My mother had a best friend for almost her entire life. They met in school & apparently became inseparable, even when this friend’s family moved about halfway across the country. They kept in touch via letters & phone calls ever since. When my mother died, I knew I needed to let this lady know. I sent her a letter as soon as I found her mailing address.
Since that time, she & I became friends. We exchange letters pretty often. She is such a lovely woman with a kind, gentle heart. She’s also an animal lover, so I often share pictures with her of my cats & in particular, my parents’ cat, Molly.
Recently, I received a letter from this lovely lady. She commented on the pictures of my cats I’d shared with her not long ago. She referred to them as “my grandcats.” Her comment took me aback. Although it was very sweet, it also made me angry. Not at her, but at my parents.
Before my parents passed away, I had cats & dogs for years. I got my first cat shortly after moving out on my own when I was 19. During the years since, I gave my parents pictures, told them things about all of my furkids, kept them posted when they had health concerns & called crying when they passed away. I even signed cards “from the grandkids”. In return, they insulted or even tormented them. I spoke up as soon as I saw what was happening, but they quickly resumed abusing my furkids in similar ways to how they abused me.
Not once did my parents refer to my pets as the grandcats or granddogs. Having an almost total stranger be so kind & care so much about my furkids was heartwarming, but at the same time, it made me VERY angry with my parents.
This may sound silly to you. I have known about Narcissistic Personality Disorder since 2011, so clearly I am well aware narcissists are incapable of love. I also know they devalue anything important to their victims as a way to hurt them. So why get angry about this? It’s not a surprise. I also have dealt with this so it seems like that should mean that I have forgiven my parents. The damage has been done & it’s been dealt with right? Well, not necessarily…
Many of us who have been abused have been told repeatedly how we need to forgive the abusers. This often makes us feel as if once we have forgiven our abusers, nothing about them can make us angry anymore. This isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, the abuse can still make you angry & it should!
The reason it should is because abuse is wrong. It’s hurtful & incredibly damaging in so many ways. It causes so many problems. It’s also totally unfair. It is normal to be angry about those things. In fact, I think it’s a good thing to be angry about them! Not being angry means you have accepted abuse as something that is ok. It isn’t a big enough deal to warrant anger. How messed up is that?! Abuse NEVER should be something that doesn’t stir up anger! Quite the opposite. No matter who is the victim of abuse or how the victim was abused, people always should be angry about abuse.
If you think forgiving your abuser means you should never feel angry about things that were done to you, then you truly aren’t showing yourself enough compassion & understanding. You can forgive your abuser for what they have done while still feeling angry at the things they did to you, & you should! You didn’t deserve what they did to you! It should anger you that anyone thought you were a good target for their abusive behavior. Look again at my situation that I described earlier. Don’t you think I have the right to be angry when I was reminded of how nasty my parents were to my furkids? They knew my pets were like my children & still tried to hurt them to hurt me. How is that not despicable?
Anytime you have reminders of past trauma trigger anger in you, please remember that those reminders aren’t necessarily a sign you haven’t forgiven your abuser. Only you know if you have or haven’t forgiven, & that is between you & God. If you have forgiven though & still feel anger when reminded of abuse you endured, don’t be ashamed of it! It’s ok to be angry & even can be a good thing!