Forgiveness after Trauma

Forgiveness after Trauma

Forgiveness. What a loaded word, an emotionally triggering word for some. It means many things to different people.

How can you forgive a person who has hurt or betrayed you? How can survivors of trauma forgive their perpetrator(s)? How can anyone forgive injustice? What happens after you forgive, does it mean the person is not accountable for their actions? Does forgiveness mean that injustice does not receive consequences?

Forgiveness. It is breaking free from the chains that bind you and your betrayer together. It is an act of choosing freedom. It means that you will not allow yourself to be captive to your trauma, to your painful past, to the person/people that have wronged you.

You cannot force forgiveness. It cannot be pried open, manipulated, or coerced. It cannot be dictated by the words of clergymen, politicians, therapists, or any other person in authority, because only you can authorize it. It can only come from you, on your time, when you are ready.

Forgiveness. It does not mean wrongdoings go unseen or minimized. Forgiveness does not mean consequences are revoked. Forgiveness only means that you are free. That the weight you carry is not yours to carry and that releasing the burden of anger and resentment will allow you more space to focus on yourself and enhance your quality of life.

Some believe that to forgive means keeping ties with the person that caused you pain, and while that may be satisfying for some people; for many survivors of trauma and others- that is not what is most preferable or healthy. You do not need to befriend or rekindle ties with anyone because you have forgiven them. You have the right to continue to assert yourself with them, distance yourself, and begin anew. You can continue to walk separate paths in life with forgiveness because forgiveness is solely about you, not them….and when you find the courage to forgive, begin by forgiving yourself first.

Forgiveness. You are love. You are peace. You are freedom.

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