Looking back, it seems silly, to pardon yourself for something that wasn’t our fault..but still, we carry the guilt as if we had done something wrong..yet we still find ourselves asking..how-to-forgive ourselves.
I spent 20 years carrying that guilt. How long have you been carrying it?
You don’t have to carry it you know. No matter what your circumstances were. No matter how your abuse happened.
You don’t have to punish yourself anymore. The punishment belongs with the person who took advantage of you! Not with you! The guilt, the shame, and all of the feelings of worthlessness all belong with the person who hurt you!
You don’t have to carry those feelings around anymore. They don’t belong to you. You have permission to give them away and take back your power.
If you need to know how-to-forgive, if we need forgiven for anything, it is for allowing ourselves to carry those negative feelings around with us for so long and not letting them go. It is time for the wounds inside to heal…and for you to move on with your life without the burden that you have been carrying like a bag of rocks on your back.
I had mentioned on the very first page of this site that when I was abused, it felt like someone had reached into my chest and ripped out my heart leaving a black hole which I tried to fill with anything and everything.
That is true, Well, when I finally pardoned myself, I found that what I really needed to fill that hole with was love. I couldn’t receive love until I forgave myself. After I learned how-to-forgive and forgave myself, I began to gain back my self esteem and along with that, my personal power! Knowing how-to-forgive begins with giving yourself permission to forgive yourself…and I will talk more about that.
I needed to forgive myself so that she could be at peace. And you know what? When I did forgive myself, I felt such a sense of peace in my soul that words can not even describe it. Along with the peace came a feeling of personal power.
No one else was controlling my life anymore! I, finally could control my own life! With that came such enormous freedom!
Forgiveness was the key to my new life..and I believe it is the key to yours. It can open the door to personal peace, joy, freedom and power.
Just like recovery, Forgiveness is a CHOICE, one that you deserve, dear one, you have suffered enough!
Now, when it comes to your abuser, the jury is out on that one. That is a controversial subject.
I had to forgive my abusers for MYSELF. For ME and only ME. Not everyone can or wants to do that and it is strictly a personal decision. Sometimes, at least for me, it is a daily decision.
The only way that I can explain how-to-forgive a sexual abuser is knowing it is not about them deserving it. It was more about me needing to let go of my anger towards them..which at one point was eating away at me. Anger and pain are so closely linked…so for ME, I HAD to forgive in order for me to live my life to the fullest. That said, again, it is not for everyone. Don’t let ANYONE judge you! There are many women out there who can not come to this point and I certainly understand that!
There is no easy answer as to how-to-forgive your abuser or abusers.Forgiveness can be extremely difficult…when it comes to someone who hurt you so deeply. It is always a CHOICE. The thing to remember, the choice to forgive is only for YOU! Your abuser could probably care less whether you do or not!
This decision is about YOU…and YOUR peace of mind and spirit. If you choose not to, that is your choice and don’t let anyone tell you that it is wrong! Only YOU know what is right in your spirit!
I do believe, with my whole heart, that you need to forgive yourself if you still feel any guilt, shame or other negative feelings about yourself. It is a decision and a process, like I said, sometimes a daily process.
If you need help with this, it is good to find a therapist or counselor to help you with it.
What is important is that you realize if any negative feelings are still dragging you down.
1. Decide that you are ready to put healing yourself above holding onto your pain.
While it might seem obvious that someone would choose healing over pain, it really is not that simple. When you choose to forgive, a part of yourself will scream, “But s/he deserves my hatred. S/He does not deserve to be forgiven.”
It is true that your abuser does not deserve forgiveness. However, you deserve to live a life free from the pain of the abuse. You also deserve to live a life that is no longer “tied” to your abuser. Until you decide to place healing yourself over holding onto your anger, you will not be ready to begin the process of forgiveness.
2. Stop thinking about your abuser.
I did not realize how frequently I thought about my mother/abuser until I chose to work on forgiving her. I thought about her all the time, and I would get angry. I was “wed” to my abuser because she filled my thoughts.
You choose what you think about in your own head, so you have the power to stop thinking about your abuser. It will be a challenge at first, but with practice, you will learn how to stop.
I did this by choosing to think about other things. Whenever my abuser would pop into my head, I would consciously choose not to dwell on the thought. Instead, I would put on my favorite CD, call a friend, or think about something that made me happy. As I channeled my mental energy toward things that made me feel good about myself, I stopped thinking about my abusers as frequently.
3. Process your anger.
Until you process your anger, you will be unable to stop thinking about your abuser. Do something physical to release your anger once and for all. Here are some things that have for worked for other abuser survivors:
•Beat the ground with a baseball bat.
•Take a kickboxing class.
•Throw things at the wall that won’t damage it.
•Visualize beating up your abuser.
•Write your abuser’s name on red balloons and pop them.
You can come up with your own way to process your anger. Doing something physical works best for most people. Make sure you “see” your abuser’s face as you process your anger.
4. Honor your other emotions.
As you experience grief, terror, or other emotions, honor them. Comfort yourself as you would a hurting child. I found a picture of myself as a little girl and would use it to see the wounded little girl inside. I did lots of visualizations of the adult me comforting the child me.
5. Focus on healing yourself.
As you work through the first four steps, you will find yourself freeing up a lot of energy. Use that energy to heal yourself. Do things that are good for you, like exercising or hanging out with friends. Make a conscious choice to spend your time, thoughts, and energy on things that make you feel good about yourself.
As you turn your focus away from the past and turn it onto who you are today, you will find yourself spending less time nursing the bitterness toward your abuser. As you do this, you will feel less “wed” to your abuser as you take charge of your own life.
By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
Educate Yourself--Learn the Facts--It may Just Save a Child's Life!!