Tuesday, March 22, 2016

When Forgiveness Feels Like Selling Out

For a few months, I've been reading heavily on living with mental illness, growing up surrounded by it, and living with toxic and unhealthy people.

I discovered a couple of Susan Forward books, Mothers Who Can't Love and Toxic Parents. I think most of us who blog on narcissists are already pretty well versed in what makes them tick and what gets them off, and the support from the community of survivors is a very solid tool for understanding. something that Forward writes about in her books is how forgiveness is not a necessity - how for many people it can impede rather than enhance their progress.

Why should you forgive someone who treated you like shit when you were at your weakest and most vulnerable? Because God says so? Because your abusers say so? Because some asshole who doesn't know the truth about how you were treated says so?

I don't buy that shit. I am pretty damn happy now that I've made a conscious decision that I don't have to forgive anyone unless I want to. If it doesn't happen, I won't lose sleep over it or tell myself what a bad and childish person I must be that I can't "turn the other cheek." Forgiveness is only divine for the bully that gets to walk away laughing if you're sitting in a heap of mess over the pain they continue to cause you.

If you want to forgive, do it. If you don't want to, don't do it. Just because other people tell you what they want you to believe does not make them correct. Opinions are like assholes, and some assholes are more offensive than others.


  1. I am now an advocate of hiring movers to get away from them and slipping them an extra twenty to drop something on their foot.

  2. Yeah I used to tell people if they can live with my mother live with her and THENthey can tell me about forgiving that psychopathic slut. Can I call her a slut? THAT SLUT!

  3. IMO forgiveness has to be EARNED and even then it's up to the forgiver whether or not to bestow that gift on their abuser.
    This is really a non-issue because no genuine narc would ever make the slightest effort to seek forgiveness.

  4. It's true that my NM has never asked for forgiveness in a genuine way. I have spent so much time thinking I should forgive for my own sake, because I thought that was so fucking important to healing, but it feels much too complicit in her lies to allow it all to "go away".

  5. Remember the post I stole from you that was from Anna V's blog? I don't think she advocates forgiveness for forgiveness sake.

  6. Man, I love Anna V.'s blog. After reading back through my blog today, I can see the issue of forgiveness comes up a lot - I go through cycles over and over thoughts about what it means, why I can't. I really want to just break that and be done, but I must not be ready for that yet.

  7. Yk, forgiveness was never an issue, never even pinged my radar-until I found the ACs on line. I was quite shocked actually about all the "forgiveness" debating. Why didn't I even think of it as necessary-or even an issue? I thought about that long and hard-I never struggled with forgiveness. It was simply a non-issue. Would I forgive a snake for being a snake? A bear for being a bear? Of course not: That's who and what they are.
    And Ohhh, the Forgiveness Police just shake their fingers at me-Imma baaad girl! (And I love it heh heh!) It's like being stuck in a nightmare of bumper to bumper barely crawling traffic behind some "collector" of bobble-heads, many of whom have taken up permanent residence on the shelf behind the back seat of their car. "You forgive for yourself!" Well, myself doesn't require forgiveness. "If you don't forgive you'll be an angry, bitter person!" Really? What a paucity of human responses your pea brain has conjured up: This is the same either/or world view of the perpetrators. Get a flea collar.
    Good to see you, Bess. You're missed when you're not around. :)

  8. Thanks, TW. I've been missing you guys, too.