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.

Hurting Back (Part 2 of 7)

As I continue to learn about forgiving, I’m able to say that people who hurt often hurt others. That may not be obvious to us who were molested. Perhaps not every perp was first victimized, but something caused deep pain or need in their lives, and finding temporary sexual satisfaction was their form of self-medication.

Even knowing that, for some of us it’s still hard to forgive. The anguish is too deep. The traumas of our childhood remain stuck in our memories.

Hurting back doesn’t satisfy. We may think it will, but it doesn’t. If I sock you after you struck me, it doesn’t lessen the sting I felt. Nor does it diminish my sadness that you hit me. At best, retaliation gives a momentary respite from pain. The only way to experience healing and peace is to release the pain—that is, to forgive.

Until we can forgive, we’re in a prison, padlocked in our heartache and locked out of the possibility of experiencing healing and freedom. In short, we’re unable to experience peace because we’re still bolted to the past.

Someone wisely said, “Without forgiveness, we remain tethered to the person who harmed us. We’re bound by chains of bitterness and vengeance. Until we can forgive the one who harmed us, we’re unable to grab hold the key that frees us from our prison. Our perpetrators are still inflicting agony and despair. That person is our jailer.”

When we forgive, we take control of our lives and feelings. We become our own liberators.

Above all, we don’t forgive to help our perpetrators. We forgive for ourselves. Forgiveness is the best form of self-interest.

The best way to win over our oppressor is to forgive him 
and not allow him to continue the torment.

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