I see this occurring, all too often.
Religious people, can be the worst for this. I’ve heard many toxic and abusive statements, like ‘God won’t forgive you of your sins, if you don’t forgive your abusers’, ‘all sins are equal’. ‘I’ve forgiven, so should you’. Plus Buddhists deem you will get your ‘karma’ for not forgiving everyone of everything. They lord forgiveness over you as something if you do not have for everyone, makes ‘you’ the bad person. It really does become a big ego fest.
And this is all highly abusive.
This is all ‘shame-shifting’.
The only person that does need to feel shame, is the abuser. They do need to feel appropriate shame about their actions. They do need to feel remorse about the harm they caused. They need to seek to do what is necessary, to deal with it appropriately. Like be honest and tell the truth. Be honest about their motivations.
And if they did all this, they would not expect or demand anything from the victim. They would know the victim needs to deal with their healing, how the victim needs. They would know the victim is absolutely entitled to feel anger, rage, disgust and needs to grieve.
No-one gets to demand forgiveness.
No-one gets to demand, their interpretation of forgiveness.
No-one gets to demand reconciliation, or any further contact with the abuser.
Some things like child sexual abuse, can appropriately be deemed unforgiveable.
The only person who gets to consider whether they wish to forgive, is the victim.
They are free to forgive, and free not to forgive.
Neither is more morally right.
Those who want to believe they are morally superior, for forcing opinions about forgiveness, need to stop and try instead to develop some empathy.
And please note, I am someone who encourages forgiveness for most things in life. This blog only relates to heinous, intentional and planned abuse and suffering.
~ Lilly Hope Lucario
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I was so glad to see this blog shared 100’s of times. It also sparked social media debates. Which is good. Conversation about shame shifting, needs to happen.
I was also glad to see NAMI re-tweeting this poster. And mental health professionals.