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Forgiving Our Abusers

For those of us struggling with addiction and mental illness, one of the commonalities so many of us share is the personal experience of having been abused in the past. Whether we were abused by a family member, partner or stranger, the pain can be debilitating and can stay with us years after the initial trauma. When we don’t feel as though we’ve healed from the abuse we sustained, and when we aren’t able to make peace with our pasts, we can feel entirely blocked in our recovery, because the pain we’re carrying is literally sabotaging our efforts in recovery and preventing us from getting well. The pain we continue to feel fuels our mental and emotional health issues. Our addictions thrive on the pain of our abuse, and we use our drugs of choice to numb ourselves to it, to self-medicate, to escape it, and to zone out enough that we temporarily forget it. We might feel as though our addictions developed directly out of our traumatic experiences. We might suffer from depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and other trauma-related conditions.

Blocked in Our Recovery

Many of us feel blocked in our recovery because we don’t know how to cope with the pain of our abuse. We don’t know how to let it go or free ourselves from its clutches. We don’t know how to stop it from keeping us sick, addicted and unwell. We may have tried everything we can think of to move on from the abuse. We might have tried to forget about it. We might have suppressed the memories along with all of our related emotions, burying them deep down inside of us. We might have used avoidance, denial, and secrecy as coping mechanisms. We may have tried working with a therapist but continue to feel haunted by the pain of our abuse. We still feel anger towards our abusers. We might still feel resentful and spiteful towards them, even if we’re no longer in contact with them. We still feel deep sadness and fear. We feel a pervasive sense of shame, unworthiness, and inadequacy because of having been abused. We blame ourselves for the abuse, telling ourselves it was somehow our fault. Our bodies hold onto the energy of our emotions, and we can feel the physical manifestations of them in the pain, discomfort, and illness we experience in our bodies.

Energetically Releasing Our Pain

For many of us, true healing can only come when we’ve released ourselves from the pain of our abuse. This doesn’t mean that we forget what happened to us or that we refuse to acknowledge it. Releasing the pain doesn’t mean we’re saying the abuse was acceptable. It’s not condoning the abuse, enabling the abuser, or letting him or her get away with it. It’s simply saying that we want to be free from the anger, spite, resentment, and pain that have been holding us back. Releasing pain doesn’t mean it leaves us, or that it magically no longer exists in our minds, hearts, bodies, and spirits. It doesn’t mean it is no longer part of our existence or our life experience. It means we are releasing ourselves energetically from the hold it has over us. It means we’re freeing ourselves from its paralyzing, immobilizing effects. One of the best ways to release pain, which can be a huge challenge for many of us, is in finding forgiveness.

The Benefits of Forgiveness

How can we forgive our abusers when they did unspeakable, unforgivable things to us? Forgiveness is not condoning or making light of something very wrong, and it is not for our abusers’ benefit that we are working to forgive them. It is for our sake, for our peace of mind, for our wellness. Forgiveness is about finding peace within ourselves so that we can move forward and stop allowing our pain to drive our lives and hold us back. When we forgive, we take away some of our biggest emotional triggers for relapsing in our addictions and depression. We empower ourselves to be in more control of our mental and emotional health. We take the power away from our abuser, who has had a psychological hold over us for so long, and we’re reclaiming that power, giving it back to us, where it belongs.

Practicing Compassion

One of the ways we can forgive our abusers, even when it feels impossible to, is to try and generate compassion for them and for whatever suffering they must have experienced to hurt us in the ways that they did. One common way that people explain this concept is in the simple phrase, “hurt people hurt people.” If our abusers had been happy, healthy and at peace, they couldn’t and wouldn’t have abused us. Were they abused, perhaps in ways that we do not know of? Were they being persecuted by their own ailments that drove them to take their pain out on us? Can we practice having compassion for them and for the painful experiences they went through that caused them to inflict pain on us? This practice is far from easy. It requires that we essentially be the “bigger person” and have compassion for people who didn’t have compassion for us. It asks that we open our hearts to see the common thread of suffering that weaves through all of human nature and ties us together.

The caring, compassionate staff of The Guest House is here to support you as you start your journey to recovery and healing. 

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488