As I think of the different stages in my healing process and what to blog about next; the word FORGIVENESS screamed at me.
I have heard by so many people say: “I can’t believe you actually forgave him.” “I could never forgive anyone who did any of those things to me.” My response? I didn’t forgive him FOR HIM. I forgave him FOR ME! What do I mean by that? I did not forgive his actions, I did not excuse what he did. What I decided to do was to let go of what had happened so that the circumstance no longer controlled me and my emotions. Because honestly, I felt that if I was still holding onto all of that in a sense, he still had a hold on me.
I had to do it for me, I had to completely 100% have all of my peace back, That part of my life could no longer hold me as it’s hostage. You see, physically I was no longer the victim to domestic violence, but as long as I allowed the anger to stay there, psychologically I was still the victim, and I would continue to be until I released it.
Forgiveness first starts with yourself. Through domestic violence comes a lot of embarrassment, shame and guilt. So realizing that none of it was your fault is step number one. Realizing that you actually were not the problem is the biggest step in forgiving yourself. Also, you should not feel shame or guilt either. For one, people on the outside do not tend to know what really goes on in these types of relationships. I have said in a previous blog that it can be so easy for an “outsider” to say “Why did you stay after the first time?” It is not their fault that they do not know these things. It just shows that there needs to be more awareness about the issue at hand.
Why are you ashamed? Is it because of the time you spent in the situation? There should be no shame in that. I could never look at the amount of time someone stays in these types of relationships. There are so many factors that play a role into why men and women stay in these relationships: Children play a huge role, some people try to stay and hope for change for the sake of the kids, they want to get help, they want the kids to have both parents in their lives. Another huge factor is fear: Fear due to the threats on you or your families lives. The threats such as “If you try to leave you won’t make it out alive.”
I cannot stress enough about how domestic violence is so much more than just physical abuse. I say it far too often and have heard other survivors say: “The bruises from physical abuse heal and fade away, it is the bruises from the emotional abuse, the bruises on your heart, the cuts and scars on your soul, those are the wounds that take serious time to heal. Those are the wounds that neosporin and a bandage cannot heal. Those are the wounds that can take months even years just to START to heal.
That is where forgiveness comes into play. Forgiveness is an emotional ointment to those cuts and bruises to your heart and soul. Again, when you forgive, you are not forgiving the person for what they have done. In fact, when you actually forgive that person you are totally telling them that you are in complete control of your life, that you are strong and courageous and that you have moved on. You just proved that YOU ARE SOMETHING without them, and that YOU CAN MAKE IT without them. Forgiveness is one of many victories you will have in your healing process. Below is a link I want to share on a definition of Forgiveness: