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#384444 - 02/05/12 11:22 AM An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please!
herowannabe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 386
Loc: USA
In a recent post, a survivor said that a perpetrator should never ask for forgiveness...?

This confuses me, and I wonder, for the sake of the person who received this statement (and her survivor), if survivors would please provide input?

Assuming an apology is sincere, remorseful and given with the intention of assuming responsibility for wrongs done and absolving the victim of any and all responsibility:

- Isn't an apology something ALL abusers should offer?

- Would a sincere apology have helped relieve you of your own misplaced shame and guilt?

- If your abuser would offer a sincere apology now that you are an adult, would it help you?

_________________________


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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#384448 - 02/05/12 12:26 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: herowannabe]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1717
I think this is a very good question. I do not know if I want to hear one--abusers rob one of their life, create pain and loss of self. How sincere can such an apology be if one must seek the apology from the abuser, the abuser does not come forward unless confronted, is it fear that drives the apology or is it sincerity?

Abusers in my mind tend to see themselves as doing no wrong, denial rules their life, and they rationalize their acts as not causing harm to someone--especially when repeat over and over.

I don't know if I would believe the abuser and fear more memories would come to the surface--. I have spoken with some victims who have received an apology but they said it did little to heal and some felt worse because they did not believe the apology to be sincere.

I hope to hear what others have to say.


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#384451 - 02/05/12 01:36 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: KMCINVA]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3612
Loc: South-East Europe
This is hard question. Let me say that answer depends on many things. Firstly it depends on damage done to victim by abuse. And secondly on ability of abuser to see proportion of his misbehavior and consequences left to victim. Additionally it depends on possibility of abuser to feel some empathy to victims and to feel grief for his wrongdoings - this is something that I'm not sure that is usually possible. Otherwise abuse would never happen.
I'm not sure that apology can do anything if it is not honest. And in such case it is in my humble opinion very difficult for victim to know...
Abuse is always very destructive action and victim needs for own survival much more than one apology can offer...

_________________________
My story

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#384453 - 02/05/12 02:08 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: herowannabe]
phoenix321 Offline


Registered: 09/26/11
Posts: 912
Loc: USA, FL
Originally Posted By: herowannabe
In a recent post, a survivor said that a perpetrator should never ask for forgiveness...?

This confuses me, and I wonder, for the sake of the person who received this statement (and her survivor), if survivors would please provide input?

Assuming an apology is sincere, remorseful and given with the intention of assuming responsibility for wrongs done and absolving the victim of any and all responsibility:

- Isn't an apology something ALL abusers should offer?

- Would a sincere apology have helped relieve you of your own misplaced shame and guilt?

- If your abuser would offer a sincere apology now that you are an adult, would it help you?


Great question.

1. He and she is dead. I hope they died violently.

2. Nope. Glad they are dead so I didn't have to kill both of them.

3. Nope. Glad they are dead so I didn't have to kill both of them.

Note: I'll forgive my sperm donor for his child abuse when he's dead.

I forgave them when I found out they were dead. Good riddance. Some survivors might find it helpful. Maybe if it was just a short time after. If they found out after a long time like me (23 years later now 40 and I never got any help but here at MS), I don't know if it helps. Survivors like me look at the cost of what they did. If it didn't cost as much and help was a short time after, I think it might. Yeah, they should make an effort to apologize and realize most would wish them dead or a life in prison.

No offense at all -- Ask yourself this question: if you were raped last week and the rapist apologized, would it matter much? Sick question but it makes it relevant. That question also tells how bad CSA is. I think you know that already since you have a husband struggling with it. Keep it up, your hubby is lucky to have you. Peace.

_________________________
Phoenix

A guy opens the front door and sees a snail on his doorstep. He picks up the snail and throws it across the street in a neighbor's yard. A year later, the guy opens the front door and the same snail is on his doorstep. The snail says, "What the f*ck was that about?"

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#384480 - 02/05/12 07:00 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: phoenix321]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3452
Loc: somewhere in Africa
I would have welcomed any apology from any of the half dozen or so active abusers and at least that many passive enablers/accessories/collaborators. Even if it were self-serving and insincere, it would show me that they know that what they did was wrong and see the need to at least pretend to be remorseful about it. It would acknowledge that i am a person with feelings and rights and that those were violated. I know that it would also be an excruciatingly painful thing to receive, whether genuine or not.

Lee

_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#384481 - 02/05/12 07:35 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: traveler]
americasjim Offline


Registered: 02/05/12
Posts: 2
My experience in recovery is I shouldn't expect my abuser to ever approach me again especially if he is also in recovery. Many learn not to seek amends of those they hurt because it could hurt them more to be approached, called or contacted.

My question is: I have forgiven my perpetrator and lately I've considered contacting him to let him know. I woke up yesterday and it was on my mind. I told him I forgive you, I bless you, I release you and I'd like to encourage you to do whatever it takes to make sure you're connected with God.

Any thoughts?


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#384525 - 02/05/12 11:34 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: americasjim]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 731
Loc: NJ
An Apology and asking forgiveness are two totally different things.

Ill just use an example thats close to the reason I said what I said.

Lets say you have a survivor whom also is a perpetrator, whom acted out against his sister for multipe years in the teen years. In this example, the "offending survivor" goes to his sister adn asks for "forgiveness".

The sister might feel preasure to forgive her brother for what he did even if she doesn't want to:

a) Parental pressure to "fix" or "bring" the family back together.

b) feel thats she needs to give the forgiveness so her brother can heal from his abuse.

c) not far enough in her process to know if she wants to give forgiveness and then feel badly down her road for giving something she doesnt either feel or has a different feeling twords.

Further....He could write her a letter or offer her a sincere apology via another method, where he takes full blame for the actions that he did, and things he doesnt even knows that effec her....What he cant do is ask her for forgiveness...That is for the survivor to offer for THEM, how and when and if ever.

the offender has no right to ask for or put the survivor in the position of "giving" forgiveness.

I'm not big on forgiveness, it cant change what i deal with..I do totally understand and Im sure Ill hear about the fact that forgiveness is for uss and that holding a grudge or resentment only hurts us....It's an interesting complex, perplexing issue for sure...I'm also not much for an apology, again it won't help me much with issues and I feel it would be more for him than for me... but I would like an acknowledgment of abuse and wrong doing...I think I would read an apology, if it ever came LOL almost 2 years and counting, but I'd much rather hear "I take responsibility for the abuse I inflicted to you, and all the associated effects known and otherwise, unknown...It was always my fault, and I take full responsibility"

Language as aways is very important.

BTW...the "not allowed to ask for forgiveness" thing, Isn't something I just pulled out of the air, it came from a very good T who sees both survivors and offenders.

_________________________

My posts can self destruct at any time..read them while you can.

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#384548 - 02/06/12 07:27 AM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Castle]
misscrespo Offline


Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 45
i've asked my partner if she would sincerely apologize, would he take it? He said NO. he said he wants to see her on her knees begging for forgiveness, but a) he knows that aint gonna happen anytime soon and b) it will never be enough. he will live the rest of his life dealing with her abuse and others, and she thinks she can get away with an apology?furthermore he has tried to make her apologize and all he got was an insincere, half apology on which she refused to take responsibility for many of the things he wanted her to apologize. So, would an apology be ok now? NO WAY!! he says. I can easily see his point. even if she was honest, does her behavior deserve forgiveness? I HIGHLY DOUBT IT. somethings are just beyond it.


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#384556 - 02/06/12 08:22 AM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: misscrespo]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1717
I cannot agree more. Castle makes an excellent point about an apology and forgiveness. Abuse is probably one of the most horrendous acts against another person. I believe abusers, be it sexual, physical or emotional abuse, all have a need to hurt, control and cannot recognize the destructive and devastating effects the abuse has on the victim. The abuser continues with their lives as though they have done nothing wrong, making the victim guilty and pushing the victim to hide the abuse or escape into a world that the victim believes will eliminate the abuse and pain. So how can an apology from someone with these mental defects be capable of extending a sincere apology. Even if an apology is made forgiveness of destroying the human soul and spirit is something one cannot forget--forgiveness can be given for many actions, but for abuse when one's life is altered and destroyed, is something I cannot fathom.


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#384558 - 02/06/12 08:42 AM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: herowannabe]
westchesterguy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 421
Loc: Westchester County NY
Originally Posted By: herowannabe
.... Would a sincere apology have helped relieve you of your own misplaced shame and guilt? If your abuser would offer a sincere apology now that you are an adult, would it help you?


no. and no.

and here is the reason: "IF" my rapist had cornered me in his kitchen and only had just started his molestation process but pulled away when i was hitting him to get off me.... and he backed off as i ran away, and then later or the next day whatever, he apologized and said he was a terrible person and was wrong and sincerely sorry etc. etc. then, yes under such a circumstance i could see myself coming to the conclusion "yeah, ok, forgiven, whatever -- stay away from me."

but when a man plans months and years to calculatingly prime his prey for exactly the right moment to go in for the kill -- and acts on it and gets his jollies, no. there is absolutely nothing he can say or do that changes the outcome, in my view.

_________________________
Jeff

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#384561 - 02/06/12 09:40 AM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: westchesterguy]
Dar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/15/11
Posts: 170
Loc: Missouri
Isn't an apology something ALL abusers should offer?

To me this only makes the Perp feel better about themself, Nothing to do with me feeling better.

Would a sincere apology have helped relieve you of your own misplaced shame and guilt?

No amount of words could have changed what happened or the way my childhood was rendered useless by the perps actions.


If your abuser would offer a sincere apology now that you are an adult, would it help you?

An apology NOW would seem to me like a perp was setting me up for more abuse. They will never know how their actions formed my life by taking away my childhood or the years of pain and suffering that I went through. I now that it wasnt my fault,but the pain still runs through my mind every day.

These thoughts will never leave my mind and just having to even think about seeing or hearing from one of them to ask for my forgivness is more than I ever want to do. Knowing that they might be dead now is good enough for me.

_________________________
All I ever wanted was a hug.

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#384573 - 02/06/12 12:12 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Dar]
Shawushka Offline


Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 128
Loc: VA
Good question. I've recently watched a documentary about four men, who were abused by clergy men. They all confronted their perpetrators (the ones who were still alive) and during confrontation told them how much damage they had done.
The reactions were different in all four cases. Perpetrators who broke down, where it turned out they'd been abused themselves, perpetrators who were aware how much damage they had done and asked for forgiveness.
There was also one, who simply exclaimed that 'they' (the clergy men of the convent, living in celibacy) also 'needed something'.

But in the end it seemed that it contributed to each of the men's healing process. Every single one of them worked towards forgiving his perpetrators.
I was very impressed, cause I'm not sure if I could do that.

It's very noble and attests a great character, but when I read the stories of survivors here I wouldn't blame anyone who's not able to forgive nor wants an apology.

I wonder if we have any professionals here who can tell if forgiving/accepting an apology is part of the healing process?


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#384580 - 02/06/12 12:56 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Shawushka]
Anthony39 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 345
Loc: Montreal, Canada
Most perpetrators are narcissists, they only see things one way. There is no empathy. When they feel sorry, they feel sorry for themselves not for the victim. Or they are sorry they get caught, and will apologize in court to show some pretence of remorse to get a lighter sentence.
If the perpetrator puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger, I might consider that as a form of apology.
I don't believe they can be fixed, at least not yet, there is no therapy that can help suppress that, not that they are willing to either.Even rapists who were chemically castrated upgraded to killing, because it was not about sex, it was about overpowering.
Thats my view, at the moment, in time maybe i will see it differently.
It is entirely up to the individual how he wants to deal with his perpetrator. I should be his choice at all time.

_________________________
Look up and not down; look forward and not back; look out and not in; and lend a hand.
E. E. Hale


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM213aMKTHg

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#384583 - 02/06/12 01:56 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Anthony39]
gjonbos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/23/11
Posts: 48
Loc: MA
IMO...

A tearful apology (there is no question it would be) would only be for his benefit. To absolve him of whatever shame and guilt he might feel about having been "caught" and called out for what he did. My perp is a skilled manipulator, I remember this quality from even before the abuse started. Those skills would come out in full force in an attempt to extinguish all the bad that will inevitably unfold if the truth were told. So I am struggling to see the benefit for me in that.
I also think it would just refresh his memory of everything, potentially another benefit for him. Maybe I am naive in thinking he doesn't think about it, but putting him in a position to apologize would really bring it to the forefront.
I can't imagine his sorry would magically rebuild whatever self confidence and self esteem I had for myself before all of this. I don't think a sorry would cure the struggles I have with the intimacy I share with my fiance. Of course I'm so sure that his sorry isn't the answer to fixing all of that hurt, I'd put money on it..... yet I'm still trying to figure out what is the answer to those problems.
Just my take on it. Everyone's feelings on this will be unique and I am sure there will be gentlemen here who will find value and healing in an apology.

_________________________
"Place your past into a book
Put in everything you ever took
Place your past into a book
Burn the pages let them cook"

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#384591 - 02/06/12 03:18 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Shawushka]
westchesterguy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 421
Loc: Westchester County NY
Originally Posted By: Shawushka
...Every single one of them worked towards forgiving his perpetrators...


i understand how (many, some, few) guys arrive at that point. time and place could very well play an important role too.

perfect example: "going through recovery right this moment" is newsworthy... and, in this case, was worthy of documenting on film.

i also think "forgiving" is a positive, healthy trait. i don't even put any "but"s on that claim. i ask for some of us, especially where violence was involved, should we put pressure on ourselves to forgive? can we be compared with a guy who did consider his molester his best bud and was molested in, say for all intents an purposes, an enjoyable experience sexually that was in no way violent? i don't know, just asking.

for all my 48 years of living, i can think of just two men i have not and do not intend to forgive. one was my rapist and 22 years later, one was a president. the thousands (literally) of other men and women in my life who have touched it in negative, even harmful way - hey - no biggie. forgiven, forgotten, finished.

_________________________
Jeff

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#384604 - 02/06/12 06:24 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: westchesterguy]
Shawushka Offline


Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 128
Loc: VA
westchesterguy, you make some really good point.
Maybe 'forgiving' can also have different definitions? I'm having some difficulties to explain what I mean here, but I'll try.
Let's say there's a good friend of mine who offended me, I can forgive and welcome the person back into my life.
If someone has done something extremely horrible, I may not be able to welcome that person back into my life but can forgive, defining it as 'I understand your motives and why you did that' - which would just enable me to move on, recover and not waste my energy on having a grudge.

Whatever, I do think that the more grave the abuse, the more violent, the more damaging - the more difficult and maybe even impossible to forgive.


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#384609 - 02/06/12 06:45 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Shawushka]
westchesterguy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 421
Loc: Westchester County NY
Originally Posted By: Shawushka
....Maybe 'forgiving' can also have different definitions?


i think so too shaw. i forgave a guy who purposely set out to hurt me because i fell in love with him. he had fallen in love with me too, but, his theory was --- "how dare you fall in love with me, because i'm such a loser and no one should ever love me like you do." i understood where he was coming from in time, and i realized my powerlessness over that situation, walked away, forgave, healed from truly a broken heart.

as for the rapist though: while being powerless there too, in my view, forgiveness isn't even the appropriate "reaction" or goal. the fact i managed to survive (at all) the rapist's torment is rather amazing. as it is too for so many guys here. so, hence the term "no matter what you did to me, i survived....." seems so much more fitting in that example than "ok dude, you are fucked up, so i forgive you no matter what you did to me."

_________________________
Jeff

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#384624 - 02/06/12 08:48 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: westchesterguy]
Jim1104 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/16/11
Posts: 410
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Hero and Castle,

When I first read your statement, Castle, that " a perpetrator should never ask for forgiveness", I thought to myself, "Self, doesn't that fly in the face of everything you purport to believe in as a Christian?"

I mean, the way I read my bible (and I know there are a lot of non-christians here), that's what I am supposed to do in response to the forgiveness given me.

Then again, I can see where you and your therapist are coming from. I appreciate both the questions you posed Hero and your explanation Castle and that of everyone else here.

Having acted out during my marriage and hurt my wife, I guess I can understand both viewpoints offered. When I think of the act of asking forgiveness, I have always looked at it as simply apologizing, but it is not, is it?

When everything fell apart, and many times thereafter, I apologized to my wife. I really don't know if I asked for forgiveness, though. If I did, I don't remember. I do know, though, that I have consistently and consciously tried, whenever the issue comes up to a) apologize for what I did and b) make sure that I never try and cast any blame on my wife. What I did, I did. As near as I can figure, that's all that can be done.

I have, once or twice, in the midst of a discussion said, "I don't care what you think and whether you forgive me or not" to her. She calls me on it and I admit I do care whether she forgives me or not, but I say that because I am trying to assert that my life and my actions are based on my own decisions, not on whether she ever forgives me or not.

You guys are right. As I have written this, I believe you are correct in that when I ask forgiveness, it's not for the sake of the offended person, it's because I want to feel better about myself. Asking someone to forgive me is, in essence, asking them to help me feel better about myself and even in the best of circumstances that's an unrealistic request.

When I apologize, I am taking responsibility for what I have done and the harm it has caused. There are things that people have done to me that have really really hurt (not speaking about the abuse). They have very much traumatized me.

I know that if someone apologizes to me, it is much easier for me to let it go. I might even, at some point in the future, forget about the whole thing. But if I have been harmed, an no apology is forthcoming, then it will be nearly impossible for me to get over. The pain will come back and I will feel it if there is no apology.

Ok. I am sorry for the long writing. I very much appreciate what everyone has written. I makes me think.

Hero:

To answer your questions...


...All abusers should absolutely and irrevocably apologize and take responsibility for their actions.

...If I receive a heartfelt aplogy that I really believe, then it will help some. If that person actually, as Castle wrote, takes full responsibility for the act and it's consequences, it will help, but only a very little. I think I would have to hear it over and over and over again, followed by actions proving the apology is sincere. That's not realistic. Still, the right words accepting responsibility would relieve me a little bit.

...The previous answer comes from the adult me. After 40 years of reinforcing hatred for myself, partly as a result of what my abuser did, a sincere, heartfelt apology would help on some level, but there is no way that it would help a lot.

I would turn the question around to you as the victim. I know you are a supporter, but you have also been victimized and, though not physically, perhaps, you are a survivor of psychic abuse in what you have gone through. What are your answers to the questions? You have a dog in this hunt too.

Jim

_________________________
Jim
Male/USA

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#384778 - 02/07/12 06:48 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: herowannabe]
herowannabe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 386
Loc: USA
Thanks everyone for your insight! What an amazing variety of thoughts!

What I've learned is that an apology would be a wee measure of comfort for some of you, but it would in no way be of true and lasting help for you. Most of you bristle at being asked for forgiveness, which is absolutely understandable. I get that!

Thank you, Jim, for bringing me into the conversation. That was a very considerate and respectful thing to do, and I appreciate it very much.

I agree with the majority of you; I would not have appreciated my beloved asking for forgiveness, at least not until he'd demonstrated remorse- not for having been "caught", but for the horrible effects his acting out wrought on me, our marriage and our entire family.

Because he demonstrated authentic remorse (and still does), which was backed up by remorseful action on his part, I view his remorse as a non-verbal request for forgiveness.

I have come to find that neither authentic remorse nor authentic forgiveness can be given in just one dose. Instead, they both are fueled by the other: He shows remorse, I show forgiveness. Over and over again. It is a necessary, circular exercise that will continue until its usefulness in our mutual healing is no longer needed.

So, with that said, I wonder if your answers would be different if the question was about remorse, which must come first, instead of forgiveness?

- Isn't remorse something ALL abusers should offer?

- Would sincere remorse have helped relieve you of your own misplaced shame and guilt?

- If your abuser would demonstrate sincere remorse now that you are an adult, would it help you?

Does that word change the landscape for you guys???

Again, thanks for your answers. They are so enlightening!

Sending you all love and support-
herowannabe

_________________________


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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#384809 - 02/07/12 09:44 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
I've told my perpetrator clients for over 30 years that they have no right to ask for forgiveness. My colleagues in the offender treatment field also subscribe to that philosophy.

Survivors have the right to grant forgiveness but no one should tell a survivor that he should give forgiveness. It is one power the survivor has that no one can take away. If a survivor wants to give forgiveness because of his beliefs, that would make sense but if he is told that forgiveness SHOULD be given by a clergy person or a parent, partner or anyone else, it is likely being coerced or given by guilt.

Offenders, in treatment for their abusive behaviors, are often times asked to write a letter of apology but it is never sent without the therapist of the survivor being consulted. The letter of apology should not be a surprise to the survivor. Many if not most, offenders would like to apologize when they are in treatment and understand the consequences and enormity of the damage they created. However, they may not ask for any forgiveness.


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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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#386691 - 02/21/12 02:45 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: limit]
limit Offline


Registered: 04/23/11
Posts: 131
having been abusive in my life, there are a lot of people who i need to apologize to as well. i would never expect that by the virtue of my apology, should all of my wrongdoing be absolved and i be granted forgiveness. i would simply want them to know how i feel about it and that i take responsibility for it.


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#386711 - 02/21/12 03:35 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: limit]
Forexpreneur Offline


Registered: 02/08/12
Posts: 141
Loc: Uranus (hell no not yours. lol...
Thank you for this post limit. What is sad to me is that from your post I realize that the line between an apology and forgiveness for me is very blurred.

My second step father never sexually abused me, but was very abusive in other ways. He has BPD which really confused me because one minute he would be nice, and BAM, he would fly off the handle and become abusive out of no where, which was a hell of a lot of fun for a CSA survivor.

He programmed me through abuse to view an apology and forgiveness as the same. He would apologize and then throw it back in my face and scream at me if I didn't forgive him for what he did.

I felt like a damn yo-yo. You helped me to realize that learning the difference between an apology and forgiveness is another growth opportunity.

Thank you.

Alex



Edited by Forexpreneur (02/21/12 03:35 PM)

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#386833 - 02/22/12 06:50 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: Forexpreneur]
limit Offline


Registered: 04/23/11
Posts: 131
no problem. though that post is only my opinion on the matter, to me it makes logical sense. i have BPD too. i have had to make the differences between things, as minute as they are, obnoxiously clear inside of my own head so that i don't go around hurting people unintentionally.


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#386843 - 02/22/12 09:13 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: limit]
Jim1104 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/16/11
Posts: 410
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Originally Posted By: limit
having been abusive in my life, there are a lot of people who i need to apologize to as well. i would never expect that by the virtue of my apology, should all of my wrongdoing be absolved and i be granted forgiveness. i would simply want them to know how i feel about it and that i take responsibility for it.


And that is what I want to hear from my perp. There are others who have deeply hurt me from whom I wish to hear an apology. To me, a wound can't truly be healed until it stops bleeding. Some may disagree, but the blood will always flow until I hear two heart felt words - I apologize - when someone has truly put a dagger through my heart.

_________________________
Jim
Male/USA

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#461699 - 02/28/14 03:26 AM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: herowannabe]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3362
Loc: O Kanada
the answer to your last two questions
- Would a sincere apology have helped relieve you of your own misplaced shame and guilt?

- If your abuser would offer a sincere apology now that you are an adult, would it help you?

is "yes".

but my answer to first question is
"- Isn't an apology something ALL abusers should offer?"
is "no".

the abuser should offer compensation as well, without reservation.
unconditional surrender.

mind you, in my life, i have never seen a criminal apologize without being caught and beaten or threatened.

the only remorse i have seen has been coerced.
it usually is an attempt to avoid punishment,
rather than a true repentance and acceptance of consequences.
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#461729 - 02/28/14 02:05 PM Re: An abuser's apology? Survivor input, please! [Re: herowannabe]
On The Fringe Offline


Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
My most important apology was to myself.

My abuser was a screwed up teen. He may have been abused. My parents, being slacker drunk pieces of shit, are the ones that facilitated the abuse.

My mother asked fly forgiveness on her deathbed. I must say I forgave her and it felt validating on what I thought about my life being screwed up.... But it changed nothing related to my recovery,

My dad died drunk and disowned by the family. I never saw him,or his funeral. He was a waste at his end. It did nothing for me.

So I must say forgiving me, realizing it was not my fault, that is the critical amend to be made.

Best wishes on our recovery.
_________________________
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

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