The Forgiveness Conundrum: Why I Can’t Forgive My Abuser, Even Though I Know I Should

Forgiveness is for the benefit of the forgiver, but I still can't bring myself to do it-bettysbattleground.com

Forgiveness. That noble condition of the human mind which allows us to reconcile our past pains with our survival instinct. Some believe forgiveness brings us closer to the divine by allowing us the opportunity to rise above those who have hurt us. Others think of it as a way to absolve ourselves from pain and trauma.

Me? I’m a grudge bearer. I’m not exactly proud of this. I believe that forgiveness is an admirable ability. But it’s pointless to try to pretend away a quality of mine which is so very obviously real. Betrayal embitters me. Even small slights, those I can eventually forgive, keep their teeth in me much longer than for most.

When I was in grad school, a roommate, driven by weird jealousy and social isolation, made a false accusation against me. Nothing came of it. It didn’t leave a mark on my record, and nobody believed her; what she did was petty and stupid and everyone knew it, but I was furious. I raged at her. I called her a “cunt” to her face even though I am a feminist. It was vengeance, pure and simple; even if only vengeance enacted as cruel language and glaring. My husband once told me that if I could forgive Betsy, the roommate, I could probably obtain enlightenment.

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