The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mother, I Don’t Forgive You – Why the Book Was Re-Titled

In 1992, after nearly a decade of trying desperately to forgive my mother, my life was spinning out of control.  Not only had I failed at forgiveness, I had also failed to even begin to heal from my severely abusive childhood.

 I heard from friends, relatives, therapists, and Christians, that I needed to forgive in order to heal; however, no one could adequately answer my questions:

·       “Why am I required to forgive, but my mother is not required to stop behaving abusively? 

·       How can I forgive someone who stole my innocence with physical and emotional violence?

·       How can I forgive somebody who has never asked to be forgiven; someone who has never even acknowledged any wrongdoing; somebody who continues to inflict the same pain?

·       Doesn’t the Bible say, ‘If your brother sins, rebuke him; and IF he repents, forgive him’ (Luke 17:3).

·       Isn’t there a point where self-preservation comes first?”

The answer was always the same.  “Forgiveness is for you, not for her.  You are only hurting yourself by hanging on to anger and resentment!”

The problem with that answer was, I wasn’t holding on to anger and resentment.  I just wanted to heal.  It wasn’t anger and resentment that was hurting me; it was the pain of continued abuse. 

I searched for books by abuse survivors who could provide a road map for healing that didn’t include forgiveness.  After failing to find any examples, I had some modest success when I performed my own psychological research into the possibility of healing without forgiving.

When I finally mustered the courage to buck societal expectations; not to forgive; and to put my own healing and well-being first, I achieved a level of healing that I never thought was possible. My period of NOT forgiving created the space necessary to achieve the greatest emotional growth of my life.

Feeling pressured to forgive by my community had been so lonely and painful, I decided to write the book I had always been searching for.  I wanted to provide a road map for others like me, whose healing was impeded by forced forgiveness.  Maybe they wouldn’t spend years stalled in the same unnecessary pain that had plagued me.  However, I quickly found that no one would publish a book titled, “Mother, I Don’t Forgive You,” so I abandoned my manuscript.

For close to another decade, I enjoyed further healing and growth.  Ironically, the unintentional by-product of this healing was – eventually – forgiveness.

At that time, I realized that the old adage, "Forgive and Heal," was backwards. So in 2004, I updated and re-titled my old manuscript, "Heal and Forgive" and found a publisher.

Unfortunately, I knew that the very people I was trying to reach would not read a book titled, “Heal and Forgive.”  Like my target audience, I didn’t even want to hear about forgiveness after the attempts I made to forgive too soon damaged me deeply and left me open to further injury.  
Recently, my publisher went out of business and control of the title reverted back to me.  I decided to re-release with my original title, “Mother, I Don’t Forgive You: A Necessary Alternative for Healing.”

Also, I just started a new blog titled "Mother, I Don't Forgive You" for discussion with survivors who do not want to forgive.

No comments: