“When we forgive, we set a prisoner free and discover
that the prisoner we set free is us.”
The prompting for this post was a discussion of sorts on my friend’s blog. http://www.morningpageswriter.wordpress.com Monsters of Our Childhood … last evening. I can’t remember all the comments but it was about finding forgiveness for those that have abused us in horrible ways as children or adults.
I never even thought about forgiving the people who had abused me, raped me, given me away, caused me pain…the list is endless. I was so filled with pain and disbelief in human nature that when someone said to me, “Someday, you will need to forgive them and move on,” I wanted to shoving their words down their throat. How could I possible forgive. I was handed over at birth with no name, no thought, no love. Handed over to live in a nursery probably not even held for who knows how long and then fostered by a middle-aged couple for two years as they waited for a boy, which was what they wanted. If a boy became available I would be “sent back”. They finally settled. She, not wanting children at all and he, wanting a boy to fish and hunt with.
They settled and I paid the price.
Forgive! Are you crazy? I’m given away only to be abused by strangers who didn’t want me in the first place.
Raped and nearly beaten to death, not once, but several times and you want me to forgive?
I could go on and on with the specifics which, now are just that…specifics. It doesn’t matter how much has been done to me, with me, around me anymore. I set out on a journey to heal and to heal I knew I would have to forgive and let go of the past. I know the exact moment it began.
The word is where we all get stuck, especially if you were indoctrinated as many of us were in religions where everything was our fault since we were born sinners anyway and meant to spend the rest of our lives atoning for our sins. We were taught/brainwashed to believe that we deserved everything we got or at least I was.
If I fell and scraped my knee, I deserved it. If I spent a night licking my wounds from words and hand mirrors, it was because i deserved it.
Of course, then when I was first raped at 16, in my head I could hear her words, “Well, look what you were wearing, you are a child of Satan. What do you expect.”
When I was critically ill in the hospital at 17, I could smell her breath as she leaned over droplets of spit landing on my face and said, “Go ahead and die. You weren’t meant to be born anyway. You don’t deserve to be here. You are dead to us.”
Forgive? You want ME to FORGIVE?
I wish someone had said to me years ago, “You don’t have to forgive. Forgiveness is for them. Letting go is for you. When you’ve expressed enough anger, enough sadness, enough fear, then you’ll be ready to think about letting go.”
If you remember nothing else, remember that.
The truth is that yes, forgiveness sets you free and yes, I did forgive and have compassion for her now.
Forgiveness is a form of realism. It doesn’t deny, minimize or justify what others have done to us nor the pain we have suffered because of it. What it does is encourage us to look squarely at those old wounds and see them for what they are. It allows us to see just how much energy we have wasted and how we have damaged ourselves by not forgiving.
Forgiveness is an internal process. There is no forcing it and it sure doesn’t come easy no matter what you call it. What it does do, is bring a great feeling of wellness and freedom.
Forgiveness/letting go means we no longer identify ourselves by our past injuries and injustices. We are no longer Victims. We can claim that right to stop hurting when we say we are tired of the pain and want to heal. At that moment, forgiveness/letting go becomes a possibility. We no longer want to punish those who hurt us, the pain from the past will no longer dictate how we live in the present, nor will it dictate our future.
Part of the healing is finding our own voices, speaking our truth, being vulnerable and courageous and writing blogs and books, speaking out loud our long-held secrets. Dig through this layer and you will rescue your heart.
This will be one of the most difficult parts of our journey only because our Ego doesn’t want to let go of the power that comes from being wronged.
Read that one again and again…
As long as we feel hurt and damaged we give ourselves the right to blame and judge. We are the Victims. Ego can point the finger and feel a certain power. The Ego has to be put on the shelf for this one. Forgiveness is an act of compassion but it doesn’t mean we forget. It just means that there’s no longer an emotional charge from remembering. It’s a gift to yourself.
You are worth having such a gift