Do we have to forgive other people for the terrible things that they’ve done to us or to our loved ones? Is this something that’s mandatory for us to live happy lives? This is something that I’ve been wondering about for quite a few years. My family was exceedingly abusive to me all my life. It was mostly emotional abuse; however I was hit with a belt on my little naked butt often. However, I’ve found that the emotional abuse is the abuse that’s had the most lasting effects.
I married and moved away from my family (emotionally) almost immediately. However, it wasn’t until I gave birth that I finally admitted that their behavior was anything but normal. For years I had been protecting myself by keeping most of my thoughts and deeds secret, and that was how I survived my early years. After marrying it was much easier to keep the majority of my life secret, and I learned to never speak my mind, or show any form of vulnerability, as it was always used against me in some manner.
My relationship with my family has been severed for about 18 years. This separation was not brought about on my own behalf; instead it took the abuse of my son to end these relationships. I’ve learned to live without my mother, father or sister in my life. In fact, I often consider myself lucky to not have to deal with such abuse on a daily basis.
However, I’ve been told by various people that I have to forgive and forge a new relationship with my family in order to “heal”. Why would I do that? Why would I have a relationship with people who are toxic to both me and my children? The answer is always because they are my birth family; my parents and my sister; as though that fact excludes the abuse that I and my son suffered at their hands. This to me is simply crazy. I’ve forgiven already by realizing that even though they didn’t treat me or my son well, they had their reasons. What those reasons were I don’t know, and don’t care to know. I take solace in the fact that they are out of my life, and have continued to improve my own life and my son’s simply by the fact they have no control over us. Forgiving is one thing; allowing the abuse to continue another. What are your thoughts on forgiving?