In order to do this, you must leave them behind. You must forgive them for all of the pain, scars, and bad memories they gave you. You must forgive them for the time they stole from you. You must forgive them for it all.
Remember forgiveness doesn’t mean that things didn’t happen, that you’ll forget or that it won’t come back to you in memories later. Things did happen, you’ll never forget and at times your memories will return.
Forgiving Your Abuser Happens in Steps
Forgiveness happens in steps, you won’t be able to do it all at once. When you’re ready to look back over your past without stopping yourself, taking the time to remember it all. This is when you’ll know you’re ready to start the forgiving your abuser process.
You need to come to the place where you can look back and remember the pain, abuse and bad memories you have. Being able to “walk through” it in your mind will allow you to release it all by choosing to forgive for each painful, bad memory you recall.
This process is emotionally and mentally draining, and only the victim will know when she’s ready to take it on.
There will be times that a memory or a thought makes an appearance from the past. Each time this happens we must choose to release and forgive again. By doing so we are continuing to live our lives, free from an abusive hold, bitterness, and anger.
Choosing to forgive is not something we can take lightly, it is something we must do, but we must be at a place where we’re ready to do it. It is a difficult step, so it must be the right time in the healing process.
As I’ve stated before, only the victim knows when she will be ready to forgive her abuser. Family and friends? Give her time.
Forgiveness frees you.