Why You Never Need to Forgive and Forget Abuse

You never have to forgive your abuser. You never have to forget or deny what you went through. If you want to share your story publicly, go ahead. If you want to hate the people who hurt you, you have every right. Don’t listen to the people who say “forgive and forget.” 

This advice usually comes with good intentions, but it’s hard to properly deliver it to a survivor of abuse. Since, well, it’s usually people who haven’t suffered this trauma who try to tell us to move on. 

I do believe that forgiveness has a role in recovery. So does moving on and pushing trauma, at least a bit, to the side of your life. 

But it’s not as simple as just a quick forgive and forget. It’s knowing where to focus that (self-)forgiveness towards and coming to terms with naturally repressed memories, as well as memories that we seem to always be aware of. 

Recovery can be a challenge because our minds, emotions, and body will always remember the abuse in some ways. We can’t just erase what happened to us. Like I talked about last week, the past lives in us. 

But, you can find freedom and healing—while learning to forgive and forget in the right, healthy kind of way. 

Struggling with self-forgiveness? Check out this blog!

Check out the video above for these awesome insights:

What makes up real forgiveness and how to manifest it in your life [0:51]

Why forcing yourself to forget harms you on your journey to recovery [1:41]

What you should do instead of trying to force away what you went through [2:30]

Trauma is a challenge for each and every one of us. Having spent almost four years on my own recovery (that’s just the part that happened after abuse) I’ve learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work. 

I can definitely say that forcing yourself to forgive and forget the harm you faced does not, and never will, help. Forgiveness has its place, and some of us will decide to forgive our abusers, but we need to focus on ourselves and our healing first. 

It’s about doing what’s right for you. 

To get started, I’d love to hear your thoughts below in a comment! What are they about this new idea of forgiving and forgetting? What are some ways of “forgiving and forgetting” that others have told you and you really disagree with?

Your comment alone may inspire a new step on your journey or mentor someone else who reads it. Your voice is powerful and your potential is infinite. 

Don’t forget, before you go, to share this with at least one other survivor of abuse! <3 

How close are you to thriving after abuse? Click here to take the quiz!


  • Ealasaid Witt
    February 20, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    I just wanted to say… this is one of the most spot-on viewpoints I have ever heard on trauma, forgiveness and healing. Your insights are brilliant, and your perspective is fresh, smart and healing. So much of the forgiveness information out there is a form of the ‘let’s pretend nothing happened’ game. Many folks are ill-equipped to offer genuine emotional support, and currently our society teaches that you shouldn’t need any emotional support at all from anyone, that you should be an emotional island unto yourself unaffected by other people and circumstances. That’s such crap! Thank you so much, for putting your insights out there.

  • Melissa Kent
    March 3, 2019 at 5:27 am

    I couldn’t agree more with Eal asaid. Your post gives me the affirmation i need to be open once again and his comment gives me the cool breathe of triumph/relief. ????Thanks to you both

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