People who have been abused as children often balk at the thought of forgiving their abusers. Few abusers, if any, deserve forgiveness. However, every abuse survivor deserves to be freed from her past. Forgiveness is the key to letting go of the past and embracing a brighter future. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, not your abuser. You do not even need your abuser's participation in the process because forgiveness is about you, not him. Here is how you can forgive your abuser.
- Recognize the cost of staying bitter. You fuel your bitterness by thinking about your abuser and the ways he damaged your life. This keeps your focus on your past rather than on your present. Staying bitter keeps you mentally connected with a person you do not want in your life.
- Decide that you want to heal. Ask yourself if you are ready to do what it takes to sever this connection with your abuser so you can free yourself from your past.
- Choose to think about positive things. Each time your abuser crosses your mind, choose to think about something that makes you happy instead. Choose to channel your mental energy toward something that brings you joy rather than sorrow.
- Process painful emotions as they arise. You do not have to ignore your pain to forgive. Keep your focus on healing your pain instead of on hating your abuser.
- Become indifferent to your abuser. As you stop investing mental energy in hating your abuser, you will find yourself becoming indifferent to him. While most people think of hate as the opposite of love, the true opposite is indifference.