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#384919 - 02/08/12 01:39 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
Shawushka Offline


Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 128
Loc: VA
Those are very good questions, herowannabe and I'm also curious about some more answers.
It's exactly what came to my mind after thinking about this issue a bit longer. Surely there are perpetrators who seek therapy and help and sincerely regret what they have done (remorse, to put it in herowannabe's words) and want to apologize?

Ken also makes an important point, it makes a lot of sense to me. Some people suffered from horrible abuse that is beyond imagination and I do believe that someone must be able to chose whether to accept an apology or not.

My partner is extremely hateful towards his perpetrator, which I can understand of course. But his hate results in a lot of negativity, negative energy that eats up his resources he needs to heal. The hate not dominates his life and totally blocks his way to recovery.

So I wonder about the answers to the questions herowannabe already asked and also,
if you chose not to forgive, not to accept an apology, what do you do with the hate, all the negative energy an emotions?


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#384932 - 02/08/12 03:02 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: herowannabe]
herowannabe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 386
Loc: USA
Quote:
if you chose not to forgive, not to accept an apology, what do you do with the hate, all the negative energy an emotions?


Outstanding question!

As a follow-up question to Ken (or survivors), how does the "never ask for forgiveness" work in incestuous abuse between young siblings?

Great stuff here!!!

_________________________


For I know the plans I have made for you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11


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#385458 - 02/12/12 01:50 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: herowannabe]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Quote:
As a follow-up question to Ken (or survivors), how does the "never ask for forgiveness" work in incestuous abuse between young siblings?


Same rule applies. No perpetrator can ask for forgiveness or in any way coerce the victim. I really can't see any perpetrator in any situation asking for forgiveness.

In the case of siblings, if the abuse dynamics are still continuing (even if the abuse has ended), the survivor can address the abusive dynamics.

One of my clients some years ago, had confronted his older brother-abuser with the abuse and had gone through the 5-part letter ("Disclosure and Confrontation"). The brother was appropriate and took responsibility for the abuse and in addition, the survivor wanted the older brother to stop calling him a childhood nickname that was associated with the abuse, which he complied.


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#386119 - 02/16/12 09:13 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
George Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 120
Loc: NY metro

I'd appreciate an appology, not so much for the appology, but for the validation. As a Christian, I've already forgiven my uncle. Not that my forgiveness made what he did ok, or that I'm completely healed, because I still carry scares.

I know that once I broke my silence, my cousin (the abuser's son) called me a liar, etc... I'm sure most in the family believes me, but still would be nice to have it forever put to bed by him acknowleging what he did. He's in his late 70's if he's even still alive, I haven't had anything to do with them in 30 years. I won't hold my breathe though...

On one hand I can see where Ken says that the forgivness is the one true form of power that a survivor has and shouldn't be coaxed into giving... On the other hand, holding onto the hate & bitterness will continue to work at you, almost like he / she is still abusing you...


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#386153 - 02/17/12 06:12 AM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: George]
Mitts Offline


Registered: 07/07/08
Posts: 13
Loc: Midwest USA
Very well put, George.


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#386207 - 02/17/12 10:18 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: herowannabe]
trust123 Offline


Registered: 02/02/12
Posts: 5
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: herowannabe
Quote:
if you chose not to forgive, not to accept an apology, what do you do with the hate, all the negative energy an emotions?


Outstanding question!

As a follow-up question to Ken (or survivors), how does the "never ask for forgiveness" work in incestuous abuse between young siblings?

Great stuff here!!!



So same rule applies for offering "sincere remorse" in same situation? while sibling still in teen and not caught by parents?


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#386246 - 02/18/12 08:36 AM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: trust123]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA

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#386644 - 02/21/12 07:16 AM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: herowannabe]
Forexpreneur Offline


Registered: 02/08/12
Posts: 141
Loc: Uranus (hell no not yours. lol...
That is a tough one for many of us. Some would accept and some wouldn't and there are all kinds of different beliefs and opinions.

However, speaking for myself as a male CSA survivor, sure it would help some. Only some though. I would accept it and would take it to heart, however, let me make this very, very clear. I would watch them very closely as they apologized. I have some serious trust issues because of the abuse and it is taking a hell of a lot to work through it and I have a long way to go. If I felt it was insincere I would say so and walk the hell out.

Also, I do agree that ALL abusers should offer an apology but understand it is impossible for some. My first step father was truly a sociopath. Sorry, but it is impossible for there to be any sympathy because it does not exist in their brain. Not everyone has sympathy and that is honest reality. But not everyone is that bad off. Some do have sympathy and need to get over the guilt.

A sincere apology would not help to relieve much of the misplaced shame and guilt. Understand even a 35 minute apology is not going to reprogram 35 YEARS of misplaced guilt. Not that quickly. The apology would help and it would be appreciated but it's not going to take it away.

I still have nightmares from time to time. I still suffer from complex PTSD off and on although I am getting really good therapy. Sometimes just a simple touch on my arm triggers me and I want to fight or cry, even from someone I really love and trust if the touch comes out of no where.

Those things do not get taken away by an apology. It does not help pay for the therapy I need. It doesn't change the fact that I never had a child hood. It was stolen from me and is forever gone. If I lost a job because I went into full blown PTSD (it's happened to me) I can't pay my rent by saying, "But I got an apology."

Please don't misunderstand me, I would be grateful for true apologies (I was raped by multiple adults so it would be a few wink ) but they aren't going to heal me in and of themselves. It does not mean I don't want them or wouldn't accept them, and they would help, but only to a limited degree.

I hope that helps to understand.

From a CSA survivor.

Alex


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#386681 - 02/21/12 01:56 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Forexpreneur]
Metolius Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/09/12
Posts: 41
Loc: Oregon
It seems to me that a perpetrator expressing remorse or offering an apology is a far different thing from a perpetrator asking forgiveness from the person he/she has victimized.

To ask forgiveness, with or without an apology, places a further burden on the survivor of the abuse, and keeps the dynamic in tact of the perpetrator calling the shots and forcing a response from the survivor. It sets up the trap of the perpetrator trying to remain in control of the relationship as well as putting the survivor in the position of trying to take care of the perpetrator's needs.

Expressing remorse or offering an apology isn't going to mean much unless the perpetrator has something substantial to offer by way of acknowledging the depth of the damage done and taking on responsibility for all that happened throughout the abuse.

One of my perpetrators expressed an apology for "anyway in which [he] might have hurt me" while remaining dismissive of the damage done by on-going emotional abuse and angrily denying he ever did anything sexual to me. His "apology" was worse than meaningless; it was a further instance of abuse.

In therapy the question came up directly would it make any difference if any of my perpetrators apologized. In the long run, I recognized that it wouldn't. Although I would love to have an abuser be truly accountable for his actions, 1) it's not likely to happen; 2) I don't want to put my recovery on hold waiting for it to happen; 3) no words are going to wipe out the trauma I've experienced and carried with me all these years; and 4) it's best that I learn to trust my own reality without having to have someone else's words or opinions validate it.

As for whether I choose to be forgiving, I struggle with that a lot. I guess I don't know for sure what exactly forgiveness is going to look or feel like. I trust the perspective of my 12-step groups that ongoing resentment is going to fester and create a burden that I will keep myself tied to; that the perfectly selfish reason to be forgiving is to let go of the resentment. At the same time I need to explore and experience a sense of forgiveness that 1) keeps in tact my outrage and appropriate anger over the ways I was violated and 2) affirms all the reasons why I deserved to be treated so much better than the abuse I suffered. My prior determinations to be forgiving were entirely too dismissive of my legitimate needs.

Thanks for raising the question and for all who have offered broad perspectives on the question.


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#386690 - 02/21/12 02:43 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Metolius]
limit Offline


Registered: 04/23/11
Posts: 131
Quote:
a perpetrator should never ask for forgiveness...?


i think expressing an apology is different than demanding forgiveness. you don't need to forgive someone to accept that they feel badly about it and accept that they have apologized. people confuse forgiveness with acceptance a lot around here.

i will never forgive, but that doesn't mean i have to walk around angry and pissed off at everyone who hurt me forever and ever and ever and ever. i can let go and i can accept and i can move on from all the bs about it.

that doesn't mean i forgive them (to me forgiveness basically implies an absolution of responsibility, so to forgive other people of things they are inherently responsible for is a tough one for me anyway), it just means i accept them.

if someone were to apologize to me i would say "apology accepted." that doesn't mean that i forgive what has happened. it means that i acknowledge they are sorry for it.



Edited by limit (02/21/12 02:43 PM)

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