Those who have been in relationships filled with domestic violence suffer from severe emotional trauma, fear, anger, regret, guilt and pain. Because these feelings are wrapped up in a huge ball of misery, many don't consider forgiving the abuser. Occasionally, you may even realize that you've done some things in retaliation, and want to forgive yourself.
We look in the mirror at black eyes, feel the discomfort of broken ribs or arms, deal with serial cheaters who disrespect and gaslight through entire relationships, cope with sexual assault, yearn to see friends and family who have been isolated from our lives, and the rage is like a red flame surrounding and threatening to engulf us.
If you are waiting for the person who has wronged you to acknowledge or repent for the pain, the abuse or the infidelity, know that it may never happen. Expecting them to validate your feelings or to make things right only leaves them in control.
Despite it all, we can't allow these emotions to rule who we are as we move towards healing. Let's be honest - a person who has mistreated you could probably care less if you forgive him or her, but we can't be better if we hold onto the hate. We can't make a person come home on time, be honest or kind, we can't physically stop the violence unless we take some steps to be who we used to be.
Every day it's important to say the words, "I forgive you", until the emotional part of us catches up. Is that difficult? Of course, but being bitter won't solve any problems in the long run. The focus of our lives must be on our own personal insight, so we can pursue hobbies we enjoy, spend time with friends, see a movie, and most importantly to smile again. Do yourself a favor and forgive, then eventually let it go.
If you are in an abusive relationship and need help, please contact someone you can absolutely trust, or a local shelter. These organizations are open 24 hours a day to offer guidance and support. They care, and so do we.