I'm adding to my earlier post, because as supportive as the direct responses to it have been, it seemed like it did trigger some negative responses on the forum in terms of 'forgiveness'. And to be honest, those posts have made me delve deeper into this subject and ask myself whether I really believed in 'forgiveness', or even if it was necessary/good for recovery and healing.
So...like with any debate, I started off with defining and asking myself what I meant by 'forgiveness'...and I actually couldn't come up with a concrete answer. So I did skimmed through wikipedia and satisfied myself with these main points -
1. Ceasing to hate, or to feel anger
2. Ceasing to seek revenge, or demand punishment
and is helped through (though doesn't require) the offender asking for forgiveness or apologizing.
In light of this, I can only say that I actually half-agree with 'forgiveness' as the path forward for me now. So yeah, I guess I'm eating up my words a little. I'm still working on figuring out the difference between hatred and anger; I think the former lasts longer and can translate into destructive aggression on oneself or on others, while the latter is more temporary that can be dealt with by self-soothing mechanisms. When you look back at memories of abuse, I think it's a natural response - no matter how old you get and how much you've recovered - to feel anger and pain. And I'd say it's a healthy response to, because anger is something you feel when something happens that is unjust, and abuse is sure as hell unjust. I did feel hatred for a long time, but through reading countless articles/books on psychology, I was gradually able to accept that things couldn't have been different and that they (the past) are unchangeable. This helped in letting go of my hatred, gradually transforming it into anger, which over time has shed its cover to reveal pain. For countless, countless different things coming together at once - bad childhood, bad parents, bad circumstances/situations, bad social networks, lack of a moral compass, low IQ, personality disorders, and probably csa herself - my mother abused me; these things merely explain her abuse and that helped me overcome my hatred, since part of it was because I couldn't understand why she did the things she did and that used to enrage me. But these reasons DO NOT JUSTIFY her actions, and I think anger is still a justified reaction. So about 1), in a nutshell, I half-agree.
As for 2), I realize that gambling was in a way a form of revenge. I wanted to make my parents suffer - my mom for the abuse, and my dad for not having protected me from it. And for them still justifying/minimizing/rationalizing the abuse. I wanted to cripple them, just bring them down; I gambled, I gambled, and I gambled, pissing away money like it was paper. About two weeks ago I self-barred myself from casinos. I can't gamble anywhere in the country now. It's given me time and perspective. Looking back, I can see now that in a way, the gambling was a form of escape and revenge; subconscious hatred was driving my life, and when that aggression started burning out and pain started to set in, I delved further into that addiction in order to emotionally escape. I hit rock-bottom (which had me suicidal and resulted in me writing my first frantic post). And really, it's a sh***y way to live. I was still living the abuse even if it wasn't happening at the time. And what was CRAZY, looking back at it, was I thought that my delinquent/acting-out behavior might change my parents so that they'd be more interested in my opinion, my feelings; I thought they'd change to look into themselves more and become more self-critical, to get more humble and accept their mistakes. Nope. They did feel pain and did suffer for it (obviously, for financially reasons), and I do admit I got a slight kick out of that sometimes, but it was a double-edged sword - all the blame came back on me. Sorry for the awful imagery, but honestly it was like taking a dump and then having it flushed onto me. So as for 2), I'd wholeheartedly agree in 'forgiveness' - revenge might bring down your perpetrator and satisfy the lust of your hatred, but it brings you down as well. And...well, it sucks being down, especially being at the bottom end of the pit.
I thought it was interesting because according to these definitions, 'forgiveness' is our own choice, and it can be done without the presence of the offender/perpetrator, albeit being more difficult. Also, there was nothing about justifying the abuse, and I felt that was a good thing, because really, nothing can and ever will justify abuse - it is wrong, it is impermissible, it shouldn't happen.
I guess in the end, what I meant from the first post was that accepting that things couldn't have been different has helped me in dissolving my hatred, though not anger - and I don't mind feeling anger occasionally because it is a natural emotional response to injustice; and that life is a lot better when revenge and hatred are not its driving forces. Also, from your responses, I've come to appreciate the fact that forgiving and breaking contact with the abuser aren't mutually exclusive - the latter is something I will probably do once I become financially independent. At this point in time, I can't see my abuser changing, let alone apologizing or asking for forgiveness.
Anyway, thanks again to those who responded, it's helped in clearing up my thoughts on the issue a lot.
"What gives light must endure burning." - Viktor E. Frankl