Time of forgiveness?

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I had a dream last night revolving around my ex, the one who raped me…

We were in a court room, and from the way things looked, it looked like my mom wanted me to press charges. When I saw him, I just felt a sudden sadness come over me, ’cause I honestly don’t think he knew that technically he did…(consensual sex in the past, we were in a relationship, he took my virginity, etc). Maybe a part of me still thinks he hasn’t, but to others, he did…

Either way, he looked very sad when I pulled him over to the side and told him, and he ended up breaking down and I ended up telling him it was okay and that all is forgiven.

Then I woke up, and just have this void in my heart all over again…I’ve already forgiven him even though he doesn’t know…but can I forgive myself for not knowing the signs? Is this what this is supposed to mean? Forgive them so maybe I can finally find my peace? 


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31 comments

  1. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    I’m sorry that you had this nightmare. This dream can mean anything that you want it to mean. You don’t have to forgive anyone if you don’t want to. Many people can move on and be at peace without actually forgiving, but if you want to forgive them, then you can. Thank you for sharing this with us. We are always here for you.
    -Alyssa

  2. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thanks for sharing with us again! Everyone copes with things differently, and I don’t think it would hurt to consider more what this dream meant. While I can’t give you a definitive answer, I do agree with what some people have said. Specifically, sitting down and writing him a letter might be really helpful in bringing you clarity. You don’t have to send the letter, but I think it will help you to get all of your thoughts out on paper (or whatever medium you choose). And if you choose to send the letter, that’s great! But I sincerely hope you don’t feel any pressure to do so.

    Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you. We’re here to help in any way we can! Stay strong. You will get through this!
    Marissa

  3. Jordan Volunteer

    Dear Jamie Marie,

    I just want to start off by saying that I am so sorry that you had to go through a traumatic experience like that in your past, especially with someone that you initially trusted enough to have an intimate relationship with. As far as your dream goes, it is hard to say. Perhaps only you can decided what this dream means as it can be interpreted differently depending on the person. I am just speculating, but maybe part of you is still holding on to the “what if’s” aspect of the situation. You said he does not know that you forgave him for what he did and that you feel as though you should have handled the situation differently looking back at it in hindsight. Maybe if you were to sit down and write a letter out to him and get all of your feelings out this could help, you can even address things to yourself in the letter as well. After writing the letter you could just burn it, you don’t have to ever give it to him, this can solely a way of getting for you to get everything off of your chest. By burning it, it may give you the satisfaction of officially closing that chapter of your life. I have done this copping method myself a handful of times and I have found that it helps with the internalization of endless thoughts and feelings of a situation that I may not have had control over at the time, but most certainly do not have control over now since it is in the past. What happened in the past happened, you may not be able to change that but you can change and work on the present, and future. I hope that helped some <3 I am sending hugs your way, stay healthy and safe! <3

    – Jordan

  4. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Dreams can be very overwhelming and confusing. I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with them recently. There is a lot of conflicting opinions on what exactly dreams can mean or where they originate in consciousness. I think your ideas sound like a good place to start. Sometimes dreams can be our brain’s way of healing and moving forward after trauma. Do you have a counselor or therapist you can discuss your dreams with? They might be able to give you a better idea of what to explore in regards to your dreams. Please feel free to check out our reference section. We’re here for you!

    All the best,
    Becca

  5. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Jamie,
    I believe dreams are a way to process what may be on the “back burner.” I understand how you’re feeling about forgiveness. I’m dealing with similar thoughts, so you’re not alone. When it comes to forgiving someone, it seems like an ongoing process. For example, I have days when I feel more compassionate towards my assailant. On other days, I’m not even close to forgiving him. I think observing these feelings as they come can be helpful. Forgiveness is also your decision, and it’s okay if you don’t feel ready to forgive.
    As for forgiving yourself, you were not at fault for what happened to you. You did nothing wrong.
    Thank you for this update. We’re here for you, and I hope you’re doing okay.

  6. blashea Volunteer

    Hi, your feelings are valid. It’s understandable to feel conflicted when it comes to forgiveness. It’s important to remember that you are not to blame for what happened to you. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. You are not responsible for the actions of others. I hope you can remember how strong you are.

  7. Sammie101 Volunteer

    Hello friend,

    Forgiveness can be a tricky thing, and it’s always up to the victim to decide whether or not to give it. As for yourself, you absolutely deserve to forgive yourself, although I see nothing you need to forgive yourself for. You have done nothing wrong, and what happened is not something you can necessarily see coming. You don’t have to forgive to find peace, peace can be found through many different ways. I hope you find a way to heal that brings you the most comfort in your own way. Thank you for being brave to continue sharing. We are all here for you.

    Much love

  8. colton95 Volunteer

    Forgiveness (in my opinion) is a difficult but essential thing to do on the journey towards peace and self-healing. Do this at your own time and pace, but I think that it is important to forgive yourself and not blame yourself for not seeing the signs so that you can move on and find peace. I hope you are doing well and staying safe and healthy during these tough times.

  9. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Jamie Marie,
    Thank you for sharing more with us. As others have said, our dreams often lead us to realizations we aren’t able to process when our minds are busy with day-to-day things. Some schools of thought say it isn’t really the content of the dream that is important, but the feeling that the dream produces. Isn’t it funny that it is often easier to forgive someone who has hurt/harmed us than it is to forgive ourselves for our perceived allowance of the hurt/harm. It isn’t our job to walk around in armor protecting ourselves constantly, because that is not really living and it is not in our biological nature. The fault lies with the person that did the harm and you get to decide whether to forgive or not. What would you say to the younger you if you had the chance? Would you say the same thing to a younger sister? Talk to that younger you like you would a little sister. Let her know that none of it was her fault and that you love her.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  10. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    I’m sorry to hear that you had a dream about your ex recently. I feel like since you have already forgiven him you can absolutely forgive yourself. None of what happened was your fault. What he did was wrong. You have nothing to forgive yourself for since you did nothing wrong. Finding your peace may come from reminding yourself that you have forgiven him. The dreams may still come from your subconscious but that may not be stopped.

    Stay strong,

    Tyler

  11. Starling Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    Thank you for continuing to share your story with us. I’m sorry that you had to deal with this. You didn’t deserve this and it wasn’t your fault. I’ve found that it helps to write about my dreams and how they made me feel whenever I wake up from one. It can help to bring some clarity to what they might be trying to tell you. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  12. Rustin Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie!
    Dreams can give us so many different emotions and then we wake up and find that we continue feeling those emotions for quite some time after the dream. It’s incredibly frustrating to not know what the dreams are trying to tell us. Forgiving ourselves seems to be the hardest part of any situation. We are human and permitted to make mistakes. It’s difficult to not know the signs if it is something that you’ve never encountered before. It’s unfortunate that you had this experience but it is something that you can use to help other individuals to know the signs so they don’t experience the same situation. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that you are feeling and process them. This will hopefully help you in forgiving yourself. Thank you for sharing!

  13. dzreid Volunteer

    Jamie Marie,
    That must of been quite the dream! It sounds like it stirred some feelings. Our minds have strange ways of helping us work out or work through difficult experiences. The decision to forgive someone is a personal journey. It is so freeing to let go & reach a point to forgive. That action alone is a clear meassege that you are no longer allowing what happened to you hold you back. It also takes a lot of enotional strength to forgive & let go. What happened wasn’t your fault, so to forgive yourself, that too is a personal choice. I believe if you choose to forgive yourself, maybe that’s what you need in order to beable to move on in your healing. You can make it. You already have come a long way! Take care.
    Dawn

  14. meg Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thank you for coming back to share with us. Your journey of healing is a very important one to me and I am thankful that you continue to work so hard to do so. I think that the act of forgiving yourself is something that’s so intrinsically difficult but can be so releasing to do. Please know that you are not at fault for anything that happened to you. You are wonderful for many many reasons. The kindness/forgiveness you are showing your ex should be extended to yourself too. We support and love you!!
    —Meg

  15. Ryan4121 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie- I think the decision to forgive is a personal one. Whatever you decide, I hope you make it with only your interests in mind. It seems you are a deep thinker and a very empathetic person. These are great qualities to have! I know you will continue to recover and please continue to reach out to us. We are sorry for what happened to you and are always here to help.

    Ryan

  16. SydSquid Volunteer

    Hey Jamie,
    I feel like dreams always give us insight into how we really feel or deep emotions that we didn’t even know we had so realizing what you did in your dream is completely understandable and you shouldn’t be upset at yourself for not seeing the signs in the waking world. Also someone recently told me that no book or website can truly tell you what your dream meant, all that matters is how it made you feel. Don’t push yourself to feel one way or another about the dream just figure out what it means to you and that is all that matters. Stay strong.

  17. Amysue43 Volunteer

    You should know that what happened was not at all your fault or anything that you deserved. When you say that it’s hard for you to see how you could forgive yourself for not seeing the signs, this can’t simply be applied to you because it was not your fault. In the sense of forgiving others, I think it’s important to acknowledge the different ways that this is defined and used. Forgiveness can bestow a sense of power once again to those who feel powerless or have feelings of anger and resentment built up. Like you mentioned, forgiveness can lead to a place of peace. I think it can also give you control. You can chose what you would like to feel once you forgive, and it doesn’t mean you have to forget. You can forgive someone for the sake of your own healing and effort.
    Stay strong <3

  18. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there,

    I am so sorry that you had this dream. It sounds very confusing. You are so strong, never forget that! I think you can forgive yourself. What happened was not your fault! Forgiveness can lead to peace and I know you can get there! Be kind to yourself. You have come so far and made so much progress. You are so strong!

    -Natalie

  19. rkr18 Volunteer

    Jamie Marie,

    I appreciate you sharing. I do believe when we are able to forgive that will put us at peace. When I finally forgave I no longer felt a heavy burden just sadness, compassion and peace. Thanks for knowing that we are here for you.
    -Marie

  20. Ashley Day Captain

    Hello Jamie Marie,

    It sounds like this dream caused intense emotions to emerge. Forgiveness can certainly lead to inner peace; you have forgiven someone who might not be aware of what they did and that says a lot about your character. Allow yourself to find peace by being kind to yourself about the situation. You are not to blame for what happened.

    Ashley

  21. Stellablue Volunteer

    HI Jamie Marie,
    I am very sorry you had such a scary stressful dream. It can be hard for our brain to cope and process what we’ve been through sometimes. I am also sorry you feel a void. It is ok if you forgive him and it is ok if you don’t, you are on your own journey working through things at your own pace. Everything you feel is valid, and I hope you continue to be kind and understanding to yourself as you work through these feelings.

  22. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thank you for coming here to share your dream and your thoughts about it with us. I believe dreams really do give us messages that maybe we missed in our everyday lives, or that are stuck in our subconscious. Do you feel the same way, or what do dreams mean to you?

    I know it must be touch having dreams about someone who hurt you in the past. The important thing to know is that you’re feelings are valid! You had a powerful statement on forgiveness. Forgiving others sometimes seems easier than forgiving yourself. I hope you can forgive yourself as you had no control over what happened. I read something from a book that your statement made me think of. It talked about how we should talk to ourselves the way we would talk to a friend who went through the same thing. After all, we seem to be so harsh on yourselves. I hope that resonates with you and I hope you do forgive yourself because you did nothing wrong and you deserve that peace 🙂

  23. musicislove

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Like others have said, dreams can be so complicated and so can forgiveness. I struggle with both and know how frustrating it is to feel so conflicted. I think its important to do what you feel is right for you. I think forgiving yourself is so important, what happened to you wasn’t your fault and you didn’t know to look for any signs. You shouldn’t blame yourself for that. I know that’s easier said than done but try to be gentle with yourself, especially right now. Thank you for trusting us and know we’re always here for you.

    Delaney

  24. Solongago Volunteer

    hi Jamie Marie,

    I struggle with forgiveness too. Forgiveness is a huge part of Christianity, but Christianity does not have a monopoly on forgiveness. Being a Christian, I hate to say anything transcends Christianity, but it does, in that you don’t have to profess a faith in Jesus or in the Judeo-Christian God to feel the need to forgive or be benefited by forgiveness.

    Somewhere wrapped up with the question of forgiveness, we go from being a victim to being a survivor. Whether that is achieved by only forgiving ourselves, accepting ourselves, spots and all, or if it requires that we forgive the perpetrator(s), I really don’t know. Most of the books say we only need to forgive ourselves. For me personally, I think that the journey of healing will continue to have gaping, open sores if I don’t work through forgiving the folks that did the damage.

    It is a process. We don’t have to “forgive and forget” — that might sound Biblical, but it is not in there. We are not required to restore the person to the place they were in prior to the offense, in fact I think that when we accept a person as human, spots and all, we understand that with some of those spots, we may still have to protect ourselves or those we are responsible for from that person. I think that when we do forgive, we no longer feel a need for certain behaviors — apologies or reparations from that person. And this, I think helps us not to have that person constantly front and center in our lives, we are no longer anticipating something that may never come, and no longer continuously flipped into anger and disappointment at any moment by the actions of, presence of, or even thoughts of that person.

    Whether we need the other person to know that we forgave them is another story. Ah, forgiveness is such a crucial part of healing from sexual abuse, and this is why I think it makes sense to have a spiritual adviser connected to your healing journey. Sexual abuse has a spiritual aspect that needs to be healed too. Unfortunately, we have not always been treated well by clergy. Not that they are likely to be predators themselves, just that in the past many did not have skills to work with this sort of thing, and often they have not been very helpful or even harmful. I think that we have progressed in this area though. I am not sure what all they teach in seminaries, but they must take classes in pastoral counseling and I think that they are in general doing a better job in dealing with this now. If you do seek some guidance from clergy, I think care is needed, if they are saying things that make you feel worse about yourself, or pressing you to do something like forgive, it may not be the right person. Not all therapists are good at working with us, and not all clergy are either. You might have to shop around.

    These are tough questions. I don’t know how dreams and forgiveness are connected. But I think we often dream about the things that are in the forefront of our minds, and sometimes we dream about stuff our minds are protecting us from in waking. Anyway, you are doing a great job at fighting the good fight, struggling with the deeper questions. We are here for you and support you.

  25. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey Jamie

    Dreams and Forgiveness are really complicated because sometimes they interlink. You should forgive yourself its totally normal to have that feeling. I hope don’t need to curry any burden and your dreams are basically thoughts of how you feel. I think you should reflect your feelings that your dream brought up and how you feel. Do whats best for you and continue to express yourself when you need to We are here for you man and we truly care for you. Keep your head up and please let us know if you need to talk to someone.

  26. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    I echo what others have said that both dreams and forgiveness are complicated, and can stir up a lot of really tough emotions. You brought up a really good point about forgiving yourself – I think that demonstrating self-compassion and finding the ability to forgive yourself is really important and may be a necessary part of finding peace. None of what you experienced was your fault and there’s no way you could have known the signs. That’s why abuse that happens in the context of a relationship is so complicated, because it’s intertwined with love and other feelings, and it makes it near impossible to see it coming. I hope that you can stop blaming yourself (easier said than done, I know). But overall, I think you should reflect on the feelings that your dream brought up and do what feels right/best for you. Good luck!

    KatherineL

  27. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thanks for the update. The concept of forgiveness and dreams (let alone interpretting them) are both pretty complicated. Ultimately, what your dreams mean and what forgiveness means to you are up to you. You decide when and if you forgive and what is consituted in that forgiveness. With that said, these emotions are perfectly normal to have. They are often part of the healing process. It’s okay to feel this way. This emotions will grow and change overtime. What’s important to remember is that they are valid. Stay strong and take it one day at a time. Please let us know how else we can help.

    Thomas

  28. mocha1821 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Forgiveness is a complicated concept and I’d agree with mikaylaanne11 that it can be a cycle. I also think it’s okay to change your mind as you move through the healing process. I think only you can decide what your dreams mean to you. Maybe take some time to reflect on them, as you seem to be doing. Healing is a very personal process. We’re all here for you as you continue on your journey!

  29. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I know that having dreams about people who hurt you and people you feel conflicted about can be difficult. I struggle with vivid dreams sometimes, too. I think do what is necessary for yourself and for your healing, because that’s what matters most. That was hard for me to realize-that what is best for me, matters. Thank you for coming back to share. We are here for you.

    Erin

  30. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hey again Jamie Marie,

    Forgiveness is a really complex concept, especially when its surrounding a traumatic experience. I go through periods of time where I want to forgive my abuser and then cycle back through to feeling like I’m in an empty void and then to times where I guilt, sadness, etc. This is normal and is valid. I think that you can read into your dream, and attach meaning to it, if you want. Journaling in this instance might be helpful! It might give you the answer you’re looking for and help you feel more at ease. You’re more than welcome to write those journals here, too! We’re here to help in whatever way we can.

  31. Jess Volunteer

    I think only you can decide what your dream means or whether you should forgive the person who harmed you. Forgiveness is a very personal and painful process. I would take some time and journal about what I think forgiveness means. Healing is a very personal process and no one can tell you what is right or wrong. Find what is your best path in your gut. If there is anything we can do to help you get there, please let us know. We are always here for you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess