Thursday, January 27, 2022

Forgiveness Doesn't Excuse the Harm Done

Once you truly understand what forgiveness is, you can begin the process of healing. Healing from a destructive relationship requires forgiving the manipulative and destructive partner. I realize I played a role in my emotional abuse by letting it happen to me and not loving myself enough to stop it. So, I need to learn to forgive myself, as well.

Definition of Forgiveness ~The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley

"Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability.

Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life." 

For me, forgiveness is a big hurdle, especially because of my damaged psyche and soul from the emotional manipulation. With all the research creating my blog posts, and writing about what I am learning, helps me to heal my heart, mind, and soul. Forgiving doesn’t mean that I will overlook what happened or that the offender is blameless. Forgiveness is for me to make a conscious choice to release the negative emotions from my life. It helps to relieve the burden, pain and the stress from holding onto the resentment. Forgiving doesn't mean I condone what happened and isn't about making excuses for the offending person’s behavior or pretending it didn’t happen. Forgiveness means letting go of the anger and resentment so it can bring a peace to help me go on with my life.

Steps I am Working on to Forgive

Understanding the "Why" someone acts the way they do is an important first step in the forgiveness process. Why are they have certain defense mechanisms like aggression, depression, defensiveness, narcissism. Investigate what are they protecting? What are they afraid of?

Empathy - Seeing the situation from the other person's point of view. 

Journaling - Putting the emotions on paper gives them a place to live outside of yourself and your body. This validates your emotions by breathing life into them. 

Time - Be aware this is a process and you may need to revisit the process over and over. 
When you are hurt by someone you love and trust can cause anger, sadness and confusion. Dwelling on the hurtful situation can fill you with resentment. That resentment will turn into vengeance and hostility can take root. If you let the negative feelings to overtake the positive feelings, you might find yourself drowning in your own bitterness or sense of injustice.

Anger work is important to release the rage and blame in a primal way. There are many ways to do this. Go into nature to yell or scream. I do this in my Jeep. Cry. Hit something like your couch cushions. Take a boxing class. Allow yourself to be fully disappointed, sad or depressed. Talk about it with a friend or professional. Give yourself permission to thoroughly feel the emotions. 

The hurt could always be with me, but hopefully forgiveness will lessen the hold it has on me so I can move forward with my life. 



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