Some injuries and abuse are so bad, I believe it is both cruel and unrealistic to even suggest they be forgiven and forgotten totally. Some pain caused us by evil unconscious people is so deep, it can take years to come terms with. We live in a quick fix superficial society that espouses the idea that we always move onwards and upwards, but what if healing actually requires we move backwards and downwards, later to rise or emerge with more of our soul in tact for having embraced the depths, gaining resilience from our attempts to fully own, embrace and embody our legitimate anger, fear and pain without denying or minimising it in the face of someone’s invalidation and platitudes?
I moved away from A A meetings many years ago after being told anger was one of the seven deadly sins. This just didn’t sit well with me, for anger is really a cry from deep within that something unjust, cruel or diminishing has been done to us. A hallmark of a dysfunctional childhood is not being allowed our true feeling instinctual responses, nor our legitimate protest, and being shamed for them. The result is the development of what John Bradshaw and others have called ‘shame bound feelings’. Shame bound feeling become difficult to embrace or accept and we often turn them within creating real problems later in life. Without legitimate anger we cannot know our boundaries nor self protect when needed. We lose power, become sad or depressed and disempowered, we may legitimise or minimise abuse.
To be told we can only fully move on or heal when we forgive is just not true. In some cases we have to firmly and resolutely shut the door on damage. We will never come to a time or place where the hurt is fully gone but in time with work and courage to face our true responses I do believe many hurts lessen and we become strong in the formerly broken places. Our hurt contains a message for us we just must listen to.
There are times in healing we find ourselves back in hell. Times when we feel so heavy we do not know if we can face another day, days when ending it all seems the only solution to ease the pain, but my firm experience is if we just stay with these dark days and fully bear the weight and truth in time we can and do emerge again with more of our soul available. We can and do emerge from the fire of felt anger burned clean. We do emerge from feelings of sadness cleansed. We can emerge from the painful yet liberating dark night experience of this process with more of our light and spirit available to us.
We may then and only then be ready to let go of certain things, if that is what our soul requires for further healing and growth.