I have tried to reach the point of forgiveness, heard the theories of evils associated with holding on to grudges, and had practical experiences of feeling relieved after forgiving the person for their wrongdoings.
Even a woman who had been deeply into meditation for the last year asked me to forgive my spouse on the account that it was my choice to spend my time on earth with him to learn a valuable lesson in my life cycle.
How could I forget what I went through for a decade and a half? Domestic Violence in all forms, from sexual abuse to verbal abuse, economic abuse to physical abuse, name-calling to emotional abuse.
I fought my husband and in-laws only for the rights of my two daughters but somewhere I forgot to fight for my own rights, finally, the woman in me could take the abuse no more; along with the discovery of various illicit relationships of my spouse with house helps. This also revealed the true faces of all the relatives associated with him.
I tried to move on for several months but life seem to be stuck and I felt like I am punishing myself and my daughters by not forgiving him. Every day I would try new ways to forgive him but I could only think of how he tortured me and this brought a rage in my heart instead of forgiveness.
This repeated cycle sent me into depression and I recognized that I was not doing good as I was putting on weight, losing interest in day-to-day activities, and even losing all my interest in the studies of children which was my favorite time.
Medication, family support, and a daily morning walk routine helped me a lot in overcoming depression. Then on I decided not to focus on forgiveness, rather focus on myself and spend more and more time to know myself better as it was due to God’s grace that I am now free from an abuser and can lead a happy life. As for forgiveness, I have realized that we don’t always need to forgive a person. But I do understand that he could not overcome the wickedness in his nature because he is too weak.
LIVING WITHOUT FORGIVING
It is not okay to carry around the burden of forgiveness when the trauma in your life does not allow the anger and hatred to let go. How could you not break at the thought of forgiving your abuser? How would you not feel hatred against the people who aided the perpetrators of such a crime? When you have seen enough hell, how could someone allure you by saying that forgiveness opens door to heaven?
There are better ways to talk to a trauma victim, just lend your compassionate ears if you can, that does the magic to the battered soul. They don’t need to be told where their abuser was wrong or where they could have saved themselves, and they don’t need to be lectured on the greatness of forgiveness, just let them deal with their pain and if you can’t see them in pain; leave them alone.
Trauma comes in different ways, silent, accidental, planned, could span over a long period of time, or could be as short as lasting for a few minutes. But the pain and grief it brings along are lifelong and scars are sometimes visible but much deeper are the scars that never show on the surface. How does it change the person physically and emotionally, can only be heard in the stories of the horrid incidences from the person?
As a survivor of domestic violence, I could say that if you do not have the power to defeat pain, then you hold no right to suggest a person forgive their perpetrators or even mention the words, “let go and move on.” Someday when I am healed, when I realize God’s plan and understand that not everyone can give up their vices, maybe I could be sympathetic towards my abuser. But now I proudly say to others that I am in pain and I can never forgive.