When I first started recovery, the whole process seemed close to impossible. It seemed I’m trying to get over the biggest most important time in my life, to get over a summer that was hell, that broke me to pieces, and left nothing behind to rebuild over. With time I learned to trust that may be I can get better, overcome it slowly. But it was always about changing myself, it was always about moving so much that I’ll never have time to feel that kind of hopeless, helpless pain of being caught in something over which I have no control and no option of doing anything to change it.

I was trying to overcome the idea of rape and all the other things that happened during this summer. I was never trying to make the summer seem just a bigger moment, because it wasn’t. I was never trying to see the guy as anything but monster, because I couldn’t even think that I will ever be able to do that. Forgiving him was never in the cards. I broke down, went through and started getting over the rape part. But I never intended to think about  him ever again.

But recovery has it’s own timeline and rules, and you never see them until you reach a new step. 

Since New Year, I have been feeling better. Closer to my dream of finally moving to another country to live with my partner and be independent, I was inspired to keep trying. I was finally able to see that new life is possible, even after everything. But inspiration and magic tend to fade if we don’t take good care about them, and here I am.

I’m losing myself into the daily activities. Half of the time I’m rooting for myself, for the fairy tale, for getting where I wanted to be for months in just 6 weeks. But sometimes, the past catches up with me, all the tiny unresolved parts. And then it’s all the old story over again- the panic attacks, the breaking down and missing half day of work because of it. With no reason, with no help, with no logic. I just get lost. I can’t be both the person who is recovering and the person that works 8 hours a day. I can’t, but I have to be.

I’ve based my life for 3 years on running away, even my recovery. I’m not very good at letting go of things. I’m okay with the rape part. I still can’t think about the person that did that though. The person, that I thought was my friend.

But yesterday, in the middle of one of the biggest panic attacks lately, I forgive him.

He was my friend that who crossed the line. He was the monster in my head. I can’t yet forgive what he did to me, who he became when he crossed that line. But I forgive who he was before. And the minute I do I feel lighter, like that was keeping me in that summer and stopping me from moving on.

I don’t know if I’ll forgive all parts of him ever. I don’t know if it would be different if he lived close to me, if I saw him every day. Probably. But I am where I am, and I know I’ll never see him again, separate by an ocean from him, without his full name or address. I’m grateful for that.

I can’t forgive the monster.

But I forgive my friend. Not for him. For me.


3 thoughts on “Forgiveness

  1. Jessie says:

    Hey seekingafrica,

    Good work! I find it helpful to think in terms of the person being separate to the action. People can do good actions, or bad actions. We do not have to accept or ‘forgive’ the bad action. We can forgive the person. The person can change their behaviour. Life is tough when full of so many people with free will – to do good things or bad things, and also with all of us being imperfect and making mistakes. Our actions change from day to day. Sounds like you have a good heart which is ready to forgive, and it is good to know that for yourself. Thing is, is there a way of knowing whether the guy is sorry about what he did? That’s the situation where the real forgiveness can happen. In a way, perhaps that is part of what confronting my abusers helped with. And when they ‘denied’ then it was like they did not accept that they had done anything wrong. That is different to ‘sorry.’ The police report, even though twenty years later, did have an effect of making sure the person knew their action was very very wrong and carried consequences. Whether they are sorry or not is still not clear to me, as they have not spoken the words to say so. I got to the point where I truly felt like I was condoning their actions if I remained silent. It was very hard to report it, and scary. My faith helped and I truly believed it was the right thing for me to do at the time that I did it.

    Much peace to you,

    • Hey Jess,
      well…I’m sure he must’ve been a good person once. And from what I know of human psychology and of him, I’m sure that he could have just snapped and done something bad and then regretted it. If that was the case, I would have really found a way to forgive him on all levels.
      I think it wasn’t so though. He crossed a line and he never went back. I don’t know if he crossed it before I knew him and I just didn’t see this side of him for a while, but…well, after what happened, he apologised. Said he’d never do something I don’t want. I had blissfully forgotten what happened and before I knew what was happening, he was doing it again, and I couldn’t more, not being able to comprehend what’s going on…He also spread a rumor I heard later that I had hit him for no reason at all. He was very angry. He made me apologize. The one time I was trying to reason with him, to understand, he told me about his ex and how when she didn’t express how she felt about him “the right way” he beat her up. He was laughing as he said it. I stopped trying to understand from that point on.
      I’m sure somewhere in him was the guy I met, my friend…but that now is somewhere deep. I’m not sure I can ever forgive that. But I forgive the person who had humanity in him, I forgive the guy he was before, because I don’t want to keep wondering what happened to that guy. Because I don’t want to keep holding onto that guy. I don’t know where he is or his full name even if it occurred to me to report him. I’ll be okay to find my own way to being even better than I was before I met him. I believe with all this anger in him, he won’t be really happy. I don’t wish him harm, but I wish him to one day understand how I felt. That’s about the best I can do, and to let it go so that I can live fuller life.

      • Jessie says:

        Hi Atlanta,

        ” he told me about his ex and how when she didn’t express how she felt about him “the right way” he beat her up. He was laughing as he said it. I stopped trying to understand from that point on.”

        What I’m working on now, is how to notice the signs that someone is like that really early on. If it is okay to ask, if you think back, can you remember early warning signs of this behaviour in the guy before the rape? I find that the noticeable things are coming up in my dreams lately. And I compare their attitudes and actions with other friends who really were friends to me. Hopefully this means that I will be able to recognize them better from a distance early on, and keep a distance between us.


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