Telling a survivor they need to forgive their abuser can be triggering. Telling a survivor they must forgive in order to heal can be paralyzing to some.
They take their power back and choose what is best for their healing journey. It does not have to be what you believe it should.
To not forgive, does not mean they carry around hate in their hearts. Many thrive and feel free just as someone who accepts forgiving as part of their journey.
Some people have the best intentions, but if you are trying to help a trauma victim, just realize not everyone has to heal the same, and forcing a belief or concept onto a trauma victim can be damaging.
Has anyone ever shared with you something that worked for them, but when you tried it, it did not work for you? It’s the same with healing. Not everyone heals the same, and they may have to heal traumas that you don’t understand.
I choose not to force this concept or word onto trauma victims. I do not shame them. I do not force them. I do not tell them they must forgive to heal. This is unhealthy, dangerous, can lead to more trauma, and stop them from moving forward in their healing.
It’s their healing journey. They can choose how to heal and what’s best for them. They are free to forgive or not to forgive.
To not forgive, does not mean they carry around hate in their hearts. Many thrive just as someone who accepts forgiving as part of their journey.
Some will change the meaning they have learned about forgiving, some will use other words, some will change the meaning others believe it should be, some choose to forgive later in their healing, and some choose not to forgive at all, and they still heal.
I’ve seen some use their justified anger to fuel them into making needed changes in the world so others do not have to suffer or can obtain justice. Some of them have forgiven and others have not.
If using forgiveness has helped you in your healing journey, that is wonderful, and that is okay too. Forgiveness is a part of many others’ healing, too. Just realize that it does not work for everyone.
In fact, it can keep them stuck in their healing and suffering for decades. Trauma victims do not all heal the same.
Nothing is wrong with sharing your story though! You can share how forgiveness helped you and what it means to you. Then allow them to choose if they accept it into their journey.
Many that had suffered for years will start to shift in a short amount of time in their healing by letting go of the shame or need to meet other’s expectations, opinions, or beliefs on what they should accept or not accept.
They take their power back and choose what is best for their healing journey.