And then there’s the latest abuser in my life: Mack [the narcissist]. His acts seem almost trivial in comparison. But they weren’t. Emotional abuse does damage to our spirits. Emotional abuse turns strong women into sniveling, apologetic doormats. We can’t afford to forgive emotional abusers. Emotional abusers are manipulative. They prey on our goodness. They count on our forgiveness. And they don’t stop abusing. To forgive an abuser is dangerous.
So how then, do we move on? I think there is a place for forgiveness when recovering from abuse. But the forgiveness is of ourselves. We forgive ourselves for getting, and staying, involved with these men. We forgive ourselves for ignoring the red flags. We forgive ourselves for going back. And eventually, organically, with time, we stop feeling angry. We stop feeling a tightness in our guts when we think of them. We stop feeling that boiling, red fury when we think of the way they treated us. We forgive ourselves for allowing them to treat us this way. But we don’t forgive them. And we don’t forget.