Can you forgive?

I honestly don’t know what brought me to this realization. I want to blame it’s my forgiving nature, or my ability wanting to believe there’s good in everyone, despite what they did to you.
I was checking my facebook earlier, and stumbled upon my sister’s ex’s moms page (if you already know, he set off the triggers from the actual rape last March), and it has already been a year since he moved out of our home.
I saw a photo of him, and I already knew he’s been losing weight, and drinking heavily, but the photo just haunts me. I mean, this is the guy I looked to as a big brother for years, and yeah, there’s no excuse for what he did to me, but I still can’t help but care for him in a way, same with my ex boyfriend.
Do you think if I can forgive them both, maybe then I can forgive and quit blaming myself, too? Will it start to feel a little better?


Join the Conversation

10 comments

  1. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    I struggle with the same thing. There are some days when I’ll feel more sympathetic towards certain people and other days when I’ll feel extremely angry. These feelings are fluid, and they depend on our life circumstances, our mental state, etc. I think the best thing we can do is to validate our feelings instead of berating ourselves for how we feel. Honoring our feelings can help a lot throughout the healing process, and it may lead to acceptance.
    I hope you’re doing okay. Thank you for updating us, and we’re here for you. You’ve got this.

  2. Turnschaosintoart Day Captain

    Hey Jamie Marie,
    Seeing photos of people who hurt us years later can be difficult and very triggering. Are you ok? I understand you still care for him even tho he hurt you. You have a good heart because you are a good person. I believe you can forgive them in time of that is what you want and if that will help you. I think of course you will be able to. Forgive yourself and stop blaming yourself. You have come so far. Baby steps. Haha I love that movie. What about Bob. But its true. You will get there. Everyday you will start to feel better. I bet some days you do. Treat yourself. You deserve it. You have put in the work and have been working hard and making progress. Plus it might give you a boost and make you feel a little better. We are rooting for you and backing you 120% . you got this. Much love
    Kristin

  3. BriGriffith Volunteer

    Jamie Marie,

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Being kind to and forgiving yourself is important, but so hard to do. We believe you, we hear you, and we’ll always be here to listen to you. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, but please know that you are never alone, and you deserve to feel supported. I’m sending you so much love and light. I believe in you, and I’m proud of you.

    – Bri

  4. Marie

    Dear Jamie Marie,
    You can forgive yourself. I believe in you. We all do. I would like to recommend trying mindful awareness. You can find free apps to download and listen online or a lot of colleges and centers offer low cost or free classes. There’s a saying I love from mindful awareness which attempts to accept things as they are and look at them anew, with curiosity and a bit of distance. The saying is, in case something comes up that you don’t like or you can’t feel love about you say, “whatever this feeling is, may I hold it with kindness. May I someday accept it.”

    I think it helps not to feel pressured to “get over it” or have a timeline to heal. We are all different and deep wounds take a long time to recover. But little by little they do. Thank you for reaching out to us. You are a loving person and deserve to love yourself as much as you do others.

    Wishing you peace and self-love.

  5. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    Forgiveness is something that is fluid…there are so many factors involved that I don’t think there can be a hard and fast “rule” about it. Sometimes, forgiving the other person is about them, sometimes it is about letting the negativity go for ourselves, and sometimes it is both. For me, it is about being able to trust that person again and if I don’t think I will be able to, I close the door. I don’t wish them harm, and will be civil if I must have contact, but they no longer hold significant meaning to me. I will not go out of my way for them and I will certainly never trust them again.
    As everyone has said, it is up to you at this time. Do what feels right for you and helps you heal. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  6. Kailey2298 Volunteer

    Hey Jamie Marie,
    I struggled with this same concept for a long while. For everyone it’s different and for some people forgiveness makes it easier and some people decide not to. Its solely up to you and what you wish to do and if you choose to forgive. If you choose to forgive or not is no one else’s decision but your own and you have the power to make that choice. I chose to forgive and when I finally did it changed a lot for me in my recovery process. It made me see things in a different way because i too still cared for my attacker despite what occurred. Forgiving him was the thing i needed for myself. No matter what you decide it is up to you and we support you in your decision. Nothing was your fault and you are not to blame. This is your decision and take your time with it you don’t have to rush or fear judgement because you are not alone. Let us know if you need anything else!
    Kailey

  7. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, Jamie. That’s a question I struggle with a lot myself (even as recently as earlier today). I don’t have the answer. I think it’s important to honor those feelings as they come, though. Just as important as it is to honor the rage and sadness and whatever else comes up along the road. You’re allowed to feel however you feel about them. Personally, I try to make my biggest goal to forgive myself – at least that one takes the priority. I deal with a lot of shame and guilt and sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge it wasn’t my fault. Maybe if I work on that enough I’ll be able to forgive my abuser. And maybe not, but at least I’m okay with myself.

  8. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I wish I could answer your questions definitively. Because honestly, it depends on you and what is best for your recovery. There are certain people I have chosen to forgive, and certain people I have chosen to stay angry at, and those who I will probably never forgive, based on what they have done to me and who they are to me. And those decisions came throughout the process of my recovery. The best advice I can give is do what feels right for you and your recovery. You can forgive if you want. You can not forgive if you want. Nothing that happened to you was your fault, no matter what you decide. Let us know how else we can help you. We are here for you.

    Erin

  9. Solongago

    Yes, you can forgive, and forgiveness is powerful. You can forgive yourself, not for the abuse because that wasn’t your fault. But for things we do in response to what happened, coping mechanisms, etc.

    Forgiving the perpetrators is really an interesting thing. It isn’t simple. It does not have to be in person, or even any contact at all. You can forgive them within yourself, and the hatred, animosity, irritation, frustration, etc., that really eats away at us, can be laid to rest. It isn’t a simple statement or feeling though. It is kind of a process. And we backslide, and realize that we have more to forgive this one for. And more. And more. But if we continue to accept what they did to us, honestly, feel the feelings, consider the sources, and give ourselves time to mourn the losses, then we can make a decision to let it go, to no longer hold it against that person. We do not forget. We do not put our young loved-ones in danger. But we can continue in relationship with a person or at least not allow that person to be a living cancer in our emotional and spiritual self.

    If you are a Christian, then we are admonished to forgive. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us — this is asking God to be as forgiving to us, as we are to those who have injured us. It’s heady stuff, really. But I look at the work on the cross, how Jesus was stripped, beaten, and nailed to a cross — that punishment pretty much covers what anyone has done to me, just as it is sufficient for anything that I might have done. I see it as very personal. I believe that if I was the only person in the history of creation who erred, that Jesus would still have undergone that punishment for me. So for me, I have to forgive my brothers, really anyone. I do not have to do it right away, or without thinking it through. The beauty of it, is that it is like the ten commandments — this is a gift for the people. When people live by the commandments, their lives are better — don’t covet, don’t kill, don’t bear false witness, when we follow these, we have it a lot better. When we forgive others, truly forgive, our lives get better. Our health is better. And I believe we can improve our walk with our savior.

    We all have burdens that we carry with us. For me, the burden of unforgiveness weighs me down. I have to let it go. I carry it for a season or two, until I am ready, and then I lay it down, because it is a drag on me.

  10. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Jamie,
    I think it’s up to you if you want to forgive them. You have to do what you think is best because for me when it comes to my rape, I haven’t really forgive the guy who did that to me, but I also don’t see him pop up on my Facebook or things like that. If you aren’t sure whether to forgive him or not then take time to think about it. This is your recovery process and story so I don’t want to tell you what to do. I hope this helped.
    -Alyssa