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AIBU?

To think forgiveness is not always necessary in order to fully heal?

108 replies

CoachGary · 16/10/2022 20:33

I'm getting a litte tired of seeing this narrative that you have to forgive in order to move on and heal.

Some things can't be forgiven, and that's OK too IMO.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

166 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
8%
You are NOT being unreasonable
92%
Supercal00 · 16/10/2022 20:38

I agree, I have moved on from things I would not forgive but I have been able to get on with my life. I think it’s a high expectation to forgive everything in order to move on unless you change your life. It’s all about boundaries, tolerance and choices.

Chicaontour · 16/10/2022 20:53

100% agree with you, why should someone be compelled to forgive abusive parents when they don't recognize what they did? why should someone forgive a rapist, lots more why's. If forgiveness helps the person then that's the right thing for them but something's are beyond forgiveness.

MrsGluck · 16/10/2022 20:54

I could really only forgive someone who is sorry about what they have done. If the person concerned doesn't think they have done anything wrong, thinks it's not their fault or doesn't take responsibility in any way, why should I forgive them?

InsertPunHere · 16/10/2022 21:01

It depends. Sometimes your resentment or grudge stops you moving past things.

Other times you need to ignore the person who hurt you and move on.

Pallisers · 16/10/2022 21:04

I agree. My sister hurt me very very badly. Then wanted us to become friendly again. I did "forgive" her (can you forgive someone who never says sorry?) because all the other weight of our lives together and our shared childhood, and her kindness and goodness in other ways outweighed the hurt. So theoretically I
forgave her. Except that isn't what I felt I was doing. I was simply deciding my hurt was worth less than our relationship and motored on. I still think she was wrong and I am still hurt on some level but I just moved on and made a decision to have her in my life.

My friend was sexually abused by a sibling. She has moved on perfectly well even though she has no contact with him and will never "forgive" him or want to see him again. What on earth would "forgiveness" bring to her life?

IcanandIwill · 16/10/2022 21:06

I could not agree more!

XenoBitch · 16/10/2022 21:07

A friend told me it is better to 'remember and recover', rather than 'forgive and forget'

Forget and recover would be even better.

DarkNecessities · 16/10/2022 21:09

I completely and absolutely agree @CoachGary and have been saying this for years!

Snugglemonkey · 16/10/2022 21:10

Sometimes people are being eaten up with burning resentment that is hurting themselves. That needs resolving I feel. Forgiveness is different though and I agree that it is not necessary. You can let go of something and move on without having forgiven.

ThisShipIsSinking · 16/10/2022 21:14

There's also another saying that "Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
Hatred and bitterness affects you, not them, forgiveness is an act of self love and empowerment, don't give them that power.

SnoozyLucy7 · 16/10/2022 21:14

I agree. Forgiveness is often over rated and non deserved. The biggest gripe for me has always been that I was told that you must always forgive family, because they are family, no matter what, no matter what has been done, because blood is thicker than water bullshit nonsense. This has caused so much pain and generational trauma, because constant cycles of abuse have been constantly forgiven. It’s so messed up. And the abusers take advantage because they know they will be forgiven.

Forgiveness can be insidious.

daisychain01 · 16/10/2022 21:19

CoachGary · 16/10/2022 20:33

I'm getting a litte tired of seeing this narrative that you have to forgive in order to move on and heal.

Some things can't be forgiven, and that's OK too IMO.

its very personal, it's whatever gets you through.

my definition of healing is when whatever it is no longer invades your every waking thought. You can give it a passing thought but it isn't upsetting.

Whether or not there is "forgiveness" involved is neither here nor there.

SpiritBruisedNeverBroken · 16/10/2022 21:19

I read somewhere 'better it is to be happy and forget than to remember and be sad'. I think being happy and forgetting involves some forgiving, but that's easier said than done sometimes.

NeverDropYourMooncup · 16/10/2022 21:37

ThisShipIsSinking · 16/10/2022 21:14

There's also another saying that "Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
Hatred and bitterness affects you, not them, forgiveness is an act of self love and empowerment, don't give them that power.

Bollocks.


Nasty bastards have done horrible things to me. Wasn't my fault, not about to give them the power to ruin the rest of my life, though. They'd love that.

I'm certainly not going to replace my utter contempt for their despicable natures and behaviour by saying 'oh, it's ok, I forgive you'. Fuck off do I forgive anybody.

It's not my responsibility to offer them redemption out of some twisted logic that I'll feel better about myself if I accept it's okay for them to have done it to me - especially when they neither want or need my forgiveness, as they want what they have done to ruin every scrap of my future (one is eternally disappointed that I had no desire whatsoever to end my life, for example, despite his best efforts to, in his words 'completely destroy you until you put an end to your pathetic little life' - long may he ruminate upon his abject failure in that regard).

I'm fine with myself. I'm not the abusive prick. I'm certainly not bitter. Bitter would suggest they had more power than they thought they did. All that happened was nasty bastard was nasty - not my fault, I survived, this pisses them off immensely. Good.


Even religions require the person to genuinely regret what they have done before they receive absolution - and that's from a being considerably above my paygrade. The most some people can regret honestly is that they regret failing or being caught. And if a theoretical being won't forgive them in those circumstances, I'm definitely not going to try and second guess that.

StoneofDestiny · 16/10/2022 21:43

I've moved on from a serious injustice but I'd not say I've forgiven the offender. I've chosen to box the matter off to move on with my life without the offensive person in it. To dwell upon the offender would give them head space and importance they don't deserve.
Its taken a long time to be able to do it though.

Whiskeypowers · 16/10/2022 21:56

ThisShipIsSinking · 16/10/2022 21:14

There's also another saying that "Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
Hatred and bitterness affects you, not them, forgiveness is an act of self love and empowerment, don't give them that power.

Forgiving someone is an act of self love?

chosing to forgive myself for not forgiving the person that had trashed my life has led to my beginning some sort of recovery from what they have done. It has been an enormous step in the right direction in terms of my self care.

Understanding that I am allowed to feel this has made me truly realise that they don’t have any hold over me anymore.

refusing to forgive doesn’t always mean they have power over you anymore

AcrossthePond55 · 16/10/2022 21:58

NeverDropYourMooncup · 16/10/2022 21:37

Bollocks.


Nasty bastards have done horrible things to me. Wasn't my fault, not about to give them the power to ruin the rest of my life, though. They'd love that.

I'm certainly not going to replace my utter contempt for their despicable natures and behaviour by saying 'oh, it's ok, I forgive you'. Fuck off do I forgive anybody.

It's not my responsibility to offer them redemption out of some twisted logic that I'll feel better about myself if I accept it's okay for them to have done it to me - especially when they neither want or need my forgiveness, as they want what they have done to ruin every scrap of my future (one is eternally disappointed that I had no desire whatsoever to end my life, for example, despite his best efforts to, in his words 'completely destroy you until you put an end to your pathetic little life' - long may he ruminate upon his abject failure in that regard).

I'm fine with myself. I'm not the abusive prick. I'm certainly not bitter. Bitter would suggest they had more power than they thought they did. All that happened was nasty bastard was nasty - not my fault, I survived, this pisses them off immensely. Good.


Even religions require the person to genuinely regret what they have done before they receive absolution - and that's from a being considerably above my paygrade. The most some people can regret honestly is that they regret failing or being caught. And if a theoretical being won't forgive them in those circumstances, I'm definitely not going to try and second guess that.

Sing it, Sister!!!

I often find that the people who preach that you 'must forgive to move on' are the ones who are seeking that forgiveness for themselves.

There are some people that I will NEVER forgive and those people are no longer in my life. As a general rule they never even cross my mind. I wouldn't go out of my way to confront them or do them harm, but if I saw them on fire I wouldn't piss on them to put them out.

Each of us must deal with life's traumas/bad people in our own way. I don't criticize anyone who feels they need to 'forgive their trespassers' in order to have peace in their lives. But they need to afford us the same courtesy in NOT forgiving.

EmmaH2022 · 16/10/2022 21:59

I agree. As Taylor Swift says 😂 you don't have to forgive or forget in order to move on. You just move on, you can do it without either of those things.

Pallisers · 16/10/2022 22:00

"Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

seriously? how trite. What is a woman who was abused at a child by her brother or father or uncle supposed to do? NOT hold a grudge? grudge is too small a word for it. What even is forgiveness in that context? Moving on and giving as little headspace to the person is one thing. being told you shouldn't hold a grudge or should forgive is another.

mamabear715 · 16/10/2022 22:01

I don't need to forgive. That would mean I had to THINK about them!
They are measly little specks in the cosmos. I expect karma to get them, but really don't care either way, I have a life to live. :-)

milkyaqua · 16/10/2022 22:02

Premature forgiveness in fact prevents healing.

FayeGovan · 16/10/2022 22:03

Forgiveness is a load of shite. Where did that notion come from, the bible? Might have known, religion is to blame for most of the crap going on in the world.

Redqueenheart · 16/10/2022 22:08

I agree.

I have no forgiveness for my toxic parents and the men who hurt me. They can burn in hell as far as I am concerned.

The only thing I want to make sure of is that I don't allow what they did to keep having a negative impact on my life.

I don't forget or forgive but I do manage to move on from the past.

Cw112 · 16/10/2022 22:10

I see forgiveness as something for myself rather than something that's deserved or required. For me to feel like I've moved on fully from something painful and to feel like it hasn't got the same power over me I personally aim to get to a place of forgiveness because I think holding on to negativity that someone has put on me is a drain on my emotion, energy and mental space and I refuse to give that to someone else or to a bad memory. I also think we have this idea that forgiveness is like a thing you do and then it's done, but I think it's very much a process that has to be done regularly especially for really deep painful hurts because it's natural to feel angry or have certain things trigger painful memories or to feel new grief over something at various points in life. So to me forgiveness is much more fluid than how we normally talk about it. I also don't believe in needing to forget to forgive, I can forgive something or someone but not want anything to do with that person ever again. But that's just me and I think it's different for everyone and noone has the right to tell someone how or when or if to forgive something and for me that's also part of taking accountability for hurting someone- you can say sorry but it doesn't mean the other person needs to accept the apology, forgive and move on. That's their choice to make. Which is why I think it's for the person themselves who has been hurt rather than for the other person at all which I think is why I can forgive even when I haven't had an apology or admission of responsibility, I don't necessarily need that from the other person.

Foolsandtheirmoney · 16/10/2022 22:10

I agree. The opposite of forgiveness isn't really holding a grudge either. I haven't forgiven my mother for the abuse she put me through growing up but I don't stew on it either. I rarely think of her tbh.

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