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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.

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Am I being unreasonable?

166 votes. Final results.

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92%
2Rebecca · 16/10/2022 22:20

I agree that forgiveness isn't important if you can reduce bitterness and resentfulness without it. Some people just aren't very nice or nice people do horrible things some times. Forgiveness can be a way of seeing the person as imperfect but no longer really your problem but there are other ways of not letting whatever it was affect the rest of your life

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Joystir59 · 16/10/2022 22:23

Justice first

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2Rebecca · 16/10/2022 22:24

I also don't think you need to tell the other person you forgive them if you do.

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2Rebecca · 16/10/2022 22:27

Justice sounds as though you are still thinking a lot about it and the other person may view things differently or have no empathy so unless it's a problem needing lawyers seeking justice sounds as though you are still fixated on whatever it was and that is still the most important thing in your life.

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CoachGary · 16/10/2022 22:28

For some reason I wasn't expecting these types of replies, it's very encouraging actually. But I'm so sorry to hear about what you've all been through. People really do suck.

I've been told my whole life that forgiveness is good for the soul, that you can't truly ever move on of you don't forgive and all that bullshit but I've never bought it.

My ex SA'd me for years and isn't sorry about it so fuck forgiveness 🖕

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maddy68 · 16/10/2022 22:30

Forgiveness isn't a blanket emotion. It's how you come ti terms with something.

If it doesn't live in your head you have forgiven because you don't givw it time or energy and don't think about it so it isn't an issue

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Shodan · 16/10/2022 22:48

Forgiveness isn't something I'm inclined to afford my abuser. I think that to forgive him, he'd have to have at least acknowledged his crime and tried to make amends.

So no, I don't forgive him. There is no excuse for what he did.

But that doesn't mean I haven't 'let it go'. He plays no part in my life. I rarely think about him. He's nothing to me, and never will be again.

It took a long time for me to be at peace with what he did. Decades. I am now- but it's not forgiveness, in the way that I understand it.

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Babdoc · 16/10/2022 22:54

Repentance (genuine, not insincere apology) has to come before forgiveness. If your offender is unrepentant, then there is no reason to forgive them. As a PP commented, even God does not forgive the unrepentant sinner, though He immediately welcomes those who really are sorry.

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therubbiliser · 16/10/2022 23:05

I don’t forgive my brother who sexually abused me. I rarely think about him at all, he is a person from my past. I focus on trying to forgive the rest of my family for their absolutely shit reactions to finding out about the abuse. Much better use of my time even though I won’t be having a relationship with any of them ever again I know they have goodness in them unlike the paedophile who is rotten to the core. I want to forgive them because it will be freeing for me. They couldn’t give a shit whether I forgive them or not. They don’t believe their have done anything that would warrant forgiveness so it is completely for myself that I want to allow them their failings and move on.

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TheHighlandMoo · 16/10/2022 23:05

I hate when people say you need to forgive to fully heal. Such a load of bollox.
i forgive myself for the blame I attributed incorrectly. I forgive myself for the punishments I put myself through. I forgive myself for the shame I felt and still feel. I forgive myself for all of the ways I wasn’t there for me in the aftermath.
forgive the person who caused it? Not in a million lifetimes

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Snugglemonkey · 16/10/2022 23:07

CoachGary · 16/10/2022 22:28

For some reason I wasn't expecting these types of replies, it's very encouraging actually. But I'm so sorry to hear about what you've all been through. People really do suck.

I've been told my whole life that forgiveness is good for the soul, that you can't truly ever move on of you don't forgive and all that bullshit but I've never bought it.

My ex SA'd me for years and isn't sorry about it so fuck forgiveness 🖕

Fuck forgiveness indeed. How can you forgive when someone is not sorry? Some things are not forgivable. You absolutely can move on with no forgiveness.

The only forgiving I think is necessary is that to yourself, if you are giving yourself a hard time. Especially if the hard time is about choices you made that went wrong. We lack crystal balls and it is inevitable that some choices will not work. We also need to remember the position of the us that made the choice. They were doing it with less information than the us now judging ourselves. Self compassion is essential, but forgiveness for abusive fuckers, no way.

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Whiskeypowers · 16/10/2022 23:23

TheHighlandMoo · 16/10/2022 23:05

I hate when people say you need to forgive to fully heal. Such a load of bollox.
i forgive myself for the blame I attributed incorrectly. I forgive myself for the punishments I put myself through. I forgive myself for the shame I felt and still feel. I forgive myself for all of the ways I wasn’t there for me in the aftermath.
forgive the person who caused it? Not in a million lifetimes

a million times over
What you have written here resonates so deeply with me.
thank you for sharing it.

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SaintDominic · 16/10/2022 23:23

@Babdoc I like your answer. To forgive someone there has to be genuine repentance.

However forgiving is not forgetting or putting yourself in harms way or having anything to do with a person and/or situation that caused you harm.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean having to see anyone you have forgiven or not maintaining boundaries or physical distance. Forgiving doesn’t mean going back to the way things were in the past.

Its also not about anyone who caused problems or committed crimes not experiencing the natural and lawful consequences of their actions. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that justice should not be served.

It’s about letting go of the pain so you yourself can be free.

Noone is required to forgive anyone else, and nobody else should tell us how we should feel or respond to what has happened in the past.

Forgiving is not about having warm emotions or positive thoughts toward anyone, it’s going through a process so that you can emerge healthier and move on.

Its accepting that we cannot change anything about the past and not being consumed with anger because of it.

Forgiveness is not a requirement, it has to be freely given. Forgiveness can also be a long process over a long period of time.

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Whiskeypowers · 16/10/2022 23:27

Babdoc · 16/10/2022 22:54

Repentance (genuine, not insincere apology) has to come before forgiveness. If your offender is unrepentant, then there is no reason to forgive them. As a PP commented, even God does not forgive the unrepentant sinner, though He immediately welcomes those who really are sorry.

What their version of repentance is and mine are and always will be poles apart. Perhaps in another lifetime I might have been more open to such concepts but not now.

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IrisVersicolor · 16/10/2022 23:29

Forgiveness is a Christian concept. I say get mad, get even, then get over the whole thing.

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NeverDropYourMooncup · 17/10/2022 08:09

SaintDominic · 16/10/2022 23:23

@Babdoc I like your answer. To forgive someone there has to be genuine repentance.

However forgiving is not forgetting or putting yourself in harms way or having anything to do with a person and/or situation that caused you harm.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean having to see anyone you have forgiven or not maintaining boundaries or physical distance. Forgiving doesn’t mean going back to the way things were in the past.

Its also not about anyone who caused problems or committed crimes not experiencing the natural and lawful consequences of their actions. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that justice should not be served.

It’s about letting go of the pain so you yourself can be free.

Noone is required to forgive anyone else, and nobody else should tell us how we should feel or respond to what has happened in the past.

Forgiving is not about having warm emotions or positive thoughts toward anyone, it’s going through a process so that you can emerge healthier and move on.

Its accepting that we cannot change anything about the past and not being consumed with anger because of it.

Forgiveness is not a requirement, it has to be freely given. Forgiveness can also be a long process over a long period of time.

That is NOT forgiveness.

You are talking about acceptance there. Acceptance that it happened.

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Happylittlethoughts · 17/10/2022 08:26

Absolutely right !
The narrative of "forgiveness " puts responsibility back onto the person who has been hurt . They don't need to be made to feel bad because they can't forgive!
Toxic idea

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therubbiliser · 17/10/2022 08:38

NeverDropYourMooncup · 17/10/2022 08:09

That is NOT forgiveness.

You are talking about acceptance there. Acceptance that it happened.

That is exactly what forgiveness looks like in many circumstances @NeverDropYourMooncup.

To forgive an abuser, for example, doesn’t include reconciliation.

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silentpool · 17/10/2022 08:42

Some people don't deserve forgiveness and I don't see why the injured party is expected to offer it. Instead, I've moved to a point of indifference.

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Fromthedarkside · 17/10/2022 08:55

@FayeGovan Forgiveness is a load of shite. Where did that notion come from, the bible?
Some people misunderstand Christian forgiveness.

If we wrong a person, or commit a Sin against God the first thing we must do is own that. We put our hand up and take responsibility for our less-than-perfect behaviour. Then we try and make amends.
If we are genuinely remorseful then God will certainly forgive us. The person may or may not and that is their choice.

Consider Luke 17:3–4, where Jesus tells us, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Notice that Jesus says to forgive him if he repents, not regardless of whether he does so. Jesus also envisions the person coming back to you and admitting his wrong.
The upshot? If someone isn’t repentant, you don’t have to forgive them.

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Fromthedarkside · 17/10/2022 09:22

@therubbiliser To forgive an abuser, for example, doesn’t include reconciliation.

This ^

Forgiving someone doesn't mean pressing the reset button and going back to 'as you were'.
If someone breaks our trust, we'd be an idiot to trust them again until they had earned our trust back. That could be next month, next year or never.

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RudsyFarmer · 17/10/2022 09:27

I think acceptance of a situation is a better way of describing it. Forgiveness suggests there is no longer blame, for some that’s impossible to ascribe to.

I now accept many situations that hurt me because enough time has passed and it’s not as painful as it once was. I know I can’t change the past. I can forgive myself once I understand the part I had to play and I can accept the behaviour of the other party.

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daisychain01 · 17/10/2022 09:36

IrisVersicolor · 16/10/2022 23:29

Forgiveness is a Christian concept. I say get mad, get even, then get over the whole thing.

Just to put the record straight, all World religions teach the concept of forgiveness not just Christianity. Yom Kippur, the Jewish period of Atonement, centres on recognition of our own mistakes and the opportunity to seek forgiveness.

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Lordofmyflies · 17/10/2022 09:36

I think RudsyFarmer has hit the nail on the head. Acceptance is more important than forgiveness. I was assaulted by a friend's DH. I will never forgive them but I now accept that they are dysfunctional and toxic. This acceptance has validated my decisions going forward.

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magma32 · 17/10/2022 09:41

I agree forgiveness is over rated. The only way for many of us to heal is to seek therapy. Forgiveness isn’t some magic bullet that heals everything. It’s a religious concept which is very triggering for me as it puts the onus on the victim
to fix their shit, which often means somehow trying to minimise it to allow the forgiveness to happen and the perpetrator getting treated better because of it. It is not one that is based on research from what I’ve gathered. Far more effective ways to heal imo.

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