Parts of this were written three or so years ago and it still holds true. Forgiveness is something people give to those who have recognized their wrongs and have actively taken steps to acknowledge their mistakes. The harmed person is not required to grant forgiveness to the perpetrator as part of the healing or just because they said they were sorry. It is not as formulaic as that. Forgetting is healthy for the harmed person, however. Not dwelling on the crimes performed against you is key to sticking up for and protecting yourself. Do not let the past color the future.
If someone does not behave how you wish they would and treats you poorly, it hurts. But it is your responsibility to yourself to not let them continue to hurt you through your reliving and identifying as a victim. They don’t care about you. They can fuck off. Move on.
Forgetting is a Gift to Yourself.
There are days when I seethe with anger at my father’s side of the family. There are days when I somehow create a bit of distance and look at the situation objectively and am in disbelief that it happened to me and is a part of me. More often, there are days that I completely forget about them all together.
Forgetting is not forgiving, forgetting is cleaning out the back of the closet and finding a pair of old ugly shoes that you never wear and just finally throwing them away. Forgetting is getting rid of all the stuff that you don’t use or need or want to define you anymore.
Forgiving is a gift to them, forgetting is a gift to yourself.
I still struggle with wrapping my head around behaviors and actions of that family. Their ability to smile for the camera as they knowingly destroy your innocence is unfathomable to me. “They must have experienced something horrible to make them so cold” I have heard from various people to excuse away their blatant disregard for the wellbeing of others. I say “No, they don’t get excuses. They were adults, they knew how to behave responsibly, and they choose to be small, to be petty, and to hurt others.” They do not get an excuse, they do not get a “pass.”