Trigger warning: sexual abuse, emotional and verbal abuse, suicidal thoughts, and bullying mentioned
Anyone who experiences trauma caused by someone else’s actions, whether it is severe bullying, sexual abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, so other horrific things don’t receive much compassion. In fact, the societal expectation is for those who experienced trauma caused by others to forgive them. Why? Because it will ‘free’ the victims. And those victims who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or CTPSD and are having suicidal thoughts are only having those struggles because they cannot forgive their abusers’. Well, no, it does not work that way, and it is hazardous to say otherwise. Telling victims of abuse they are suffering because they are unable to forgive their abusers is disgusting and one of the worst kinds of victim-shaming around.
It is one thing to forgive your best friend who accidentally dropped your favorite ceramic figurine. You may be mad at them for a while, but eventually, you can let it go because your friendship is more important than holding a grudge based on an accident. An accident that destroyed something you love, but it did not cause harm to you or a loved one. However, it is another thing to forgive someone who abused you or intentionally cause you or your loved one harm.
And what gets to me is that society expects victims to forgive those who caused you or a loved one so much pain that you or your loved one may not heal from – but at the same time, they excuse the offender or abuser. You end up hearing so much of this forgiveness crap from the woo-woo practitioners (who are the ones that also tell you that you are a sheep if you know we are in a pandemic instead of a ‘plandemic’ and you listen to doctors and scientists). Even your well-meaning friend may tell you to forgive an abuser that caused you or a loved one so much pain and worsened mental illnesses. That is because they have been brainwashed by the predatory positivity cult too. You hear them tell you the phrase ‘failing to forgive someone is no different from you drinking the poison and expecting that person to die‘ and I will tell you that phrase is total bullshit. Please tell them not to fall for it, and don’t you even think of believing any of it either.
Does this mean that it is really possible to move forward if you don’t forgive your abusers? Does that mean you can move forward if you keep holding onto the anger, hate, and resentments you feel towards those who harmed you or a loved one? Let’s talk about that more.
If You Don’t Need To Forgive Others Then Does That Mean You Are Okay To Hold Onto Grudges?
Okay, just because I said that forgiveness is bullshit (and I really hate that word) does not mean it is healthy to hold onto grudges either. I admit I am the Queen of Grudges, and I know I have to work on that. I am trying to, and some days are harder than others, but it is a journey that is not linear. Holding onto grudges is not healthy as they can consume your mind and life. Now, here is the thing. I have been going through a lot of anger issues lately because of having to face my inner demons. A lot of those were caused by those who did intentionally hurt me. You can say this is a side effect of facing lockdowns in the middle of winter. You are forced to stare at those demons in the face.
I do not recommend holding onto grudges because that will prevent you from moving forward and achieving much of anything if consumed with so much hate and resentment. Even if you have a good reason to hate who caused you so much distress, it is not good for you to hold onto grudges only for that reason. But that does not mean you must forgive them either unless you want to, and you really have to want to do that. Or else, forcing yourself to forgive someone that you cannot will mess you up further.
If Forgiveness Is Not Necessary, Then What Is The Solution For Moving Forward?
The best thing to do is to just not care about those who caused you, or a loved one harm regularly. That is what I want to do. And I have heard of many people successfully achieving that way of thinking. You want to get to a point where you don’t keep wishing them ill (even if they deserve it), but you will not wish them well either. You just won’t care about them one way or another. You don’t need to be compassionate towards them, which is something that woo-woo practitioners tell you too when you forgive someone.
Everyone is responsible for their actions unless they are mentally incapable of knowing what is right and wrong. If someone bullies you, they know damn well that they are bullying you. Do they deserve compassion because they live in an abusive household? No! They do not. Why? Because not everyone who lives with abuse bullies or purposely harms others. Bullies are often sociopaths, and they need to be locked up, in my opinion. The same goes for those who emotionally, verbally, or sexually abuses you.
It pains me to read up on how many people have been scapegoated by narcissistic parents sacrificing their lives to be their caregivers. The best thing to do is for these victims to ditch their narcissistic parents and leave them to their own devices, even if they are elderly and cannot care for themselves. My sympathies towards bullies and abusers are extremely limited. And I will not change how I feel even if I can tame my grudge-holding monstrous side. The objective is to not even think about them or care about them. Yes, you may be triggered when something comes up that will remind you of them. However, if so, the best thing would be to do to get pissed off, roll your eyes, and move on.
If an abuser or a bully has seen the light come up to you to apologize genuinely, should you forgive them? I would say that is completely up to you. If you feel you can, then by all means. However, if you can’t, then you don’t need to accept their apology. Whatever you do, just move on. Never accept them back into your life even if you do forgive them. In my experience, I have yet to see one person who has truly changed. Maybe people get ‘better,’ but their natures stick. And narcissists never change; sociopaths and psychopaths will always want to hurt you. Keep away from them.