As per Pete Walker – a very gifted and insightful complex trauma survivor and therapist
“There has been a lot of shaming, dangerous and inaccurate “guidance” put out about forgiveness in the last few years, in both the recovery community and in transpersonal circles. Many survivors of dysfunctional families have been injured by the simplistic, black and white advice that decrees that they must embrace a position of being totally and permanently forgiving in order to recover.
Unfortunately, those who have taken the advice to forgive abuses that they have not fully grieved, abuses that are still occurring, and/or abuses so heinous they should and could never be forgiven, often find themselves getting nowhere in their recovery process. In fact, the possibility of attaining real feelings of forgiveness is usually lost when there is a premature, cognitive decision to forgive.
This is because premature forgiving intentions mimic the defenses of denial and repression. They keep unprocessed feelings of anger and hurt about childhood unfairnesses out of awareness.
It is also especially important to note that certain types of abuse are so extreme and damaging to the victim that forgiveness may simply not be an option. Examples of this include sociopathy, conscious cruelty, and many forms of scapegoating and parental incest.”
~ Pete Walker
I am really concerned about the amount of ‘advice’ out there, about complex trauma survivors ‘having’ to forgive and being told they will not heal unless they do. Which is very harmful and unwise.
It is simply ‘shame shifting’ to suggest forgiveness is necessary. Victims of severe childhood abuse, should not be shamed in this way, or made to feel they are the ones in the wrong, for not forgiving as per someone else’s opinion and timeframe.
It is no-one’s right to suggest forgiveness is necessary, or how long a forgiveness journey should be.
This shaming, needs to stop.
(I am blessed to have Pete’s permission to use his info, to help others and his support for my website and work).