Do we have to forgive our abuser?

I’m not sure if forgiveness is the healthiest option in some cases, or at least at some stages in our recovery.

I’ve had to forgive some pretty egregious behaviors in my life for many reasons, like peace of mind and having to be able to interact with the person again. But the experience with my NPD abuser trumps everything I’d ever encountered combined — it is so all encompassing of the worst of the worst, on every level. It has left me feeling such grief that I struggle to tap into the energizing anger that propels us to action (but I’m working on that!). I can’t hold anger, but, for those that do struggle with the (justifiable) feelings of anger and injustice, I can see how forgiving their abuser can be a release. As long as it doesn’t come with a reduction of well-earned defenses.

Maybe I’m too new to this process to answer this question. The whole NPD nightmare has thrown everything I thought I knew about myself up in the air — I have no idea how things will land, I have no idea about so many things right now. And I’m okay with that — this is a process of rebirth, where I become me, finally, without the abusive influences that shaped who I was before.

I want to own all my emotions — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

My only focus for who I will forgive right now is myself — for what I let happen, for what I let myself be turned into. This is the only time in my life when I actively am choosing not to forgive, and I believe it is for the healthiest reasons. What was done was so bad, so intentionally harmful to me as a person, that there are some lines that cannot be uncrossed. I will not diminish my experience by extending forgiveness toward my abuser. I want to own all my emotions — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Dampening my feelings was what got me into this mess, so I’m learning to carry the full load and not deny any of them. I don’t buy into the idea that we need to forgive to achieve grace.

I am pursuing acceptance — of what was, of what is, and of what will be. We are each different and what brings us peace in this will need to be our own personal journey. There is no ‘one size fits all’ way of getting through it. So, if it helps, I’ll pipe up and say ‘fuck forgiveness’… at least for now.

Three experts explain why forgiving a narcissist shouldn’t be your top priority. And why ‘forgiveness’ can be dangerous.

Forgiveness Is Overrated: Accepting The Narcissist

When Forgiveness Isn’t A Good Idea: A Psychologist Explains

Forgiving A Narcissist Is Another Trap

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