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No. You don’t have to forgive your abuser.

No. You don’t have to forgive your abuser. | Annie Wright, LLC | Berkeley, CA | www.anniewright.com

Today, as part of my maternity leave letters from the archive series, I want to share with you one of my articles which, in addition to getting an unusually large amount of shares on social media when it was originally posted, generated quite a powerful conversation in the comments on the blog.

For some, it’s a provocative stance – asserting the opinion that you don’t need or have to forgive someone if you’re not ready to – and so I wonder what you’ll think about once you’ve read it?

If you feel so inclined, please leave me a message in the comments on the blog to let me know.

Warmly, Annie

No. You don’t have to forgive your abuser. | Annie Wright, LLC | Berkeley, CA | www.anniewright.com

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  1. Give for. says

    I think you either forgive or you don’t, the notion of somehow forcing genuine forgiveness feels absurd to me.

    If forgiveness wasn’t voluntary wouldn’t many live with the contradicting reality of having to forgive someone that they can’t?

    This pressuring of forgiveness is, in my experience, not solely for the benefit of the pressured. I believe the main thing escalating this promotion of forgiveness to the point of pressuring others, is some perceived, direct or indirect threat to the self in case someone doesn’t forgive. Sometimes the behaviour just spreads like a viral meme, sustaining this behaviour in our culture not because it’s somehow good or better than other less aggressive behavior, but because of the way it keeps spreading by the use of often unconscious force on one another.

    That said, I find forgiveness tremendously helpful personally. I can’t just snap my finger and experience emotions at a whim, so I am not sometimes able to forgive and I don’t ‘stress’ forgiving anything. Yet eventually I seem to genuinely forgive everyone who hurt me. I assume others prefer the decency of genuine forgiveness rather than getting an imitation, but perhaps if one has a tendency to practise forced forgiveness themselves, they might even sometimes prefer an imitation of something genuine instead. Might be an important source of validation. In my eyes they are forgiven too.

    To me, forcing forgiveness and not being able to forgive seem to follow each other. Forgiving is a process of love and I don’t think you should be forcing or pressuring either of those two, not upon yourself or others.

    I understand that some may feel pressuring themselves is helpful, but attempting to help others into similarly pressuring themselves to do things coupled with the attitude that behaviour which pressures is helpful, it can go spectacularly wrong even with the best intentions.

    What is forgiveness if not an act of love? Can we tell others that they need or have to love something? If we allow love to take its time, why wouldn’t we allow the same with forgiveness?

    Attempts to control forgiveness are basically attempts at controlling love. Show me the man or woman who has truly conquered all love that exists and from my free will I shall listen to them.

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