When people find themselves in a bad situation, for example, a bad relationship, people either blame the other person, or they blame themselves. Dr. Lenne’ Hunt shares some encouragement for those fall in the latter category – those who blame themselves.
Instead of feeling guilt and shame for not knowing better, for not seeing the red flags, for not getting out sooner, try being kind to yourself and forgive yourself for what you know now, but didn’t know then. Instead of asking yourself “How could I be so dumb? Why did I allow this to continue for so long? Why did I let him/her treat me this way?” ask yourself “What can I learn from this? Where do I want to go from here? What does my heart long for?”
Recovery requires that you forgive yourself for the choices you made in the past and start being kind to yourself. Only then can you move forward in your healing and grab hold of the life you desire.
Learn How to Forgive Yourself
Once upon a time, in the bloom of youth, you met a man and fell head over heels in love with him. The world was filled with hope and the promise of a bright future as you embarked on this journey together. You eventually married him, believing it would be a lifetime of happiness and love.
However, as time passed, the reality of your marriage didn’t quite align with the beautiful dreams you once had. It became apparent that he wasn’t the person you thought he was, and your marriage was far from the harmonious partnership you had envisioned. In this article, we will explore the process to forgive yourself in such situations.
The Painful Truth
As Dr. Lenne’ Hunt from the Marriage Recovery Center highlights, this scenario is all too common among women. They often find themselves in a relationship that initially seemed perfect, only for it to deteriorate into emotional or even physical abuse. The transition from a loving relationship to an abusive one can be confusing and heart-wrenching.
Unseen Red Flags
Looking back, it’s easy to spot warning signs and red flags that were present even during the early stages of your relationship. Perhaps there were moments of deceit or even clear instances of abuse. However, it’s crucial to remember that recognizing these signs in real-time is often incredibly difficult.
Dr. Hunt points out that it takes most women years to fully comprehend and articulate the emotional turmoil they are experiencing. This is not due to a lack of intelligence or intuition but rather because they haven’t been taught how to recognize these warning signs. It’s like trying to solve a complex puzzle with missing pieces. Without the necessary knowledge and vocabulary, it’s challenging to see the bigger picture.
The Blame Game
It’s natural to seek answers when your once-loving partner becomes abusive. You may question why this transformation occurred, and these questions often lead back to the beginning of your relationship. You may wonder why you didn’t see the warning signs or why you chose to ignore them. But it’s essential to remember that blaming your younger self for not knowing what you couldn’t possibly have known is profoundly unfair.
In doing so, you are essentially doing to yourself what your partner has been doing to you – shifting all the blame onto your own shoulders. The truth is, there were signs, but your younger self likely lacked the tools and experience to recognize them. Blaming her is counterproductive and only adds to your emotional burden.
Learning to Forgive Yourself
Part of your healing process involves extending compassion to your younger self. It’s about forgiving her for being young, naive, and hopeful. She didn’t intend to put you in danger; she simply didn’t have the knowledge or experience to make better decisions at the time. If she could have foreseen the future, perhaps she would have made different choices.
However, holding her responsible for what you have only recently come to understand is unjustified. To truly heal and move forward, you must consciously decide to forgive her. Release her from the weight of guilt and the burden of “should haves.” Offer her the understanding and compassion that she needed back then, much like a wise friend who could have guided her towards healthier choices.
The Gift of Self-Compassion
Forgiving your younger self is a profound act of self-compassion. It allows you to let go of the past and the mistakes made when you didn’t have the knowledge or tools you possess today. It liberates you from the cycle of self-blame and self-criticism, which can be just as damaging as the abuse you may have endured.
By offering forgiveness to yourself, you provide your present self with the gift of freedom. It empowers you to make better decisions and choices in your current circumstances. It allows you to step into a future where self-love and self-compassion guide your path, rather than the weight of past regrets and self-recrimination.
In a world where we often seek external sources of forgiveness and understanding, it’s crucial to remember that self-forgiveness is equally, if not more, important. You must extend the same compassion to yourself that you would offer to a friend in a similar situation. Recognize that your younger self did the best she could with the knowledge she had at the time. She didn’t deserve the pain and suffering she endured, and neither do you.
So, as you reflect on your past and the choices you made, remember that forgiving yourself is an essential step towards healing and finding peace. Embrace the wisdom you have gained over the years and use it to create a brighter, more compassionate future for yourself. The journey to self-forgiveness may be challenging, but it is a path worth exploring for your own well-being and happiness.
Also read: What It Really Means to Love Yourself
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more