I think Roseanna’s story below is one many of us will find bits and pieces that feel familiar. I didn’t grab one quote to share because I think it’s a complicated read, which is what forgiveness really is in the face of abuse. It’s complicated. It’s also not 100% necessary either, despite what people and organizations may tell you.
Oftentimes, as in her case, the subtle pressure to “get along” is a façade for forgiveness, and is really about the person requesting it more than the survivor. They want you to forgive because that’s the key to moving on, and they really just want to move on. Sure, sometimes that is mixed with some legitimate concern about your ability to heal and move on, but it’s a murky pool of desires there.
Other times, it’s simply a religious dictate that we’ve heard so many times that we just assume it’s what is expected. Again, all too often, that is also about silence as much as it is forgiveness. They go hand in hand. How many times has someone told you that if you keep talking about it, that’s a sign that you haven’t truly forgiven? That’s a mandate to be silent. That’s not the way.
If you choose to forgive, know that it is your choice, including what forgiveness means to you. I’ve talked to many survivors who have made that choice, and how they define forgiveness isn’t always the same Know, however, that it absolutely does not mean you have to now be silent and never bring it up again, and know that people who desire your silence, are not your allies.
I will agree with Roseanna about that, it’s not about forgiveness, it’s about healing. If you think forgiveness will help in your healing, great. If you’re healing right now requires you to forgo forgiveness right now, also great. Those who wish to conflate the two are often not helping us heal.