The who, what, when, where and how of forgiveness

I often sound like I hate her. I don’t. I sound like I haven’t given an ounce of forgiveness. I think an important point about giving my mother forgiveness is knowing she never asked for it or acknowledged needing it. She never knew she’d received it.

Several years ago I said I give my mother full forgiveness. What that means is I asked nothing back from her crimes against me. Her debt to me was dissolved. This personal step wasn’t an over night process. It was/is a personal understanding and has only to do with what was done to me. What was done to others is a totally different story.

What do I mean when I say I forgive my mother? It’s clearer to explain what I don’t mean.

  • Forgiveness doesn’t erase guilt or payment to society for crimes against me and them.
  • My pain hasn’t ended, it’s been redirected and eased.
  • Even after forgiveness there is still a lot of work in therapy to complete.
  • It doesn’t mean there’s no anger or mean that the abuse doesn’t matter.

What does forgiveness mean for me? It means and meant:

  • I stopped asking for justice in my case.
  • It meant I didn’t want to kill her anymore.
  • I didn’t want to see her suffer or die the way she died.
  • If ever the law decided she must be charged, I didn’t want to be the one on the other end of handing down sentencing for what she did to me. That’s the key right there. I didn’t want to be the one to hand down sentencing.

Acknowledgement from the public, financial compensation, life in prison and even her death can not give back what was so viciously stolen away.

Did my mother get away with abusing me? Yes. Society’s laws concerning incest and abuse allowed my mother to get away with abusing me year after year, after year, but that is a separate issue from me offering full forgiveness.

Why was my mother allowed to leave so many victims in her wake but never serve a day in jail? How can I forgive a debt she owes elsewhere? I can’t. I can only offer it for a debt she owed me which means I had to acknowledge she was an abuser.

What has forgiveness done for me?

  • I feel like giving forgiveness has helped me focus more on personal growth and care for my needs more efficiently.
  • Instead of focusing time on her debt to me, I’ve been able to redirect focus on getting better, on recovering, on learning life lessons missed while being abused.
  • I’ve been able to grow up emotionally.
  • Personally, being able to offer debt cancellation to my mother meant I could apply this valuable asset in other areas of my life.

It wasn’t just my mother I couldn’t forgive or couldn’t recover from, I couldn’t let go of anything. Only looking back was I able to see that withholding forgiveness from her, clogged me up and prevented me from releasing such toxicity and nastiness. How could I grow holding all that in? I personally could not.

My mother was never told she was forgiven. She didn’t need to know because….its about me unclogging, being more free and advancing emotionally. For so long I needed something tangible that proved she hurt me. I needed that but honestly, the validation that made the difference came from me not outside me. I was abused. I was tortured, raped and brainwashed. The validation that truly mattered came from me, it also came way, way before forgiveness.

How did I get to the point of forgiveness? Was there a process?
Yes, but I didn’t realize it at the time. It started when I began a family tree of experiences. I began going over the lives of her sisters and saw areas where I understood some of her less offensive behaviors. I understood why she sought after her mother in complete disregard for emotional safety because I’d done the same. After awhile of writing up the family tree of experiences I began to see my mother as a person, which took away some of her power over me.

I started to see my mother for what she truly was, naked and alone, powerless at her mother’s feet. Looking at her life experiences she appeared pathetic. That’s honestly how it started. It wasn’t intentional. The more I learned about her the more human she was and the less super human she seemed.

I never believed she should be given forgiveness. I was angry at the thought of it.

I’d love to erase her from my mind and forget everything. I’d love to do that. The best way for me to erase the devastation and move forward was to erase the debt. In my mind, forgiveness gave me the green light to dissolve her debt to me.

My mother was morally bankrupt, how would she pay me back? Is the justice system going to pay me back? How can they when they continue to allow the abuse of children? Clearly, the action needed was with me. If there was to be any hope at all, I’d have to be the one to seek it out. I believe the first steps to hope came with forgiveness.


10-9-17 . 4:46 pm EST

Related Posts

No need to feel nervous, comment if you'd like.

%d bloggers like this: