Some of y’all wrote in the comments of this post that when it comes to forgiveness, we need to forgive the action rather than the person. And I agree. But actually, I forgave my abuser quite a while ago now.
I was able to see that he was a deeply flawed and wounded person, and that his need to control things caused his desire to assault women (I wasn’t the first one he’d beaten up, I found out later). And I also know and accept that what happened wasn’t personal – none of it. What he did… he did out of his own pain.
Others commented that forgiveness is one of the hardest things to deal with. And I say abso-freaking-lutely! It really, really is.
The required forgiveness I mentioned in my last post was all about me.
I’m the one I have to forgive.
Somehow I have to find a way to stop blaming myself for not seeing him clearly enough.
I carry around a lot of blame about those things, even though I know I’m only human, that mistakes get made, and I’m not omniscient or a mind reader. I certainly don’t know everything AND particularly, I didn’t know something that I really wish I had.
I’ve rationalised and discussed it endlessly. I know the story inside out on a whole bunch of levels, too. All those people who almost automatically say “it’s not your fault” aren’t really helping. Because in some ways I really get that. I do.
But the seed of the thought remains: how come I didn’t know he was a violent and manipulative sociopath?
Generally I have a razor-sharp gut feel for the “rightness” or “wrongness” of someone in my world. Yet at the time when that particular skill really mattered, I let myself down.
Or so a very unforgiving part of me says, anyhow.
While I don’t have a 100% strike rate with my instincts, it’s right up there in the high 90% range. Mostly I listen very carefully, because those messages are always right. So… my inner debate has been about whether I just didn’t know that time (and if so, why not?!) OR if I knew and somehow ignored the red flags (blame, blame, blame!).
The other thing I have to forgive is “the past” – as a tangible thing, and something that has (from a certain perspective) been stolen from me. Stolen away years of my life. But then I ask myself, who did the stealing? Certain answers might suggest that it was me and not him. Sure, I wasn’t the one who turned my face into a bruised (and so NOT hot) mess, and I definitely had little to do with my (probably but never confirmed) cracked cheekbone that hurt for weeks and weeks afterwards.
But I was the one who didn’t get the help I needed. Who hid all of the pain as best as I could. So others couldn’t see, because heck, it was just too embarrassing. Yeah, I’m the loser who was beaten up in my own home… I couldn’t stand the pity. People looking at me as if I was weak or stupid.
It would be too raw, too hard, too much to ask when I could barely keep myself from falling apart. (Of course, if someone else told me about something like this, I would NEVER think of them that way. But it doesn’t stop my mind from telling me what I loser I was!)
After a while, I guess I did know that I needed help but I just couldn’t make myself go and get it. And I wouldn’t let anyone else close enough to see what was going on. Just like a wounded animal.
I was pretty good at the hiding all of that apparently, because lots of people, including my own family claim not to have noticed that anything was up with me. Or they simply ascribed my behaviour to other things… *shrugs* It’s impossible to say now.
Anyway. Those stories of blame are the voices of some of the nasty little demon folk I have to contend with. They like to get all shouty and geez, but they can be persistent.
The kinder, wiser, more yogic part of my being (who is doing her best to forgive the shouty demons, the parts of me that won’t forgive other parts and everything else)… she gets it, that none of it matters. That in some ways, there’s nothing to forgive.
That yogi-part is all: hey, so life hasn’t turned out the way we wanted it to. So what? There’s so much to do and learn! And while it’s meant to be easy to let things go, in the real world with it’s thousand and one inputs, sometimes it just isn’t. So, we do what we can to heal, and then go and search for happiness! Because sure, life has sucked an awful lot, but it doesn’t have to keep sucking. And yeah, it hurts that in all likelihood we’ve missed our chance at being a mother. That just blows in so many ways! Still, there are plenty of things left to do in this life…
And so on.
I called this blog “A journey from assault to wholeness” because when all this began, I felt like I was in a million little pieces scattered all over the floor. These days, I am much more whole than I used to be, AND I know my life isn’t as terrible as many others. I really do know that.
But to be very truthful, there’s only a handful of things that keep me going when those shouty demons get extra loud: the notion of transforming my life into one of service to others, practicing and teaching yoga, riding my push bike and giggles and kisses from my little nieces.
That’s all I have. They are the thoughts and experiences that actually kept me alive when I was rather seriously thinking about the alternative. And now… they help keep me focused on creating a new life for myself.
Things are better now… much better, actually. Heck, it’s all relative, right? But still, forgiving the events that sucked me into an alternate reality for so many years? And forgiving myself for allowing things to stay like that for so long?
Uhhh… that’s still a work in progress.
So thank goodness for things like kinesiology, yeah?