Tag Archives: unforgiving

When People Claim Abusers Don’t Know What They’re Doing

I once saw a meme that basically said to forgive your parents no matter what they have done to you.  They were wounded from their childhood & didn’t know what they were doing to you because of that.  It’s up to you to break the cycle. 

I’ve noticed this mentality is pretty common, & not always with parents.  It can be said with an abusive spouse who was raised watching one parent abuse the other.  It also can be said of the mother in-law mistreats her daughter in-law.  Her mother in-law wasn’t good to her so clearly she must not know how to be a good mother in-law.

The problem with this is this is nothing more than an excuse.  It’s an apologist stand in favor of abusive people.  It is so wrong!

While yes, people whose parents abused them may not know how to be a good parent, but they at least know what not to do.  Those parents know that certain things a parent can do to a child hurt the child, because their parents did those things to them.  As a result, they shouldn’t do those same things to their children.

Many people who survive abuse in some way stop the cycle.  They recognize the behaviors they were subjected to were bad, so they don’t repeat the behaviors.  They try not to be like their abusers.  They probably will make mistakes but they recognize they did things wrong & change their behavior accordingly.  They also don’t act out of maliciousness.  People like this deserve mercy & understanding because at least they are trying.

There are others who aren’t so worthy of understanding. 

A parent who can watch their child cry because of something they have said or done without emotion & makes no changes to avoid hurting their child again is not innocent.

A parent who regularly criticizes their child, even to the point of brining the child to tears or causing that child to feel shame while offering no assistance in improving the problem being criticized is not making innocent mistakes.  That is someone who enjoys deliberately hurting their child.

A parent who laughs at their child or is obviously disgusted with this child also is someone who enjoys deliberately hurting their child by destroying their self esteem.

A parent who keeps their child from relationships with safe people is not protecting their child, nor are they innocent.  They are deliberately isolating their child so they can abuse that child.

A parent who controls their child & makes that child into what they want the child to be rather than allow the child to be the person God made them to be isn’t innocent either.  They are abusive.

While I do agree it is best to forgive abusers in the sense of releasing abusers from you having any expectation of making things up to their victims, I firmly believe that forgiving & forgetting abusive people because “they just don’t know better” when their actions say otherwise is a foolish move.  Doing so only allows abusers to continue to abuse without consequences.  That isn’t good for victims, because it means they will tolerate so much suffering.  It also isn’t good for abusers either, because it means they will continue in their unhealthy, abusive & even sinful behavior rather than having any chance to improve themselves.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Forgiveness & How It Relates To Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

The Bible has many wonderful verses about forgiveness.  They are scattered throughout both the Old & New Testaments

There is a slight problem with these verses though.  It isn’t even the verses, but how verses are quoted by some people.  I’ll give you an example from my own life.  Years ago, my father was in the hospital briefly.  I did most of the communicating with the medical staff.  Some of the care he received was terrible & I was angry about it.  I was also frustrated because as his daughter, there wasn’t much I could do on his behalf.  That was my mother’s job & she didn’t seem to want to do anything.  One of my father’s sisters called me one day after an especially frustrating time at the hospital.  Upon realizing I was angry, she scolded me for being angry.  Said I need to let this go & forgive the people who caused my anger & do it NOW.  While I did that eventually, that was the lowest priority in my life at that time.  My anger helped motivate me to push the staff to treat him better & to push my mother to do what she needed to do as well.  It was also reasonable to be angry in that situation, contrary to what my aunt seemed to think.  Scolding me for responding appropriately didn’t help & in fact, made the situation worse in a way because then I was also angry with her.

This sort of scenario happens often with people who have been abused when they tell Christians about it.  I heard early in my Christian walk that I needed to focus on forgiving my parents & ex husband.  In fact, one woman told me, “I don’t know what your problem is.  God says forgive so I just do it.”  Talk about shame inducing!

It also doesn’t help that many people think to forgive someone always means you “forgive & forget.”  That is often the worst thing a person can do!

Forgiveness Scriptures are a wonderful thing, but unfortunately many people misunderstand & misapply them.

For one thing, to forgive someone doesn’t necessarily mean “forgive & forget”.  It can, of course, but for small things only.  Your best friend forgets your birthday should be one of those, especially if that person has a lot going on in their life & this is the first time it’s happened.  Applied to those of us who have been abused however?  Forgiving & forgetting is a terrible mistake!  Doing so only sets yourself up for further abuse.  It also doesn’t give the other person consequences for their actions, so they continue with their bad behavior not only with you but with others as well.  This is obviously NOT a good thing!

Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily equal reconciliation.  It can, but it doesn’t have to mean that.  Regarding the narcissists in my life, I thought of forgiving them more like forgiving a debt.  When someone forgives a debt, that means they no longer expect the borrower to repay them what they owe.  In abusive relationships, the abuser does owe the victim at the very least an apology.  When you release the abuser from owing you that apology & whatever else they owe you, you have forgiven them.  You may still feel some anger towards them, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t forgiven them.  It means you released them from owing you anything for the suffering they caused.  In time, the anger will lessen, but it may not go away entirely.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing, because abuse should be something that stirs up anger in everyone!

Also, to truly forgive someone, you have to feel & process your emotions first.  Forgiveness can’t truly happen until you do that, I believe.  That process can take a long time sometimes, especially when a person has been abused.

Dear Reader, don’t let anyone shame you for not forgiving your abuser quickly enough.  I firmly believe that as long as you want to do that & are working on it, God isn’t angry with you.  He understands that you simply aren’t able to do it right this moment.  He will help you get there too.  All you need to do is ask for that help!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Truths About Forgiveness

Many people talk about forgiveness as if it means you resume a relationship as if nothing happened.  You also no longer feel any anger or hurt.  It’s as if a magic wand has wiped away all evidence that the painful event happened!  And, if this isn’t the case in your situation, clearly something is very wrong with you.

Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth!  Believing these lies has done a lot of emotional damage to victims of narcissistic abuse.  I want to share the truth about forgiveness in this post.

Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily equal reconciliation.  Some relationships have run their course & need to end for various reasons.  One example is when one person in the relationship is abusive & shows no interest in changing their ways.  Staying in a relationship with someone who abuses you simply makes no sense!  Even if the abuser is a spouse or family member, it’s best to leave the abuser behind.

Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that a relationship needs to continue exactly as it was.  When someone does something very bad to someone else, that bad behavior needs to stop.  Continuing the abusive behavior over & over is terrible for the victim & also the abuser.  The abuser learns that their behavior is perfectly acceptable.  Clearly this is NOT good for either party!

Forgiving someone is much like forgiving a debt.  If you lend someone money & they can’t pay you back, you can “forgive” their debt.  In other words, you don’t expect them to repay you & you don’t mention that they owe you.  That debt is a done deal.  When someone wrongs you, you can do something similar by not expecting them to try to make it up to you for what they have done.  Doing this really lifts a great deal of weight & stress from you!

Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily mean that you never feel anger or hurt about the incident again.  If you forgive someone as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, that does open the door to your anger & hurt diminishing or even disappearing in time.  Some abusive actions are so egregious though, that there may always be a degree of hurt or anger attached to the memory.  That doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven the person who hurt you.  It means that the action was really terrible.  Remember me sharing the story of when my mother threw me into a wall when I was 19?  I honestly have forgiven her for that.  Remembering the incident, however, still makes me cringe.  Sometimes it even makes my back hurt in the location she injured it.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t forgiven her, am holding onto bitterness or am not a good Christian.  It means that was a really bad action!

When it comes to the business of forgiving, I do my best immediately to decided to forgive.  Most likely there is nothing the person can do anyway to completely make it up to me for what they have done, so I mentally release them from that “debt” of sorts.

I also have found praying to be VERY helpful.  I ask God to help me forgive naturally, but also tell Him how I feel.  I say it was wrong of them to do or say whatever they did.  I cry or rant to get my feelings out & that helps so much.  He is never surprised or offended either.  He lets me say whatever I need to.

Journaling is also helpful.  I’ve learned that writing things down helps bring clarity to situations that speaking about them doesn’t.  There is something so helpful about seeing things in writing!

If you don’t journal, you still can get the benefits of writing.  Write letters you never send to the person who has hurt or abused you.  Let it all out in them, too.  Once you’re done, you can save the letter somewhere well hidden or you can dispose of it.  I used to burn mine.  It was like the anger & hurt went up in flames with the paper.  Strange, I know, but still very helpful.

You don’t have to live up to the impossibly high standards some folks have of forgiveness.  It’s unrealistic & unhealthy!  Remember these truths about forgiveness.. I believe they will help you!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Forgiveness Isn’t Easy, Especially Where Narcissists Are Concerned

Good morning, Dear Readers.  I hope this post finds you well today.

It’s been such a rough week here, first losing my sweet Georgie last Wednesday, then my dear aunt Sunday.  And, icing on the cake is that my mother is mad at me.  Yippie..  the only reason I can think of is either because I snapped at her recently during a conversation or because I didn’t call her on her birthday- I only sent a card.  (It was the day I lost Georgie- I was hurting too much to talk to anyone).

I realized she was mad on Sunday.  My husband, father & I were almost to my aunt’s home when my mother called my cell phone.  She said my cousin called & said my aunt passed away, so we shouldn’t bother coming.  When I spoke to my cousin later, he never mentioned saying that to her.  She also didn’t call me or send a birthday card yesterday.  She is using her favorite weapon- the silent treatment.  A common weapon of narcissists.  Funny thing though- I don’t know anyone who gets upset or feels bad when a narcissist stops speaking to them.  Personally, I enjoy it!  The timing works well for me, too.  I need some time to take care of myself & grieve my losses without any stupid, unnecessary drama.

Besides, I am angry with my mother right now.  When I was hanging out with my family Sunday, I was thinking how blessed I am.  They are wonderful people.  But, I didn’t even know they were until I was an adult.  As a child, my mother kept me close to her side at family gatherings.  I was barely allowed to speak to my paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins.  My mother despises her in-laws, & always has, so she didn’t let me interact with them.  Then, at age 17, my mother told me that my grandparents were ashamed of me.  It wasn’t long after, my now ex-husband said my mother was right, & that they didn’t care about me at all.  As a result, I stopped seeing my family completely for about 8 years. 

I did end up contacting my granddad 3 years before he died.  We quickly grew very close.  I also was blessed with growing close to other relatives for the first time.  I am extremely grateful for these relationships.  However, I still have trouble releasing the anger I feel about my mother keeping me from my family in the first place.  I don’t want to be mad anymore, but I just can’t seem to let it go, even though I’ve forgiven her for everything else.  Please pray for me.

Oh, a side note- Granddad told me nothing could be further from the truth.  He & Grandmom loved me a great deal…

I’m sorry this post isn’t inspirational or informative today.  I hope it at least let’s other children of narcissistic parents know you aren’t alone.  ❤

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism