Depression/Anxiety, Trauma

Forgiveness (Part I)

You got every reason to be bitter and angry. You got a legitimate grievance. Now you can nurse that grievance and become a victim for the rest of your life or you can persevere.
~ Blue Blood Season 3 Episode 3

This quote came from the end of the Episode 3 in the Season 3 of the drama Blue Blood. I was extremely touched by it that I wrote it down. Whoever is the screenwriter, you are a genius in my eyes.

Being a therapist who has worked primary with trauma survivors and couples with infidelity issues, anger, hurt, and resentment are the emotions I experienced from with my clients every day. When something traumatic happened to us, it is very normal for anyone to experience fear, anger, sadness, fear, and resentment. Taking childhood abuse as an example, a child relied on the parents to take care of him/her. It is the innate biological nature that we trusted and relied on our parents to take care of us. When abused happened, children often doubted themselves and blamed themselves until they are old enough to realize that abuse is not children’s fault. Then, the adult victims start to experience anger, hurt, resentment, frustration, abandonment, etc.

Usually, traumatic experiences are unexpected. We don’t expect them to happen, such as an affair. In this contemporary society, most of the people walk into marriage voluntarily. It is very unlikely anyone who gets married believing the marriage will fail or the spouse will betray you. When the affair happens, we often experienced anger, sadness, betrayal, and hurt.

When I was watching this episode last night, I thought about a lot of my clients who are adult survivors of childhood trauma and partners who felt the hurt in their relationships. The first two sentences from Frank to the young man in the episode speak for a lot of clients’ feelings.

However, why do some people persevere from the childhood family trauma and some couples who reconcile and made their relationship better and stronger, and others not? The key is this: “You can nurse the grievance and become a victim for the rest of your life or you can persevere.”

The key to persevere, from my experience, is forgiveness.

I was very fortunate and privileged to have many clients who trusted in me and allowed me to witnessed their process to persevere. I was allowed to witness them going through bitterness and anger in the early stage of the healing process. Some people who are able to forgive were able to persevere. People who can’t forgive, often continue to nurse the grievance and become the victim of their trauma for the rest of their lives.

However, as I often said this to my clients, forgiveness is not to forgive the perpetrator but to let yourself off the hook.

(more to come tomorrow)

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