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Sharing – Psychologist Explains Why Forgiveness Sometimes Does More Harm Than Good & You Don’t Owe It To Anyone

We haven’t talked about it here recently, but I know a lot of abuse survivors are bombarded with messages about forgiveness. Some of those messages are awful, such as demanding we forgive our family members for their benefit; some are more well-meaning but not helpful.

What we don’t hear often enough is that you can choose not to forgive, too. So, when I came across this article and saw this quote, I wanted to share it:

Talking about her own experience, Dr. Ramani explained that she has multiple people in her life that she doesn’t speak to anymore and is completely fine with not forgiving them.

“I don’t forgive them. I will never forgive them,” she said. “I will never forgive them because what they did, it changed my view of myself. I spent years crawling out from under that rubble. I still doubt myself. I still don’t feel safe in the world. They took away my safety. How do you forgive that?”

The most freeing thing for me was not to forgive, nor was it finding some closure with confrontation. It was moving beyond all of that and not caring about the people who abused me anymore.

I literally don’t care. I don’t hate them, and I don’t spend much time being angry at them; they are meaningless to me. Anything else wastes my emotional energy, and they’ve already taken up quite enough of that.

No, you don’t have to forgive to find your peace. You have to decide what role that person will play in your life and what boundaries you need to create to have a life in which they have no meaning. As the article describes, not everyone can get away from toxic people. You may be co-parenting with them, they may be family members you can’t help but see again, or they might live near you and be present in the community. None of that is a reason to forgive them if you don’t want to.

You control how you respond and interact with that person; they no longer get to do that. If you want to grant some form of forgiveness because you feel some religious duty, that’s your choice. It may not be the exact choice many of us make, and that’s OK.

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