Forgiving is difficult, and doesn’t equal allowing the person to hurt us again!

I just replied to Rita regarding this difficult topic which prompted me to write my own post about it!

Forgiveness is an ongoing process!

I subscribe to the notion that we forgive so the person isn’t taking up valuable real-estate in our minds, but it in no way gives them permission to continue to hurt us, (that’s what boundaries are for!)

Many people are understandably very fearful of taking a final step in their healing to forgive because there has been so much misunderstanding about what this really means!

In my own past, people in the 2 churches I attended urged me to forgive my mother and then scolded me when I didn’t wish to have her stay at my house for a month-long visit. “Didn’t you FORGIVE your mother?” I’d be asked.

I was told it was the CHRISTIAN thing to do to turn the other cheek. Isn’t that just keeping victims of abuse locked into that cycle? When does the victim’s mental and physical health take priority?

There was definite confusion about forgiveness!

Even then, I was of the frame of mind that just because I forgave someone didn’t mean I was opening the door to them hurting me all over again. I can assure you that DIDN’T go over well with the church people and leaders I spoke with. To them, I was judged to be a very poor Christian and then treated as such.

I believe that forgiving someone who hasn’t changed or who hasn’t shown efforts to change is then for our own inner benefit, so we don’t live life doubled over in internal pain.

HOWEVER, if they haven’t changed, WHY would it be healthy for us to remove all boundaries and allow that person to hurt us all over again? That places our mental and physical health in peril!

I just came face to face with needing to forgive when I had a difficult conversation with my brother about our mother. Even after all these years I still struggle, because I have been hitting and passing the milestone ages she was at when she perpetrated the things she did to us. While I shake my head and can’t imagine doing those things to my daughter or to my grandkids, I see through the hindsight lens just how damaged she was/still is and how her mental health was not in a good place.

It’s always comforting to remember that “Healthy people don’t hurt others, damaged people do”. I believe that hearing that quote is one of the things which helps me on my continuous forgiveness journey.

Forgiveness needs to be done in stages when our understanding of the situation and our inner strength allows us to do so.

Commanding someone to forgive doesn’t respect where they are or if they’ve been able to heal or even to get themselves into safety!

Yes, the Bible tells us to forgive those who hurt us, but it doesn’t set a deadline! Pressuring those who may still be in harm’s way, or still very raw from the pain is counterproductive!

When people are abused, their sense of self-worth is not only diminished, but it can be non-existent!

They have internalized that they may deserve the abuse, why else would a spouse or family member be abusive? The message that a victim deserves to be punished can also be stated in various ways by supposedly well-meaning people, but who themselves don’t understand what abuse is and how it works.

A victim of abuse first needs safety from further harm! Then they need healing and help to build up a healthy sense of worth, for we’re ALL worthy of love and being loved in healthy ways!

This is the first messaging which needs to be addressed with victims. Healing is a process of not only recovering from the pain but also learning healthy ways of living and interacting with others!

This takes time!

When we work on our own inner healing and growth, we can slowly develop an understanding and appreciation that our perpetrator wasn’t healthy and was acting out of their own inner damage.

Remember: “Healthy people don‘t hurt others, damaged people do”.

Here’s some links to more help!

A helpful trick to be able to overcome negatively Comparing Ourselves to others…

“What kind of love do I allow in my life?”

Is Love Enough to Help Someone Kick a Drug Habit?

Angry judgementalism is tearing us all apart!

Setting “Boundaries with consequences”

Making a change… “How do I take that first step?”

An answer to dealing with the Inner Critic!

Teaching ourselves to like, even to love ourselves is the best gift we can give ourselves!

Do all that you can… the universe loves each of us and is working things out on our behalf!

As we practice being gentle and kind with ourselves, we actually help to speed the process of helping our lives become more positive!

By changing our inner dialogue, we change EVERYTHING!

Even after a setback or negative experience, we can create a “reset” button in our minds!

Confessions of a Former Anorexic

Is depression a lack of faith?

Anxiety Freedom – by Anthony Hopkins

Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a long time making it.

Not all storms come to disrupt your life, Some come to clear your path.

Be the flawed, QUIRKY, unique, beautiful and MAGICAL person that you are!

Blessings!
Thank you for sharing this post and for following me!
Tamara
https://tamarakulish.com/ Archived Posts: https://tamarakulish.com/archived-posts/

My books: Developing Happiness When You Can’t Find It and How to Heal Your Life on a Deep Heart Level are available in paperback and Kindle. Audio book available!

Guided Journals help you work on a particular issue by answering questions to help see patterns and to find solutions:

Removing Inner Blocks,    Anger Journal,    Guided Anxiety Journal    Joy & Mindfulness Journal     My Boundaries Journal   My Inner Thoughts Journal   

Thanks for buying my books on Amazon!

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12 thoughts on “Forgiving is difficult, and doesn’t equal allowing the person to hurt us again!

  1. Great post! I don’t believe that forgiving someone but not allowing them to hurt you again is unchristian. I think it’s common sense! What a shame that some churches have lost that!

    God bless you on your healing and forgiving journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so very much! I agree with you! I think it’s a shame, but unfortunately many, many people are being re-victimized through this. I remember going into the restrooms during service to cry and there were quite a number of men and women in the restrooms crying or with red eyes standing outside. Very saddening.

      Like

    1. I totally agree with you! We each have the responsibility to heal ourselves! No one can do it for us and we can’t do it for someone else. The thoughts we choose determine how we do.

      Like

  2. I like your take on this Tamara – my own path to forgiveness was getting people out of my head so I occupy my thoughts on the future and people who mattered.

    That doesn’t mean through forgiveness I want them back in my life – it would feel like I’ve gone backwards ten years and also undone a lot of the healing process it took to move onwards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I totally agree! Forgiveness doesn’t equal accepting them back in our lives!

      That’s such a common misconception and probably why many people struggle with that step!

      I was told I wasn’t a good Christian for not allowing my abuser more opportunities to hurt me! (I was supposed to turn the other cheek!)

      Just because I’VE forgiven doesn’t magically make the other person stop being abusive or turn them into a great person!

      We need to set our own healthy boundaries for what’s best for our own mental health!

      Like

  3. Beautiful post as usual. Love the quote – “Healthy people don’t hurt others, damaged people do”. My ex was really really bad to me when we were together but over the years after conversations with him, I have come to forgive him and just have plain closure from it all. So many friends find that totally absurd and think I should still be mad at him – but I find holding onto grudges more absurd. Though I think it is easier to forgive those who are not an active part of our lives. What do you think? Especially when those in your life that don’t seem to want to change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Admittedly, I do struggle to be around some people who don’t want to change. I find I tend to back away from them and I do keep my walls up around them. For me, when trust has been broken it needs work to be restored and if the other person isn’t willing or able to do that work, I’m not going to do it all for them. In my mind that would be enabling them.

      However if a person is sorry for what they did and gives a heartfelt apology, I do make efforts to move past it with them. I understand that you could move forward with your ex, for I forgave (eventually) mine and went on to having a pleasant relationship even if we’d never be pals! He passed away a few years ago and I’m glad we were able to “mend the fences” between us.

      I agree that forgiving those who aren’t an active part in our lives can feel easier, because the hurtful acts were stopped. They’re in the past and no longer happening to us.

      Out of the people who have hurt me in the past and who I have forgiven, would I choose to allow them to re-enter my life? The short answer is NO, for many haven’t changed, and I choose not to allow their drama or negativity back into my life!

      That’s where healthy boundaries come into play! If a person is still hurtful to others and still chooses to continue with it, then I make the conscious decision who I allow back into my world!

      Like

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