The other day I shared the first part of this story in The Last Time He Hit Me. It was originally part of a therapy assignment from last year which is more than twenty years after it happened. It was part of my therapy because I still have to deal with the effects of the blows that I sometimes can still feel when I drive by certain places or hear songs that trigger all the memories.
This year, I took one large stride forward. Instead of choosing a list of resolutions this past January, I chose one word: Forgiveness. I finally had a definition of forgiveness that I could wrap my head around in regards to events in my own life.
You may very well have a different definition for forgiveness. The dictionary certainly does defining it to be granting pardon. Well, while I am not quite at that point — I can leave the pardoning to Karma and be grateful that I have attained my personal definition of forgiveness.
Somehow, I did always think that something would magically happen to make the violence worth it or to maybe lessen it or to allow it not to have such a profound affect on my life even years later.
Magic doesn’t work that way.
By saying the words: “I forgive you”, I find more peace.
Me. I do find more peace.
Not him, because it isn’t about him.
And by peace, I mean the every day living kind. It means a different level of contentment between the down cycles.
It doesn’t change the PTSD or the depression or the anxiety or the panic. When there are triggers… when I have to drive by some of the places where he hurt me, when the lady behind the deli counter at Publix starts sharing about her abusive husband out of the blue or when a bully scares me and tries to follow me home … then I’m going to relive it all over and over. I’m going to be agoraphobic for a week or maybe more. I’m going to have trouble even talking to people outside my small family circle. I’m going to have to work hard on just re-learning to breathe properly.
Nothing I can do or say will magically change what *Sal did to me. After two decades, I can say that I found acceptance. I found a form of forgiveness that I am comfortable with and if you are a victim of domestic violence, I hope you do too someday.
If you are in a relationship where you are being harmed, please call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). For more information on getting help, please visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.