Forgiveness and becoming reconciled…

March 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

I happened to read on Swedish Radio’s web-page “I wanted to kill my dad”. In my quick translation from Swedish:

“I thought I deserved to be beaten, that it was my own fault because I was so stupid and worthless.

Peter Westberg who is 21 years old and lives in Umeå was abused by his dad from age five years to age eight. Then school perssonel started to understand what was going on. After threats of being reported the abuse stopped, but the wounds in Peter were deep and would take time to heal. 

Sweden banned corporal punishment of children 1979, but despite this several studies have shown that 10 percent of all children in Sweden have been beaten at some time by an adult in the home. 6 percent of all children in Sweden have been beaten on repeated occasions. And there are a large  number of unrecorded cases. 

When Peter were in his teens the hatred he had locked inside him started to bubble up. He became afraid of himself, for what he felt. He wanted to kill his perpetrator, his dad. Today he is 21 years old and after speaking with people in the psychiatric ward [in Umeå] he has started to write about what he has experienced; this becoming the basis for a book. There he tells about his exposure/vulneralibility and about an adult world that let him down. But it’s also a story about reconciliation.”

Why is it so important to reconcile? And forgive? For whose sake? For the victim’s? Anger will poison his soul? Or what?

With this said I’m not blaming this young man. I’m just questioning the helpers, and most people in the society who want to here people forgive their perpetrators, especially if they are their parents.

I think Alice Miller was right when she claimed that how can you forgive someone that hasn’t asked forgiveness? Why should you? Why should you forgive someone that doesn’t truly understand and regret what he/she has done?

If that person were to understand even with her/his emotions would this be any problem any more?

Is it possible to heal without this forgiveness and reconciliation? Or is it actually impossible?

Would it be too painful not to forgive? Or is it possible to feel at least parts of this pain with appropriate help? And maybe that helper doesn’t necessarily have to a professional helper?

This “demand” of forgiveness is it for he helpers sake? For to calm them down?

I hope they don’t feel for protecting either the parents or themselves at Barnahusen (House for Children, created by Save the Children) that are created to help children who have been abused (physically, sexually and emotionally?).

Models for those barnahus are the Icelandic Barnahús and American Children’s Advocacy Centers.

The child advocate Andrew Vachss was pushing Oprah in one of her programs on this issue (see the videos here); when she minimized and belittled what she had been through early in life (by forgiving and reconciling with her abusers, something people in general applaud unfortunately).


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