Archive for April 16th, 2009

On my blog entry entitled In the Spotlight: Nancy Richard’s Heal and Forgive Blog, a reader posted the following comment:

How about forgiving yourself:

Forgive yourself for being young, vulnerable, unable to live up to the impossible standards your abusers placed on you. Forgive yourself for being needy, forgive yourself for having your own thoughts and opinions, forgive yourself for being alive…

I know for myself, and I think for many other survivors, the main blame is placed on our own self.

So my goal in recovery has been to forgive myself. To give myself grace. To accept all of my selves, accept that I am human, and make mistakes and to cherish myself regardless. I think for me, that has been a huge key to my recovery… to standing up for myself, to feeling that I deserve life.

Forgiving myself is much more important than forgiving them. I don’t see them seeking forgiveness, but I do see myself needing that validation. ~ Cera

I think there is so much wisdom in the comment. I abridged it for sake of space, but you can read the entire comment here.

I agree that forgiving myself has been one of the most difficult parts of my healing journey. I find myself having to forgive myself for things that I would never expect of another person. I have to forgive myself for being human … for having needs … for not being perfect . I don’t begrudge my eight-year-old child for needing his mother, but I begrudge myself for having needs that went unmet when I was eight (and much younger).

I see my eight-year-old child as an innocent little kid. I view myself at eight as being an adult and beat myself up for not making adult choices at that age. I have a very hard time reconciling what an eight year old is like with what I expected of myself at age eight.

When my son makes mistakes, I see it as a learning experience. When he does something the wrong way, he learns why it was wrong and then makes a better choice the next time. When I make a mistake, I believe I don’t even deserve to live. I am a stupid, worthless person who should feel grateful that anyone even endures my presence on this earth. There is such a disconnect between how I feel toward my son and how I feel toward myself. Part of that is the distortion from my abusers, and part of that is a lack of self-love.

I will do just about anything for my child, but I deprive myself of the simple pleasures of life. I want my child to embrace life fully, but I fill my own life up with duties and responsibilities so there is no room or time for joy. In many ways, I am continuing to “punish” myself for being me. I think that forgiving myself is the way out of this cycle.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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