5 Crippling Lies About Forgiveness (and the Truths That Set You Free)

Man with Arms Raised

“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim.” ~C.R. Strahan

It’s not fair, is it?

Getting hurt. All over again.

It wasn’t so bad forgiving them the first time. You rose to the occasion. You became the bigger person. You tried to move on.

You thought you had to. After all, they did ask nicely.

You just knew you’d be BFFs again and go right back to, “Let’s go for Jamba Juice!”

But it didn’t go down like that, did it?

No BFFs. No Jamba Juice. Not even a check-in text.

You put it all on the line and forgave them. Now they’ve let you down again, and you can’t help but think it was the biggest mistake you ever made. And on top of it all, you can’t stop wondering why it all happened to you.

I used to wonder that too.

When I was fourteen, my mom sent me away. She thought it would be nice if there were a nun in the family. And I was going to be it.

I had never been further than my Mamaw’s house. I had just shaved my legs for the first time and gotten my room back after the toddlers moved into the new add-on.

Now, I’d be sharing a room with three other postulants over 1,100 miles away—sleeping on used hospital beds. In silence. For six years.

My life, as I knew it, had ended.

I wasn’t allowed to spend holidays at home. I never got another birthday present. And for six years, all I wore was a homemade blue habit with a plastic collar I had to scrub with a toothbrush.

But then I got out. And my life ended all over again.

Where do you fit when you don’t fit anywhere? I didn’t know anyone. No one knew me. My little brothers and sisters were all teenagers by then. My dad had married the woman he’d had an affair with. And to top it all off, my mom wouldn’t let me come home.

I just wanted to move on. I thought forgiving everyone would make it okay. Forgive my family for giving me away. Forgive the nuns for going all American Horror Story on me. Forgive the Catholic church for expecting me to make up something to say in confession every week. Forgive my parakeet for dying while I was gone.

The more I told myself to stop being angry, the angrier I got. The more I tried to let it go, the more it haunted me at every turn.

After six years, I should have been an expert at forgiveness. But in reality, I was as clueless as a homeless kid trapped in a grown-up twilight zone.

In the end, forgiveness actually became my ultimate game-changer. But only after I saw through the lies people led me to believe.

Can You Trust Everything You Believe About Forgiveness?

There’s a whole lot of noise out there about forgiveness. And you know what noise does? It chats up your Inner Victim and distracts you. The louder the noise gets, the quicker you need to call in your Inner Skeptic. Because some of the noise is nothing but big, fat lies.

Lying to yourself while you forgive someone is worse than not forgiving them at all.

If you want to open your heart to freedom, you must open your eyes about forgiveness. Here are some crippling myths about forgiving that leave you victimized and the truths that will set you free.

Lie: When I forgive, I have to forget what happened and move on.

Truth: Remembering how you got hurt empowers you to forgive and create the life you deserve.

When I got home, I tried to forgive my mom for making me grow up isolated and alone. I thought I had to forget that I’d never been allowed to talk to a guy who wasn’t a relative.

The one awkward time I got asked to dance at a happy hour, I freaked out and started picking an imaginary bug out of my drink. Right then, I wanted nothing more than to crawl into that cup and float around with the ice cubes.

Acting like the convent never happened was like walking through a minefield with my eyes shut and a great big target on my back. When you forget, you don’t know how to navigate. When you can’t navigate, you fake it.

Faking it is not forgiveness. Faking it does not set you free and keep you safe.

That’s why it’s important to remember. Remembering what happened gives you a compass for where you want to be. It lets you go easy on yourself while you design how it’s going to be from now on.

Remembering how I was kept isolated told me that I didn’t deserve to be lonely any longer. Once I knew I could surround myself with loving relationships in my life, I was open to forgiving my mom.

Honoring your reality lets you build the life you deserve and empowers you to forgive.

Lie: Forgiveness wipes the slate clean and gives them another chance to hurt me.

Truth: Forgiveness doesn’t invite you to get hurt again. Forgiveness empowers you to teach others how to treat you differently.

Forgiving someone takes a lot of honesty. Honesty about yourself and how you deserve to be treated, and honesty about the one who hurt you and how they’re inclined to act around you.

You don’t cause the way someone else acts, but you can invite them to act differently with you. If they don’t want to play nice, you get to change the way you show up around them.

When my brother texted me that they all changed their minds about picking me up at the airport, I got frantic. It was Christmas. Mom’s house was an hour away. And all the rental cars were taken.

When you trust people to be exactly who they are, you can adjust your expectations of them accordingly.

I told my family that I wanted control over my travel arrangements and would get my own room and join them for dinner.

The long drive gave me time to think and see them honestly after they let me down. Right then, I decided that I wouldn’t rely on unreliable people any longer. Suddenly, I wasn’t expecting them to rescue me. And I was able to forgive them.

Forgiveness lets you see your offender honestly and puts you in charge of how you’re treated.

Lie: I have to forgive someone or they won’t heal and be forgiven.

Truth: When someone asks for forgiveness, they want their own peace back. And that’s not even something you can give them.

One of the biggest truths I learned is that forgiveness heals me. I can’t do someone else’s healing for them.

The only time my mother ever asked me to forgive her was late at night, in the privacy of her own living room, at the bottom of a bottle of Sandeman’s Port.

“Will you forgive me? For everything?”

“Sure. Yeah. Of course,” I’d say. But next year would only find her crying at the bottom of another bottle. I wanted her to be happy. But I couldn’t go there for her.

Setting people free to walk through their own darkness is the truest test of your own freedom.

Lie: I can’t forgive someone who doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.

Truth: Forgiveness doesn’t give others what they deserve. Forgiveness gives you the only chance of ever getting what you truly deserve—your freedom.

Freedom means you let go of hurting and decide to take the good stuff for a change.

Letting yourself feel better takes a lot of trust. Trust that there’s enough good stuff out there for you. Trust that even if the bad guy gets some, there’s still always plenty for you.

My early phone chats with Mom always ended badly. She’d start in with, “Remember when you guys used to—” And I’d cut in that, “No, Mom. I don’t remember. I never lived in that house. I was in a convent.” As soon as she’d come back with, “Well, I hope you don’t think that was my idea!” the F-bombs would hit the fan.

I thought I never could forgive her if she wouldn’t admit all that happened to me. Truth is, I don’t think she’ll ever understand all that happened to me. And eventually, it didn’t matter. I stopped waiting for her to deserve it and just gave myself the good stuff anyway.

Forgiveness isn’t about balancing the scales of justice. Forgiveness is about attaining your own freedom along the way.

Lie: I can’t forgive until I know the reason this happened to me.

Truth: You may never know the reason anything happened. But you can create your own reason for everything that happens now.

What happened to you wasn’t fair. But “why?” is a question you could be chasing to your grave.

Why torture yourself trying to make sense of what didn’t make sense? You already suffered through what actually happened to you. Why keep feeding the story with endless possibilities of terrible endings?

I wasted a lot of time wondering why. I wanted it all to somehow make sense. If it wasn’t my fault, it had to be somebody else’s. Because what’s more pointless than thinking that I sacrificed my entire youth for absolutely no reason at all?

Finally, I gave myself my own reason. I needed a reason to live now.

If I was going to live, I was going to love living.

The day I gave myself a reason to live was the day I stopped looking for the reason my youth had died.

That was the day that I became free.

Freeing yourself from the burden of “why?” sets you free from an eternal blame game with no end in sight.

How to Break Free Once and for All

Can I get real with you for a second?

We’ve all got an inner victim. Our own personal champion of lies and no way out. And it needs us to believe it.

Here’s the thing—lies get bigger when you believe them. But so does the truth.

Stop pointing fingers at the lies you’ve been led to believe.

You are not a victim. You are strong. And free. And powerful in your truth.

There’s not a thing standing in your way.

Set yourself free already! Take the good stuff for a change.

Man with arms raised image via Shutterstock

About Anne Bechard

Anne Bechard is a firm believer that you can totally follow your passion and keep your day job. She’s got a secret super power to turn dream-chasers into prosperous bloggers. Join her community and pick up your free copy of her Winning Tips That Make You a Profitable Blogger.

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  • Hi Anne
    Wow, what a story. I believe our ‘big’ self comes here with certain themes to explore and that leads us to the families we are born into,etc…and we are led to experience certain things to explore said themes. The little us may not really like what is happening and may not be able to see the bigger picture. That experience taught you so much wisdom that you can impart onto others.

    That doesn’t mean we can just get over things, never feel hurt or angry or what have you..resisting all that just makes it all stronger and more painful as you pointed out in here.

    I like what you said about that willingness to release the need to fully understand why something happened and to just focus on now. That is some powerful advice for sure. Our mind will want to dig around in the past and for all the hidden meanings,etc..and while that can certainly be valuable at times, sometimes just focusing on what is happening now and what we are feeling now to move towards a better place is all we need to do.

  • Great insights, Kelli. Staying in the present has certainly been pivotal for me. Letting go of my need to guess about why it all happened is a continual journey. And it’s all worth it. Thanks for stopping by today!

  • Julie

    Dear Anne,
    What an empowering post. The part that resonated the most with me is: “You may never know the reason anything happened. But you can create your own reason for everything that happens now.” I went through a traumatic event when I was 15 and essentially lost the rest of my adolescence and was thrust into adulthood. I still struggle with my victim mentality and the lies it tells me, but I am trying to, as you say, set myself free from the lies and start taking the good stuff for a change.
    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sure it will be helpful to many others.

  • So true, Julie. One of the biggest misconceptions about healing is that we move on as we learn and understand. But the truth is, we move on when we decide to. Sending you comfort. Thanks for sharing here.

  • Anne,

    What a story. Yes the biggest lie is that forgiveness is all about them, where as forgiveness is really about about you and your freedom. It allows all the anger, rage and strong emotions of the past to just melt away as unimportant to us anymore. I think self forgiveness goes along too, forgiving ourselves for keeping us in emotional prison so long.

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  • Bullyinglte

    I never truly believe in the “forgive and forget” idea. We can forgive and gain knowledge in our minds to use for later (not to develop cynicism) but to know that our lives are made up of many journeys and not just one. Thank you for sharing your several journeys and lessons your learned with us, Anne. The best advice I have is to live in the NOW also. We can’t change our past and can’t predict our future. So acceptance is really the only answer.

  • Lopang Manyama

    What an amazing story of healing you can not make sense of everything somethings just don’t

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    I tried logging it is not working

  • Skyler Hendricks

    Beautifully written it touched my heart. Thanks for your raw honesty.

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  • Peace Within

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve had problems with my mom for the way that she’s been with me. I used to get so mad at her when I expressed my feelings and she wouldn’t understand. Over time, I realized she won’t. That is what helped me with my emotions and being able to forgive her. It was the only way I was able to move on and find my peace. “Setting people free to walk through their own darkness is the truest test of your own freedom.” I really needed to read this! Thanks!

  • Excellent point, Susan! It can actually be an effort letting go of the anger and grudges we hold against ourselves. Great reminder to direct our forgiveness inwardly, too.

  • Very true! Thanks for weighing in. All the best in your journey!

  • It’s definitely true that you can’t make sense of what doesn’t make sense. Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Skyler, I appreciate your kind words and support. Glad you stopped by!

  • You know, that’s been the hardest part for me, too. You can’t heal when you’re trying to heal for someone else. So glad you shared this today. Sending you comfort and peace!

  • Stephen Fraser

    Wow..this is brilliant…I’ve discovered also that forgiveness is not a one time’s a process…the hurt that we felt can return even after we’ve sincerely forgiven someone…requiring once again, the willingness to forgive..another lie is that the one who hurt us has to ask for forgiveness or have remorse…obviously it’s easier if there is an admission or remorse, but we can chose to accept an amends even if it never comes..the idea is to free us, not the other..

  • lv2terp

    Great post! Very empowering! Thank you for sharing your insight!! 🙂

  • You’re so right, Stephen — forgiveness is a process. And a lifelong one. I used to believe that I needed someone’s remorse. I think I was actually feeding off it, and it didn’t get me anywhere. Freedom is so sweet, isn’t it?

  • You’re very welcome! Thanks for stopping by today.

  • Stephen Fraser

    Yes. 🙂

  • Sara Moser

    What an amazing story you have, Anne! I was moved to both tears and laughter. You are so right on about the freedom of forgiveness – the freedom we give ourselves. And when we can quit asking why and embrace the lessons learned, that is the greatest freedom of all.
    Thank you for sharing this piece of your life.

  • Sara, I am so invigorated by your words! I’ve wasted a heck of a lot of time asking why about all the wrong people. Forgiveness freed me up to direct the “why” toward me right here and now. Sure gave me a lot more control over who’s in the driver’s seat. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your insight. Wonderful to see you here!

  • C

    Thank you, Anne. I’m thankful to have stumbled upon this, it’s just the thing I needed to read at this time in my life and it really touched me.

  • MoontanCats

    Thank you for this posting. Trying to find out why I had suffered the abuse I had almost cost me my life, literally. Whilst I was in the clinic recovering from my suicide attempt, I learnt to forgive myself first, then the abuser. I also learnt it was not at all necessary to tell my abuser that I had forgiven her. I learnt to live all over again at the tender age of 51. It has not been easy. The choice to choose life and to live it is not easy; I choose life every day I wake up.

  • What a heartfelt story! And how true it is that you don’t even have to involve the person who hurt you in order to set yourself free and forgive them. Choosing an even more expansive life takes some effort. Choosing it in the face of sorrow takes tremendous courage and resilience. Thanks so much for showing us that here today. It’s never too late, huh?

  • So glad you found it helpful. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comment today!

  • Hi Anne, wonderful article! I can relate to so many things in your post including mothers wanting a nun in the family and having to make something up for confession 🙂
    I struggled many years with this concept of forgiveness, until I realized the person I had to forgive was myself. This really set me free. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  • Anne! A kindred spirit — with my own name! 🙂
    Wonderful to see you here. I love what you said about forgiveness really being about yourself. It’s wondrous how my journey with forgiveness has opened me up to being more caring, thoughtful, and tender toward myself. And that’s affected how I connect with everyone around me. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your wisdom and story!

  • Excellent article, Anne!. Thank you so much for this! The willingness and ability to forgive is probably the biggest premise for becoming happy, in my eyes at least. I’m so glad you pointed out the common myths about it and hopefully, more people feel encouraged to forgive others, and more importantly, themselves. Thank you for this message!

  • sais

    This is incredible. Thank you x

  • You’re welcome! Glad you stopped by and found it helpful.

  • Priya


    I loved your article. I liked the honesty with wich you have written. I was in tears (happy ones) when I reached the end of the article. You go girl! 😀

  • Becky0237

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, that was a great post! I’ve been mulling over what you said about forgiveness in contrast with what “the church” has taught about forgiveness, and thinking (hypothetically) from the perspective of the biblical God. What if God doesn’t offer forgiveness when we ask for it and realize we are in need, but rather bestows it because it feels good to extend forgiveness..,because peace and wholeness can’t coexist with unforgivness? Then wouldn’t forgiveness also be extended to all people, not just those who ask for it or work for it? Because it’s about the peace of the one who is doing the forgiving, not just the one who needs forgiveness?

  • Hi Becky. What a comforting insight. I like your thoughts about peace and wholeness. Yeah, I definitely believe that forgiveness is available to anyone who seeks it. How you access that involves your own personal journey and healing. As the one who’s looking to forgive, being ok with seeing the one who hurt you recover their own peace can only expand your own freedom. Thanks for mulling it over with us!

  • Thanks so much, Priya! I’m glad you found it helpful and shared with us here today.

  • Such great points, Martina! I couldn’t agree more that our happiness really does depend on our willingness to forgive, take charge of our own lives, and create our own freedom. So glad you stopped by and shared your insight!

  • Bronze

    I think the biggest lie about forgiveness, is that it is a necessary part of moving on and letting go of anger and resentment. Some things are unforgivable and entreating the victim to forgive, once again places a huge burden that they shouldn’t have to carry. It IS possible to live a life free from resentment and anger at perpetrators without extending forgiveness that they don’t require, ask for or deserve. The unforgiven can remain so without placing the onus at the feet of the victim to not only heal themselves but extend forgiveness towards those that have harmed them greatly. Reconciling harm and living well can happen without the paradigm of forgiveness.

  • Bronze, good to see you here today. For the longest time, I had such a bad taste in my mouth from the very word, “forgiveness.” I didn’t like the definition I had been given.

    I didn’t like believing that I had to exonerate my perpetrator. I didn’t like believing that I had to magically reclassify a transgression as forgivable either.

    But you know what? I didn’t have to. I saw through the appalling definition of forgiveness that I had been made to believe. And I discovered what the real paradigm is all about.

    Maybe it’s not so much about whether to forgive or not to forgive. Could it be more about redefining our own definition to fit the true paradigm of forgiveness?

  • Becky0237

    This is a really interesting point. I’ve thought of forgiveness as

  • Bronze

    I have definitely spent many, many hours pondering whether in fact the problem is the accepted definition of forgiveness. It could be so and in many cases – I believe it is. However, the vast majority who push forgiveness do so with a very different paradigm than you have and it is damaging to victims of severe harm to be made to feel somehow, that they have failed or are failing because they cannot forgive their perpetrators. The other accepted belief about forgiveness from the vast majority is that if you do not forgive than the default position is a life of misery, anger, resentment and being stuck. I have found that because of these accepted paradigms that using the word forgiveness is not helpful for me. I haven’t come up with an alternative – Nancy Stanlick has coined the term ”reconciling harm” and at the moment it is as good as any. – link here to her work. I will never forgive in the accepted notion of the word. However, to let harm continue to hurt my life via taking away my humanity, love, joy and softness would be a serious failing and not helpful to me in any way. I can accept that we very may well be speaking of the same paradigm but using different words. I do think that for the sake of victims who have been victimised again via well meaning but ultimately misguided attempts to get them to ”forgive” so they can move on, we definitely need to change the definition of what it means to forgive or ”reconcile harm”. Thank you for your reply. Have a lovely day.

  • Bronze, you’re completely right. There are many beliefs about forgiveness out there that are hurting us. I appreciate you sharing your truth about it here with us. Please accept my support along your continued journey. I offer it sincerely and wish you every good thing!

  • Heather Ferreira

    Wow. Your family sounds eerily exactly as sick, selfish and evil as mine. I didn’t think that existed.

    I forgave them but I also dumped the three monsters in question from my life and will never talk to, see or listen to them again. About five so-called “friends” will face an identical fate tomorrow morning. Here’s to our freedom, Anne.

  • Hi Heather. Setting boundaries has definitely been liberating for me too. I found a lot of power in setting myself free to define the path I wanted to walk. And setting the others free to walk the path that they choose. Thanks for stopping by. All the best!

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  • Theji

    Hi Anne, Brilliant story! When read about letting go… I feel good but then after few days I am back to my normal routine. I do not know how to stick with positive vibes in order for me to enjoy my life to the fullest. I used to be a very easy going person, after my separation with my husband things got all messed up and I still couldn’t recover from where it all got damaged. Now I have a beautiful person in my life to share my love also my little girl, yet I’m still struggling to let go of my past.

  • Hi Theji. It’s maddening, isn’t it?

    Finally getting ourselves to let go once doesn’t mean that it’s all gone for good.

    Getting free is like living with ATMs. They’re always full of cash. But we only get the money if we type in our password and keep coming back.

    Keep doing what makes you free.

    Go easy on you. When it’s the right time and place, let yourself feel what you feel. And then do one thing that makes you feel better. You mentioned that reading about letting go made you feel good. Do more of that. Do it whenever you need to access that peaceful, free side of you.

    Maybe even think about finding a guide. Someone who will listen to your story and can help you grow through it.

    My heart goes out to you and wishes you all the best!

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    Just forgive as many times as it takes. It is really simple but takes time to do.
    If I can forgive my mother for bashing me as a baby anyone can do anything.

    I’m working on forgiving my father for touching me up next.
    Life is not really this complicated. You just face to face things.

  • M.

    Dear Ann,

    Thank you for writing this article, that I ‘accidently’ came across. Today I spoke with my psychiatrist about forgiveness. I told her – again – how badly I want to be able to forgive. I know forgiveness will give ME back the power over MY life, and I also want to be able to be compassionate towards the ones that hurt me. However, truth is… even though I do understand all rational explanations of their actions/behaviour, I keep on feeling hurt and mad, especially because my pain is still trivalized or denied. I feel like I do understand their reasons, but they don’t see (/can’t handle to see) the pain they caused by acting that way – contrarily, they repeat their behaviour in so many ways!

    I know I ‘should’ stop wishing for them to see the result of their actions. I know that, in theory, I can forgive them without having them apologize for what they did.

    Yet… I’m still struggling with the ‘how’ – How do you forgive?
    Rational, yes. Emotional… not yet.

    Thanks for your inspiring story.

  • M.

    Sorry for misspelling your name. I ofcourse mean: Dear Anne! 🙂

  • Hello, M. So glad you stopped by today. I definitely know what it’s like to want someone else to be sorry.

    I used to think that forgiveness meant I had to stop. Stop being fixated on justice. Stop needing them to accept guilt. Stop waiting for the world to validate that I didn’t deserve what happened.

    Instead of focusing on everything you need to stop, start doing the things that free you and give you peace.

    Does it give you peace to surround yourself with people who show you the love and respect they say they have for you? Do you feel free when you say when, where, and how you’ll spend time with others? If at all? Does it make you happy to enjoy doing what you love in a safe, predictable environment that you created?

    The crazy thing about freedom is how free it is. You don’t have to wait till you stop anything in order to access it. The more you live there, the more you stop doing the things that keep you from it.

    That’s what’s on the other side of forgiveness. And that’s the “HOW” we may all be looking for.

  • Joanne Meredith

    I absolutely loved reading this. Things actually made sense for once. I hold the key to my own happiness therefore if I choose to constantly listen too my inner victim, I will never be happy and to be honest, life is just too short. Today I am making a change to live my life happy. Thank you

  • Good for you, Joanne! Life is definitely too short to feel victimized all the time. All the best. And thanks for stopping by!

  • Matthew Arntzen

    WOW! Thank you very very much. Thanks Anne! That Catholic Church has some meaning to me as well. Still working out that stuff…but really only started working on it in the past couple years. It took that long for me to ‘get’ what was happening in life. And it’s been a struggle…part of it being forgiveness – because it goes higher than just the Caholic Church. But now, after reading this…no guarantees but some keys to learn! Thanks again Anne!

  • Hi Matthew. Don’t worry — it took me a long time to start “getting it” too. Spiritual struggles go deep and affect us profoundly. All the best in your journey through!

  • Jahnvi_Chavda


    Thank you so much for heartwarming story. It brought tears in my eyes. I am still struggling with forgiveness and living in “now”. At this point, it really doesn’t matter what has been said/done to me as I am not liking the person who I am becoming with anger, resentment and bitterness in present. I am still working through pain each day and looking forward to have peace with past. People who has hurt me are gone from my life yet mind still plays haunting memory over and over again. At end of the day, I know I have choice to become a person radiating joy, love and compassion from inside. I know I definitely don’t want to die holding unforgiveness in my heart. If I look 50 years from now, old me – I see two images- One is old, grumpy and bitter one and second is love, compassionate and peaceful one.

    Thank you much for sharing your experience.

  • Wow, this was powerful and many points felt like you were speaking directly at me. I kept placing myself in the victim role searching for the reason things happened to me! Thank you for your honest, emotional, eye opening post.

  • LaTrice Dowe

    What a story, Anne, and thank you for sharing your experience. Forgiveness does give you the power to keep your freedom, instead of being a prisoner from someone else’s careless actions. I feel that others need to think twice before they act, and think about the consequences of their actions.

    There are some people in my life that I haven’t forgiven in this lifetime. I can’t forgive my biological father for walking out on me when I was growing up. I know I haven’t done anything wrong to him to deserve that, but his actions proved otherwise. No matter how desperately I wanted a father and daughter relationship, he couldn’t give that to me, since he was too busy being selfish. I’ll never love and respect this man again.

    I forgave my ex-best friend for mistreating me, despite the heavy level of disrespect that I had to deal with. From the accusations, name calling (which wasn’t necessary), and a lack of maturity gave me a valid excuse to end the friendship. It would be a matter of time before my ex-best friend loses his inner circle. I’m okay with not hearing an apology from him, nor do I want one.

  • IBikeNYC

    I’m “glad” you learned so much from all your pain.

    I am 56 and think regularly about ending my own life. Thank you for talking about your experience and how you came out stronger on the other side.

  • I will politely disagree. While I am happy you have found peace and healing, and while some share very similar stories, no one’s life is the same.

    I feel like there is a culture of victim shaming developing in self help communities. Telling someone they aren’t a victim–that it’s akin to a grown up pity party–is nothing short of harmful. When a person feels like every part of themselves is broken, they need affirmation. When healing occurs, the survivor is born. And sometimes it’s a mix of both. And that is ok.

    I do not believe you have to forgive in order to heal. For some people, yes, that may be the key to their healing. It’s not about being noble, I spent the better part of 45 years making my parents the focus of everything. Their time is up, over, end of the line.

    I have enough work to do for myself to heal and I’m not going to sacrifice a second on them anymore. The only person I need to forgive is myself.

  • Bronze, YES!!! Thank you for saying it more eloquently than I did. The idea of forgiving my parents made me ill….until I found a couple of amazing writers online who have helped me realize I can live a good happy life without forgiving them. It doesn’t mean I’ll be angry and bitter my whole life. Thank you so very much.

  • First, I went to UCF!! Go Knights! 🙂 It’s where I met my husband, who is my knight in shining armor, loving me unconditionally and supporting me through all this. I would not be here were it not for his faith in me.

    Second, I really got a lot from this discussion–from both you, Bronze, and you as well Anne. I didn’t say it before but I do appreciate you dashing those myths. And I know you have the same intent as all here–to facilitate healing. I’m grateful for this site and the writers and comments. While I hate we are joined because we’ve been hurt, I am so grateful to not feel alone.


  • Shanker

    A thought provoking article. Thanks for sharing your story Anne!

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