The Process of Forgiving Child Abusers by Pam Witzemann

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This week I’m excited to welcome back to Emerging from Broken, guest writer and fellow blogger Pam Witzemann as she tackles the difficult subject of ‘forgiveness.’ In this in-depth two part article, Pam takes a look at some of the difficulties surrounding forgiveness, experienced by survivors of child abuse. Pam is a regular participant in almost all the discussions here in EFB and has her own blog; “Boomer Back-beat ~ Talking bout our generation”. As always I am looking forward to the conversation~ please contribute your thoughts and insights! ~ Darlene Ouimet

The Process of Forgiving Child Abusers by Pam Witzemann 

Part I: Defining Forgiveness; for Victims of Childhood Abuse

It isn’t easy to forgive an abuser especially a child abuser. Victims of childhood abuse need to have a right concept of forgiveness because it is so often, twisted into a weapon of abuse. This causes confusion on the part of the victim and denies them access to the freedom from the past that true forgiveness can bring.

Parents who abused their children are likely to demand their adult child forgive them for the past but may never acknowledge any wrong doing or accept any responsibility for their actions. The truth is that they aren’t interested in being forgiven. People who want forgiveness are filled with remorse and though it may hurt to verbally admit to what they’ve done, they will do so because being forgiven by the person they have hurt is important to them.

What many abusers want instead of forgiveness is for the abused person to forget what was done to them, over-look it, and not hold them responsible for it. They also need their victims to remain silent and when that silence is threatened, they demand forgiveness and declare that any relational problems are due to the victim’s unwillingness to forgive. These lies cause confusion and abusive people know that causing confusion in others, works in their favor. There is nothing that confuses a childhood abuse survivor more than the forgiveness ploy.  

All survivors desperately, want to be free from their past and in our culture, we are taught that forgiveness abolishes sins. This is true but as with all truth, abusers twist the truth into a self-serving lie. Therefore, it is important for child abuse survivors to arm themselves with a true understanding of what abuse is, what it is not, and to know with certainty, what they, as the victims, are responsible for. It is also, necessary to have a clear definition and concept of forgiveness.

Forgiveness isn’t cheap. It comes at a great price that is paid in suffering and pain. Jesus died an excruciating death, in order to obtain forgiveness from God for human beings.( I don’t want to make this post about religion but this is an important point because in Western Civilizations, the Bible is the foundation for cultural concepts of forgiveness. It is also, important because abusive people like to use religion as a club and they aren’t above twisting Biblical truth into a manipulative lie.)Though we do have some choice to forgive or to with-hold forgiveness, forgiveness isn’t a simple choice and it isn’t to be demanded of us by anyone. It comes at the end of a reckoning process and there is no way to skip that process and arrive at true, forgiveness.

Choosing to forgive doesn’t mean that a relationship can be restored by the actions of the victim alone. An abuse survivor can forgive their abuser but it is foolhardy and dangerous to continue in a relationship with a person who never acknowledges the personal damage they have caused. Abuse survivors can heal and reach the end of the reckoning-forgiveness-process without any obligation to continue in a relationship with an unremorseful, abuser. Survivors can heal, separately, from their abusers and if the abuser wants the relationship to be restored, they must apply that forgiveness to themselves by acknowledging the damage they’ve done. If this is what they truly, want, then they will demonstrate this with true remorse.

It’s simple, people who want forgiveness will say they are sorry and name specifically, what they are sorry for. People who are content to abuse and thereby, hold power over their victim, will have no remorse and will never acknowledge the pain and damage they have caused.

Abuse survivors commonly, deny themselves the freedom from the past that forgiving can bring ; This is a decision made upon the false concepts about forgiveness that so many people have. True forgiveness, isn’t given from a position of weakness but from a position of power that honors the sacrifice made, in real suffering, on the part of the survivor. It is an action that leaves past abuses in the past and denies them the power to continue to harm the survivor, in the present and in the future. Abuse isn’t a small fault to be overlooked and forgiveness doesn’t mean that traumatic, abusive events are not important enough to punish.

In fact, I believe that a survivor can prosecute an abuser for the crimes committed and still find their way to forgiving the person who committed those crimes. There are natural and legal consequences to criminal actions and forgiveness doesn’t mean that the abuser should suffer no consequences. Even though Jesus died on the cross for those who abuse God and one another, we still suffer consequences for our actions; but because of the forgiveness that He won, our relationship with God can be restored and we won’t suffer eternal, spiritual death. However, there is no way to restore that spiritual relationship without acknowledging our abuses/sins, and acknowledging the price that was paid, in order for us to receive forgiveness.

In the same way, a truly, remorseful abuser can have their relationship with their child restored by truthfully, applying the forgiveness given them, by the child they harmed, through abuse. People who are truly, remorseful are generally, resigned to pay the penalties for their actions. They will not deny those actions and try to force all who are connected to them to carry pretense and pretend the crimes they committed never took place.

A repentant abuser will seek truth and will cease from seeking cover in lies. A remorseful abuser is mortified by their behavior and will beg for forgiveness and not dare to demand it. Forgiveness is received in weakness and given in power; thereby, humbling the abuser and raising the status of the victim. In this way, a right balance of power is restored.

Equality and trust meet upon the sacred ground of life-changing, remorse and true forgiveness.

By Pam Witzemann

Please share your thoughts about this difficult subject matter. We are not saying that forgiveness is essential; this post is about understanding forgiveness and the part it may play in recovery. Stay tuned for Part II; Pam digs even deeper into the reckoning process as it unfolded for her.

Related Posts:  Forgiveness; A bit of a Rant (Click Titles)

Forgiveness and Child Abuse; when suggesting forgiveness IS abusive

The Confusion Created around Forgiveness Issues

Being Told to leave the past in the past

Pam Witzemann was born in Santa Fe, NM and is married, has raised two boys and has two grandsons. Pam and her husband have had their own business for over twenty years. Pam is a painter and a writer and hopes to make these pursuits more than a hobby in her later years. Pam authors the blog Boomer Back-Beat; a place where baby boomers find inspiration in the process of aging.

51 response to "The Process of Forgiving Child Abusers by Pam Witzemann"

  1. By: Carlos Posted: 9th February 2016

    I am a little conflicted with the subject of forgiveness. My maternal grandmother? She’s always right so why bother? (This is a woman who mistakenly gave her sister kerosene instead of milk formula, and she blames the kerosene of course). For her I just chose to remain civil (Meaning I did nothing to get her to “open her eyes” I just didn’t bother to wait for the day she realises how wrong she was, in how she treated me).

    My Dad, on the other hand is where I am having a little bit of trouble. He has apologised for shouting at me twice, but I felt that those apologies had the “Sorry but I think I’ll eventually hurt you again so brace yourself” kind of feeling rather than him sincerely being sorry. I don’t know, I’m sorry if I am weird like that.

    Now the following situation I am about to shed light on, is where I felt a little bit more “on the edge” in this never-ending forgiveness issue of mine.

    When I returned to Australia after studying abroad in Italy, my Dad wrote a comforting message on my 21st birthday card. He wrote that I fulfilled his dream of being a father, and that he was SORRY for not being the best father or the best role model that I could look up to (I agree). He apologised AGAIN and I felt really good! However I told you that I am weird. What got me confused, were the questions “Should I forgive him?” or “Is this just birthday talk?” or “Is this another trap?” I can’t seem to forgive him even if the words were there! Maybe it’s because I was expecting the “Actions speak louder than words” approach to this (Just like what he did when he apologised for the shouting, but only this time with an ounce of sincerity).

    Or maybe it’s because he’s still the same self-righteous ass that he was (I am still seeing the “same-old signs” and I have been cautious to avoid trouble). The reason why I am all over the place, is that this is the third time he apologised, which makes this the third time (I am not seeing the third time’s a charm situation), that I am going to give forgiveness and I don’t want it to be put to waste! My thoughts are like “I want to, but I should be safe” It sucks to have a choice that you want to make but at the same time you’re like why even bother?.

    Sorry if this was all over the place, but forgiveness and I aren’t really the best of friends so yeah.

  2. By: marquis (female) Posted: 20th January 2014

    Thank you for this as I have been saying this stuff for a long time.

    “Survivors can heal, separately, from their abusers and if the abuser wants the relationship to be restored, they must apply that forgiveness to themselves by acknowledging the damage they’ve done. If this is what they truly, want, then they will demonstrate this with true remorse.”

    Agreed yet my therapist told me months ago that you can heal together in the same household with the abuser. I said wtf?!?!? the survivors of abuse workshop I went to in 2012, all of the women said they healed away from their abuser and asked me what is your therapist smoking?! Therapist told me ‘forgiving is not about pushing it under the rug, but if you don’t forgive you always be an angry person.’ Really??! How many people in here have been “angry, bitter people” because they didn’t forgive?

    I told her a story long ago that I spoke to a guy who hated his father for the abuse he did to him and his mom. He also admitted how he was angry at her for not leaving his dad that she could have gotten resources and keep her plans to herself without his dad knowing. The guy was really nice, he was successful and asked him did you ever forgive your dad? He said no, but found other ways to heal and put his energy into his job, friends, dogs, etc all the good stuff. He said his dad didn’t deserve forgiveness, but he wasn’t an angry, bitter person.

    Oh, therapist dismissed that so fast lol. I told her the only reason why I am so bitter/angry is because of the mistreatment, the lack of parental help, lack of support, lack of everything, etc and if I had my own place; I could truly start to release it but not while I still live in their home.

    I learned a lot about abuse when I was a kid and very intelligent about the subject. I agree about forgiveness being used as a weapon and twisting it to suit the abusers’ needs. I told my therapist if I could forgive my parents, but where does that leave me? Why do they get to keep abusing others? She said you can’t change them, no duh, I know that. I said look, forgiveness is a two way street not a one way which we have always operated as a one way society.

    My parents said ‘we did nothing wrong, why are you always lying?’ I asked therapist does that sound like two people who admitted anything?!? They just said they didn’t do anything wrong and on top of that, they also said, ‘your sister is always lying, trying to make us look bad. We are great parents and you two should be proud of it, but no, you just want others to put lies in your head.’ Wow, if that isn’t straight up abuse right there – then I certainly don’t know what is!

    I asked her ‘why do we always have to feel sorry for the abusers?’ Yes, we have already established that they were abused to at one time in their life. What makes them more special than the victim?’ Ohh, the silence in her office! I asked, ‘care to explain?’ We are seriously confusing people out there about forgiveness and I hear stories of them killing themselves because they may have forgiven, but their heart was still tearing up inside of them. Another thing that still makes me angry is watching how other people had a real family and we didn’t!

    I told my therapist I came to terms about what happen when I was a little kid, but was still angry. She told me if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t still be there or be bothered by it. What kind of damn answer is that?!? Gee, heard of codependency? I am still bothered by it because the mistreatment is still there. Hell, I am still working hard to leave once I get a job.

    I have seen forgiveness as a way to overlook or put it under the rug – let’s not discuss it anymore. I have seen all of my life of my parents always being defended by people and making me the liar/perpetrator! These people said that ‘I am committing a crime against my parents by speaking ill when all parents love their kids.’ WTF?!?!? I am making a crime against “my parents?” Really?!?? We really live in a dome (forget a bubble!) in this society!

    If a person is not gonna truly admit to any wrongdoing, then what are we doing? I told people ‘that it is disrespectful to ask of me to forgive my parents, when they are being treated as Saints and Gods! I don’t think so!’ Like I always say, ‘when good is considered evil and evil is considered good.’ That is why people have such a hard time distinguishing the difference.

    Has anybody watched Steve Wilkos show? Look at how he yells at these abusers and tells them ‘it’s your fault and that’s why you don’t have your kids with you – take responsibility!’ That is how these MHPs need to talk not the whole ‘oh, how does that make you feel?’ That garbage people say ‘abusers could change.’ Everybody has options to change and I agree, but how many of these abusers really change? Very small, minute number and why are we still putting hope on them?! They are not going to change – period! I told my therapist we are always wasting time on these people and this is the reason why they get away with a lot of crap whether you wanna admit it or not!

  3. By: Pam Posted: 28th January 2013

    TJ, There is responsibility evenly distrubuted in true forgiveness. Somehow, that responsibility is often shifted to fall only, on the victim. The false concept of forgiveness that was taught to me by parents was a major tool in keeping me quiet about their treatment of me. Everything gets distorted in the hands of manipulative, abusive people.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Love,
    Pam

  4. By: TJ Posted: 28th January 2013

    Thank you for sharing this article!

    Most people seem to believe that forgiveness means overlooking the abuse or ignoring it. They often seem to defend the abusers and condemn the victims. It took me years to work out what forgiveness really is. I was helped greatly by the Jewish (and Biblical) teaching that

    1. If someone hurts me and TRULY repents (which involves changed behavior, not just pretty words), I must forgive him.
    2. If I hurt someone, I must repent and ask for forgiveness.
    3. If someone hurts me, I must not forgive (i.e., reconcile) him because to forgive someone who refuses to repent allows him to continue in his sin/abuse, which is a disrespect of myself and the relationship.

    This goes along with what Jesus said in Luke 17: “Be careful. If your brother sins against you, REBUKE him. IF HE REPENTS, forgive him…”

  5. By: Pam Posted: 22nd January 2013

    smd, I know exactly, what you describe in your comment. My realtionship with my parents was totally, one-sided. My emotional needs were never recognized and it was my job to fill my mother’s emotional needs. She told me that when I was born she fantasized about my being a teenager and how we would be best friends and do everything together. I didn’t fulfill any of those fantasies for her and she has always, resented me for it. I don’t think she’ll ever understand why I didn’t remain ‘her’ child, forever. When I allowed my parents to move onto my property, they exhausted me and my husband. We did a lot of things for them but it wasn’t even that as much as my mom is like an emotional vacuum-cleaner and she sucks everything out of me. She never reaches out to anyone but she takes, continually. They are like leaches and once they attach, it’s really hard to get them to detach except, to stop being useful to them. No one needs that kind of relationship, smd. A relationship requires two, and relationship is not allowing yourself to be sucked into that vacuum that takes your emotional and physical energy and even your identity. Sometimes, I do miss my mom but I don’t miss feeling like that. I know I couldn’t go back to that because I’m different now. Every time I waver, all I have to do is go back over the steps I took in confronting them and their responses and I know, there was no other choice. I know they aren’t willing to do any of their own inner work and I can’t go back after having done mine.

    Love,
    Pam

  6. By: smd Posted: 22nd January 2013

    Pam,
    Thank You for the validation that our FOO are very similar in their denial & lack of empathy. It is about protecting themselves. I left out the last part of my mom’s letter that said, “Please Take Care and get the help you need and maybe some day we can get together and just talk! No yelling & no accusations, just talk and then we can both heal!”..Sounds sincere like she is making an effort, however, It leaves the healing of our so called relationship up to me again, when she says, “get the help you need”…I have been healing & anytime I’ve wanted to talk about my problems, she gave me mixed messages. She would talk about my problems, yet if I brought up anything to do with my feelings regarding anything she did to hurt me, that was not to be addressed. She would say,”All you do is talk about problems” or “misery likes company”. Master at deflecting the problems onto me and taking no responsibility or saying sorry. So, I’m not inclined to believe we can reconcile without her doing her own work & healing. She has had a lot of trauma in her childhood that I don’t think she can really face. Besides, I’m serious about keeping my boundaries tight with no contact. I have a lot to think about in terms of any relationship in the future. It can not be one sided for me. I deserve better. I have a close circle of friends that can do relationship with equal & mutual respect. We can laugh and share with each other. I’m not going to be friends with my mom. Not when she wants to be in a one up & controlling position.
    Sonia

  7. By: Pam Posted: 17th January 2013

    Kate, That is so, true.And yes,it was used as further abuse. It was used to confuse me and make me compliant. It worked for a long time but I’m not compliant, anymore.:0)I’m also, not stuck holding all the bagage for my family.:0):0)

    Pam

  8. By: Kate Posted: 17th January 2013

    “I had such a twisted version of forgiveness fed to me and used to control me and force me to take on their responsibility, that I couldn’t see that there was anything in it for me. It seemed like giving them an undeserved gift, only. (sounds like more abuse, doesn’t it?)

    Forgiveness is for the wronged party as much as what is offered to the offender.”

    Pam,

    you had this twisted version because you were given this twisted version. And in discovering their meaning, you discovered that someone can call something anything, but that doesn’t make it forgiveness because they call it that.

    I love the story of the girl going to church with her boyfriend and the elders told her that she could not have communion with them because she isn’t a member of their church and doesn’t believe the same way about communion as they did. She told them what she believes, and they told her what they believe, and her response was, “If that’s what you think communion is, then I don’t want it anyway!”

    So, yeah, if that is what you think forgiveness is, then I want no part of it.

  9. By: Daisy Posted: 17th January 2013

    Hi SMD

    For me it was about recognising that as a child I had no confidence that my parents would do what was best for me or my siblings.

    When they can’t supply that critical element of support for a child, who do you go to? The world seemed such a scary place to me, and any adults were not to be trusted.

    Any attempt on my part to talk about “what happened” as an adult, was met with denial. “we only hit you when you were naughty”.

  10. By: Daisy Posted: 17th January 2013

    Hi Kate

    I’m glad my words were meaningful for you, and doesn’t it feel great when you can feel the truth of them in your core. I’ve come a long way and it feels fantastic….

  11. By: Pam Posted: 17th January 2013

    Kate, I had such a twisted version of forgiveness fed to me and used to control me and force me to take on their responsibility, that I couldn’t see that there was anything in it for me. It seemed like giving them an undeserved gift, only. Forgiveness is for the wronged party as much as what is offered to the offender. I had religion used as a club and had it drummed into me that if I didn’t forgive, then God would never forgive me! Then I saw Jesus’ words in a different way, after I’d reckoned with the truth and was able to validate myself. He said, “forgive in the same ‘way’ that I forgave you” Focusing on the word ‘way’ made me realize that I should follow His pattern. I go into this part of it, much deeper, in the second half but looking closely at that pattern helped me figure out who was responsible for what when it came to forgiveness.

    I haven’t talked to you for awhile, Kate. It makes me happy to hear you’ve made so much headway.:0)Me too!:0)

    Love,
    Pam

  12. By: Kate Posted: 17th January 2013

    Pam,

    I like this that you said:

    “That’s what forgiving is, letting go of all those old offenses. I’m released from the past by that action.

    And for me, that letting go means the offenses are no longer happening (or not nearly as much) because I don’t engage, therefore I can also let go of it all, even though I still deal with the affects, but less and less over time; my life is healthy and thriving.

    “I’m the only one who benefits by it (this “letting go” forgiveness) as long as they remain irresponsible for their actions. (by acknowledging no wrong)

  13. By: Kate Posted: 17th January 2013

    Pam,

    I filled in the blank while reading this sentence, and you and I used the same word!

    The underlying problem in all the abuse and neglect…is irresponsibility. And we can’t escape the correlation of personal responsibility and the ability to effectively love others.

  14. By: Kate Posted: 17th January 2013

    SMD,

    Good for you, letting go!

    As you said: (and I so identify)

    “It is what I have wanted to hear all these years, yet it does not ring true to me.”

    “I was criticized more than ever as a child” which is probably why you

    “felt some guilt after she said that & she went on to say why I did not tell her”

    and the whole way that your mother set up having gifts sent to you through the wife of the abuser really says it all!

  15. By: Kate Posted: 17th January 2013

    Daisy,

    I am in the same place as you. I love what you said here:

    “I don’t want to give them any more of my time or energy.”

    “I’m past caring what they think.”

    “I don’t need that sort of love!” YES!!!

    “it’s about healing the damage to me, so I’m honouring my feelings of aversion…”

    “It suits them to label me”

  16. By: Pam Posted: 17th January 2013

    smd, We have a lot in common when it comes to the behavior of our parents. No matter what has happened in my life, if I share it with them, it becomes about them. To the point that it makes me feel like I don’t exist. In their eyes, I don’t exist as an individual. I’m just an extension of them, their child, a possession. Like you, I was the conscience of my enmeshed family and I carried the guilt whenever, anything went wrong. The underlying problem in all the abuse and neglect(which was the main abuse,it was emotional, medical,and then when I was a teenager and a man much older than me convinced me to leave home and live with him, I was an embarrasment, so they fed me to the wolves, by doing nothing)is irresponsibility. More than anything, they don’t want to take responsibility for themselves or accept blame for any of their actions. Whenever I tried to face a problem with them, all they could hear was accusation and that fear of responsibility takes them over. There’s no getting past it because they have no empathy for me. There’s none of what my husband calls “the she-bear instinct” in my mother or my dad and the need to protect their offspring never over-rides their need to protect themselves. The only need they are aware of is their own. They are like emotional blackholes and they can suck the life right out of me and they’re never satiated by it. Material gifts are their only expression of giving and they also, used them to buy me. They give in order to create indebtedness in the one they wish to serve them. My mother also, expects everyone, not just her children, to go to her. She reaches out to no one. The one sidedness of it all is what blocks the path to reconcilation and since it is coupled with total irresponsibility,it seems impossible to me that it would ever change. They are very emotionally, cripled people. I feel sorry for them but I can’t survive emotionally in the sick, enmeshed system that held my family together. I can do nothing to help them and simply, tolerating their sick behavior isn’t good for them or me. It isn’t good for the family I created. It isn’t like we’ve had a disagreement and if we reconciled we could just go back to the way we were. Reconciliation would mean starting over and putting in some hard work to build a relationship from the ground up. Just as I had healing to accomplish before I could forgive, they have a lot of healing to do before they could repent of their actions. A lack of empathy makes it impossible for them to feel real remorse. I can only do my part.The only path open to me is letting it go. That’s what forgiving is, letting go of all those old offenses. I’m released from the past by that action. I’m the only one who benefits by it for as long as they remain irresponsible for their actions. I think we are in much the same position smd.

    Love,
    Pam

  17. By: smd Posted: 16th January 2013

    Pam, I love the way you word the reality around forgiveness from the abuser. The last time my mom & I spoke was during the Holidays when she was withholding my kid’s presents. She avoided coming to my house to see their grandchildren after being invited for dinner & to exchange presnets. It was about control. Her expectation that I visit her because I’ m the “child” & she is the “parent”. So I chose not to comply with her wishes & she withheld presents until this past Sunday. She sent my them by way of my aunt, who is the same aunt who’s husband molested me at 12. I just opened up to her about this trauma, which was so hard to do. I was physically sick over this. I was fearful yet I faced the problem head on. I no longer carry the bburden of shame & guilt about that incident. With this being said, I feel lighter & happier, yet my mom was more concerned with being blamed & telling me to get over it. I just found out about this buried memory this past year at 44. In light of this news & the post traumatic stress this has created for me and the years of confusion & suffering, there is no empathy. She wanted to know who it was & said she would of “killed” him and press charges. I admit that I felt some guilt after she said that & she went on to say why I did not tell her. The burden was on me again. I really believe she would of lost it & I feared I would of been blamed. I was criticized more than ever as a child if I did not measure up to their eexpectations. I now know I did not feel I would be supported or believed. Obviously not emotionally supported or comforted. It has been a long process of getting to the buried trauma & reliving those strong emotions again. Well, back to 2013 & my mom sends me a big check with letter expressing her shock & confusion over what I told her. Her focus was on the past yet she first had to say that if I wanted to sever ties with her & my dad, that is ok. She says I hate them. I never said hate & beside the point, I believe she is projecting her feelings again. I have felt anxiety & sadness all these years. Just getting to the anger this past year with my realizations. She also goes on to say that I am her daughter and she will always love me. Why is it that I’ m more confused by this declaration of love? It is what I have wanted to hear all these years, yet it does not ring true to me. I’ m accepting that she believes that she loves me in her controlling way. It is hurtful that she doesn’t love me the way I needed. I have been my families scapegoat (the sensitive & Caring one for everyone else. My whole life has been about caring more for others. I have redirected my empathy onto myself now by validating my truth and being kind. It happens on a thinking level about my beliefs about me and how I do relationship. My close friends are my family along with my husband & kids. The big check my husband & I received felt like she is buying my affection. I decided to keep it,since I can really use it to pay my bills & the counseling I need. I have been broken from the damage they did to me. Of course my mom wants me to “heal”. Just like you eloquently put they want me to overlook and forgive. How about them taking responsibility?!! Sincerely admsitting their neglect would make a difference in real reconciliation. Do not expect that to happen. I’ m starting the letting go process for myself out of love.

  18. By: Daisy Posted: 16th January 2013

    Thank you Pam, you’re very kind.

  19. By: Pam Posted: 16th January 2013

    Daisy, It makes me sad to hear that you were beaten…

    Pam

  20. By: Pam Posted: 16th January 2013

    Daisy, None of us define words or terms in exactly, the same way. The important thing is to honor our feelings, the truth about what we lived through, and do what’s best for us and the families we’ve created. I’m not about pushing someone to my exact destination. We’ve all been through a simular experience but each experience is unique, too. It’s about healing and living a life free of abuse. Like you, I feel I owe no responsibility toward my parent’s memory and I’m past caring what the rest of the family thinks. They really don’t know me because they’ve never seen me past whatever need they wanted me to fill for them. I forgive them but the things they did to me are unforgiveable acts and they shouldn’t be ignored. I’m not comfortable being with people who are comfortable with ignoring child abuse and siding with the abusers. The second half of this piece digs deeper into my experience and why forgiving was an important step for me. Part of that is because of my own value system and part of that is because of the healthier, and I believe, more correct definition I have of forgiveness, than the one I was taught from childhood. The first version was used as a club and blinded me to the true power of forgiveness.

    Love,
    Pam

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