Here is the third instalment of the modifications made to my autobiography: a revised version of the subsection entitled, Forgiveness is Necessary for Healing – NOT (in the chapter, Heal Thyself.)
“Forgiveness is a topic about which my views have received much disparagement. Getting to the truth about what this concept REALLY means, is more important to me than the opinions of people who cannot handle the truth.
Forgiving those who have hurt me is not necessary for my healing because this word/concept means something else. When I was growing up – in the 1970s and ‘80s – forgiveness meant the following: “pardon; remit” (from the 1976 edition of The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary). According to this definition, the word is synonymous with: absolution, condonation and exoneration (look it up in a thesaurus). However, more recently, it has come to mean “cease to feel angry or bitter towards or about” (from the 2010 edition of The Essential Oxford English Dictionary). The latter understanding of this concept is influenced by the current influx of therapeutic and New Age/spiritual versions of the meaning of forgiveness which also reflects how changeable dictionary definitions are over time.
The second (dictionary) definition is related to healing – that is, processing negative emotions. This is not the true interpretation of this word – forgiveness is one thing, healing another. When the original meaning (along with the synonyms in the thesaurus none of which spell the word ‘healing’) is applied to my situation, this requires that I pardon, condone and absolve my abusers…never…gonna…happen. However, this has not prevented me from feeling my emotions, or getting on with my life which I have been repeatedly warned by others would eventuate. They justify their view of this concept by claiming the following: “Forgiveness does not mean you are condoning their actions”…oh, yes it does!
I have undertaken further research into ‘forgiveness’, and discovered that the concept is a legal one. I have several articles on my website that deconstruct this word, the main one is, New Age MythBusting: Forgiveness is Necessary for Healing. Here is a modified excerpt:
In relation to ‘forgiveness’, the definitions are virtually identical in these two dictionaries – the entry from the latest (2014) version of the law dictionary adheres to the almost-two-hundred-year-old Webster’s definition. The latter also contains legal terms within its definition – “offender”, “crime”, “not guilty”, “pardon”. This makes it even more telling as to the accuracy of the meaning for this word/concept within these dictionaries that are both related to legal justice, and, the extent to which it has been deliberately distorted by those who manufacture popular culture.
Webster’s Dictionary 1828
“Forgiveness” (noun): 1. the act of forgiving; the pardon of an offender, by which he is considered and treated as not guilty. 2. The pardon or remission of an offense or crime; as the forgiveness of sin or of injuries. 3. Disposition to pardon; willingness to forgive. 4. Remission of a debt, fine or penalty.
Black’s Law Dictionary (Tenth Edition)
“Condonation” (noun): a victim’s express or implied forgiveness of an offense, esp. by treating the offender as if there had been no offense. “Condone” (verb): to voluntarily pardon or overlook. “Condonable” (adjective).
Note that the word “healing”, or phrases such as “letting go of anger or bitterness” are absent from these definitions.
The primary definitions are highlighted in bold text.
So…forgiveness requires the individual who has been wronged (victim) to treat the wrongdoer (offender) as if s/he has done no wrong (as if there had been no offense) – also known as, DENIAL.
Denial hinders healing for an individual who has been hurt via the actions of another, therefore, forgiveness does not have anything to do with the healing of the one that was harmed. Healing, first and foremost, requires acknowledging the anger (or rage) in relation to the harm done by the offender. Anger keeps all of the other emotions (positive and negative) under wraps. Suppressed anger is the primary cause of depression. Depression is the number one mental health problem in Western countries, and is treated primarily, via pharmaceuticals. But now you also have the self-numbing, meditative techniques and beliefs promulgated by New Age gurus designed to keep a person disconnected from her/his pain. Is it any wonder that the false definition of ‘forgiveness’ requires the denial, or, the suppression of anger? It prevents an individual from healing, especially a severely traumatized or victimized, individual. Anger is also the prime catalyst for social change – this is what the world controllers are really trying to quash. (They are also doing this through the legalization of marijuana, but I digress…) I see how this denial plays out in those around me who claim they have forgiven the worst atrocities but they are screwed up. Yet, many of them will claim that they are ‘happy’, or ‘healed’ – denial on top of denial.
Forgiveness is about not holding the offender accountable for her/his actions, therefore, it benefits the offender.”