TW: ABUSE // Sometimes distance is better than forgiveness





Sometimes, someone hurts you in a way that’s permanently and forver dealbreaking.

Some people will tell you that you have to forgive the person who hurt you in order to move on. Sometimes, they will put lots of pressure on you and tell you that if you’re still suffering, it’s your own fault for bearing a grudge.

But… you don’t have to forgive someone to get distance. You can do that by creating a boundary. Sometimes that means you limit contact with them to areas in which they’re safe for you. Sometimes that means you break off contact entirely. In any case, it’s something you can do unilaterally. 

You can break away and build a life that has nothing to do with them. They don’t have to loom large in your life forever. 

And you don’t have to get closure or resolution or anything like that in order to move on. What you have to do is move on and do other things.

It takes time and it doesn’t fix everything (neither does forgiveness, despite cultural tropes). But it allows you to build space for yourself, without that person’s hurt taking over everything. And you don’t have to forgive them or do anything at all regarding them to get that space.

Your life is about you, not the person who hurt you.

I needed these words.

edit: though while re-reading it, I dislike the part that says “What you have to do is move on and do other things” since it’s kind of impossible to just “move on” (in the same way that it can be impossible to or just beside the point to forgive)

I wonder if you’d be willing to say more about that? 

I agree that you can’t make what someone did stop mattering by an act of will. Because it matters, and if you’re hurt, you’re hurt.

What I mean by moving on is finding things to do that aren’t about that person. Even if they’re small at first. Even if it takes a long time. Even if the hurt doesn’t go away. It is possible to get distance, I think.

Am I still getting something wrong?

Well, I had a similar bad reaction to that part of the post but because I know this blog I was able to see other meanings to it, saying move on can make me feel  uncomfortable because people use that in other contexts to say that someone who was affected by abuse or trauma is choosing to think about it and dwell on it.

For me, saying to move on has been used in an invalidating and simplistic way, to say I should forget about it, stop thinking and being affected by a traumatic or abusive experience. It’s similar to the use of telling someone with social anxiety to be social or with depression to be happy, the same people who told me that use the term move on ignoring how hard and complex this is and how abuse and trauma are different than everyday life and leave different kinds of memories and effects.

This is the reasons why this made me uncomfortable, I obviously can’t speak for the other person.

That’s a fair point, thank you for explaining.

I didn’t mean to invoke that trope; that trope is horrible. People tell others that they just need to get over it already all the time, and it *really* doesn’t work that way.

I’m talking about something else, but I can see how it looks similar. 

I need to figure out a better way of referring to the thing I’m actually trying to talk about.