Healing from childhood trauma is an incredibly challenging journey.
Finding the strength to accept what you have experienced and learn to live with the memory is never easy. Many people would try to convince you that the key to moving on is forgiveness. But how can you forgive someone who took advantage of your innocence and hurt you when you were helpless?
Not everyone deals with traumatic experiences the same, and that’s undeniable. While, for some, forgiveness might be the key to finding peace, it doesn’t necessarily work every time. Therefore, what turns out to be beneficial for your journey might not be suitable to others’ paths towards overcoming the pain.
However, there is one thing that applies to everyone: Healing takes time.
Recovering from a toxic childhood takes a tremendous amount of energy, strength, patience, and, of course, time. But there is one secret no one tells you. You can leave the trauma behind without forgiving your abuser.
No matter how many people try to tell you that you can never move on if you deny giving forgiveness, know that this is not always an essential step of your healing process. Although it has been proven that forgiving helps you find inner peace, no one can guarantee it works every time. Hence, you should never allow anyone to put you in a position where you feel guilty for not being able to treat your abuser with clemency.
Forgiveness may be helpful, but it is not always needed.
If you try to force yourself into forgiving the person who hurt you in the past, you might make things a lot worse than they are. You might destroy the recovery progress you have made so far and return right where you started. This could even make you feel as if you were in the wrong, which is a thought that will hurt you even more. So, if you don’t believe your abuser deserves compassion, or if you cannot find a single reason why you should forgive them, then don’t force yourself into it.
According to Psychology Today, there is only one way to get ‘unstuck and move forward’ while trying to heal from toxic childhood: Let go.
But letting go isn’t as simple as forgive and forget.
You can’t erase the memories of what you have experienced. You can’t simply pretend that you were never hurt and the people responsible for your pain never mistreated you.
What you can do is shift your focus from the things that hold you back to the ones that help you grow. You can work on figuring out what works best for you and your personal healing process.
The change from clinging to the past to investing in your future is called ‘goal disengagement’. It represents the act of letting go of one goal and moving towards another, more achievable and more beneficial one. You choose to concentrate your attention on healing, rather than hurting.
If you are trying to overcome toxic childhood memories, know that it takes time. Letting go will not be easy. However, when you finally find the key to healing, it will be cathartic.
In case you are aware that forgiveness will not help you recover your inner peace, don’t feel obligated to give it. No one knows exactly what you are going through, so don’t let others tell you how to deal with it. You may seek your loved ones’ guidance, but never allow anyone to force you to do something that might break you even more.