I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

When It's Time to Forgive

One anonymous reader castigated me for pushing people to forgive. I don't push anyone to forgive, but that's how he perceived the tone of the blog.

For those of us who were molested, the time comes during our healing journey when it's exactly the right time to forgive.

Forget about forgiving—until you're ready, until you feel the need to forgive. When that happens, that is the right time to forgive.

Although I can't remember exactly when I forgave my two perpetrators, I know it occurred several months, perhaps a full year, after I began to heal. That day I ran seven or eight times around a small lake in a park. (The circumference was about half a mile.) No one else was in the area, and I yelled at my long-dead abusers. I screamed at them for the pain they had caused me. Just before I started my final loop, I was able to say, "I forgive you." I had spewed out my anger and, to my surprise, it was gone. I was ready to release my pain.

If anyone had pushed me to forgive earlier, I would have gotten angry and felt guilty. Angry because I didn't want to forgive; guilty because I would have felt I should forgive. And I've received the should message several times in my life. For me, forgiving and "letting go of the pain" mean the same thing. When I'm ready to walk away and leave the pain behind, then it's time to forgive.

The important fact is that each of us must determine when it's time. Some of us forgive quickly; others need longer to process through the pain. Regardless, no one has the right to push anyone to forgive.

Forgiveness is always a choice. 
And it's sad but some people are never able to forgive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

CM,

Please re-read the third comment that followed your last post. I thought I made it very clear why I felt the way I do.

And I am A WOMAN. Not a man. I was a woman when I wrote the post you criticized me for, just like I was a woman when I wrote the post that you re-posted and praised the very next day, right after you scolded me.

I tried to be nice and I tried to be gracious and I tried to see things from your point of view and I tried to stop feeling so hurt. I tried to say that I was sorry I got angry...but you can't even get my gender right!

All I wanted was for you to understand why I feel the way I do. Not to agree with me, not to validate me, just to TRY and understand.

This is really stupid. I don't belong here for a number of reasons, my gender being the least of them.