Can You Forgive Those Who Won’t Admit They Abused You?
Sacrilige of the Goddess wrote an insightful piece commenting on one rapist’s story and the forgiveness she feels for him. She writes that she feels this forgiveness because this man is able to see his wrongs and change his life, but that she feels unable to forgive her own abusers, who never even admitted they abused her.
I can understand this. Even though forgiveness is something you do for yourself, it is a lot easier to forgive those who admit their wrongdoing than those who deny it. After all, you develop a sense of sympathy for them, which is a lot harder to develop for someone who not only did something evil, but refuses to have any remorse.
It is also the case that forgiving requires accepting that the wrongdoing happened, and this is hard for survivors and even harder when the people around them won’t acknowledge their hurting. These may include abusers, but also friends and family who are otherwise non-abusive. If you are not being acknowledged, the step to accepting that someone wronged you and that there is no changing the fact, is extremely hard, and even harder is it to get past your anger towards those who abused you.
However, it is possible maybe not always to forgive people their wrongdoing if they don’t admit it in the first place, but to let go of your feelings of resentmetn about it. This does not mean you feel any sense of sympathy for the abuser, but indeed, that you have better things to do than to hold onto a grudge towards them. Maybe it also means acepting that they will likely never admit their wrongdoing, and it is up to you, as a survivor, to decide what you are going to do with the fact that the abuse happened anyway. This is hard work, and not all survivors will get there, but it is possible for many.