When it was time for me to take back control of my life and move past the abuse that was subconsciously a factor in almost all my decision making, it was hard. But the reason I’m writing this article is because forgiving didn’t work the way I thought it would when I realized I needed to move completely past the abuse.
I worked with a therapist, which I had for several years and surprisingly one of the easiest things to do was move past my abuser, who for the record, was a “family friend”. I didn’t have to forgive him, and I didn’t refuse to forgive him. I realized I was completely indifferent to him. He became just a guy with a really serious problem that meant nothing to me anymore. So why didn’t I feel better? Shouldn’t I feel some enormous weight lifted?
There I sat, in the chair across from my therapist and she asked a life changing question. “What would you say to your nine-year-old self?” I sat calmly for a few minutes and really thought about the question until I finally had the answer. “I’m sorry”. Then I just lost it. I cried, pretty much off and on for a week.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it wasn’t my fault. What I was apologizing for was an empathetic and sympathetic apology.
I’m sorry you weren’t protected. I’m sorry you lost your innocence. I’m sorry you spent so many years feeling alone. I’m sorry he caused you so much pain.
I realized that it didn’t matter if other people could empathize or sympathize with me, I had to empathize and sympathize with myself.
The moment my therapist asked me that question and I answered, was the moment I felt the weight truly begin to lift. To be honest, as simple an event as that might sound like, I couldn’t have done it without my therapist, and I wouldn’t have wanted to. People don’t realize a therapist is so much more than just someone to talk to. A good therapist provides a safe space so you can address your most vulnerable feelings.
I think I will write about, Why therapy and How to choose a therapist in a future article.