Stop Telling Victims of Abuse They Need to Forgive Their Abusers

Emotional freedom isn’t dependent on forgiveness

Suzanna Quintana
The Virago

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Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

We’ve heard it a million times.

Forgiveness of someone else will set you free.

I respectfully disagree.

And while we’re at it, who exactly owns the right to define forgiveness? Is there some higher Forgiveness Council I’m unaware of that has their holier-than-thou minions go around policing others and telling them how to forgive?

So many people (including myself) have watched their healing journey come to a screeching halt whenever they even have to think about forgiving the person who hurt them.

And who may still be hurting them.

A person in an abusive relationship has already been conditioned to absorb the guilt and shame for what’s happening to them. They’ve been gaslighted, manipulated, smeared, deceived, and experienced life-altering heartbreak, after which they’re told their first order of business is to forgive the one who caused it all.

Hello, Trauma.

This backward system of forgiveness has a profoundly damaging effect since it protects abusers who are very often remorseless and unapologetic for their dirty deeds.

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Suzanna Quintana
The Virago

My voice is my superpower. Editor-in-Chief of The Virago. Founder of The Online Sanctuary for Healing After Narcissistic Abuse. www.suzannaquintana.com