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  • Writer's pictureMarica Binns


You’ll see I put an exclamation mark at the end of that header.... must be serious stuff... So here goes- we are told this:-

That forgiving soothes

Forgiving helps you move on

Forgiving brings you closure Forgiving can be healing

Erm, I’m not so sure. Could possibly all be boll**ks! So let’s unpick this.

I think for some people and in certain circumstances, forgiving is not an option because the wound is too deep. For me, as a therapist, encouraging a client to forgive may actually be obstructive to them coming to terms with what’s occurred.  Urging forgiveness ignores the fact that anger naturally rises after being hurt and often needs to be integrated, not  rooted out like some bacteria-borne illness. ...

I realise that for many religions, the art of forgiving is taught as standard. Yet to my mind, that insistence  on forgiving without being mindful of how this will affect the injured party, is poor practice, and could make a person feel even worse by suggesting they’re weak for not being able to forgive. As a therapist, I don’t want any part in this dynamic.

But hey... that’s just my opinion and as a humanist you may well ask “what do I know.” Fair play to you.

You’ll all know, we’ve had it drummed into us since infancy,  that holding onto anger and being UNforgiving apparently leaves us feeling bitter for evermore. Well I’m standing loud and proud in stating that in some instances, what has happened IS actually UNforgiveable!

Your loved one is raped or even murdered, your life savings are stolen, vulnerable people or animals are abused. Seems to me that in these particularly dreadful circumstances there is no expectation by society to ‘forgive’ the perpetrator;  however....where circumstances are not as severe- someone cheats, walks out on their responsibilities, lets you down or lies, then society would deem it as something that should be forgiven. Despite the severity of the bad action, great or small... in my mind, it’s still up to the injured party to decide whether to forgive or not.  It’s just got to be a personal decision.

Without doubt, dreadful things regularly happen to innocent people. In my job I witness this all day long.   So how do you help yourself decide whether to forgive or not, when you’ve become the injured party?

BY PROCESSING EVENTS Self care in the form of taking time to evaluate what has happened, can help you metabolise your wound or betrayal without becoming a victim to your  ‘victimhood’ if that makes sense.

BY ACCEPTANCE Acceptance - and eventual calm - happens when you come to terms and accept that random acts of harshness happen in this cruel world. A reminder that bad things happen to everyone and this ‘event’ was, sadly, your turn.

TO STOP LIVING IN THE PAST For some people it’s helpful to stop living in the past where feelings and emotions run high. Yes of course you’ll still feel that sting of rage at times, but by not constantly reliving the experience which brings about the rage, you are taking ownership of your experience as a victim. It’s kind of sticking up two fingers and saying “well you hurt me then but I won’t allow what you did to shape my future in a negative way”

Allow yourself to see there are always two roads you can go down. You may not have realised that ‘forgiving’ was an option. Similarly, you may also have failed to tell yourself that by NOT forgiving doesn’t make you bad.

TAKE  RESPONSIBILITY Realise your power in letting go of the pain. By doing this you’re taking responsibility for your own happiness.

I have several people I’ve had to forgive in my lifetime. Similarly I’ve encountered people I simply cannot forgive.  Neither choice has hampered my life in any way. It just is what it is. My damage- hence my choice, my rules!

By attempting to forgive because you’ve been told it’s the right thing to do is giving over authorship of your life... someone else is writing your life script! That’s not good...

Should  we really forgive the unforgiveable?

It’s your call 😁

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