It’s okay not to forgive

If you’ve experienced trauma or neglect, you will understand when you hear someone say, you are supposed to forgive the perpetrator, but you’ve not quite got there.

We forgive because we’re guilt tripped into thinking we must. We’re afraid others may think we’re bad or unkind if we don’t, but not forgiving someone has nothing to do with us being bad or unkind, it’s not how that works.

Not everyone who goes through trauma or neglect will see that the perpetrator deserves forgiveness. We must understand and go with how we feel, not go with something because it makes the other person feel better.

When it comes to family, we keep the peace because it’s easier, but appeasing family doesn’t change the deed, nor does it mend a broken relationship. When we learn to acknowledge the most negative and darkest of feelings, those feelings, will always feel easier.

We must recognise and understand the motives behind the deed and use those as a way to release how we feel about the perpetrator. To forgive is to excuse the deed. Experiences show that some deeds are simply not excusable.

But it is our understanding of abuse that unburdens us. I don’t feel burdened, I feel empowered that I’ve come through the other end to tell my story in a way that allows me the freedom to choose whether I forgive.

The perpetrator doesn’t usually stop the abuse, it’s the circumstances that changes that stops the abuse. It’s absolutely okay not to forgive. You also don’t have to forgive to move on.


10 Aug, 2019

2 thoughts on “It’s okay not to forgive

  1. I completely agree that its okay not to forgive. For some people, forgiveness is the only way to move on, but I don’t believe it is mandatory.

    It depends on the person and how they cope. Sometimes finding a place for the hurt is enough.

    1. Yes, there are a few issues here. It boils down to the deed and how long that deed has been allowed to continue. I also think it depends on the person and how wilful that person was in implementing the deed.

      It’s harder to forgive someone when you know they don’t deserve forgiveness. Those who do forgive, tend to believe in something greater than themselves, and take the deed out of the equation altogether.

      I work differently. I weigh everything up, including the person behind the deed so that I’m looking at the bigger picture from every angle and that helps me decide.

      It’s not about forgiveness. You can forgive and still not find peace. It’s about understanding and making an informed choice from your understanding.

      Once you’ve made your decision, if you decide not to forgive it’s something you can quite happily live with.

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