NEED HELP? 1-800-273-8255 TXT "CTL" to 741741
I had a session yesterday… Under the pretense I was going in there to re-explain 15 years of trauma, 15 years of abuse, 15. Years. Of ugly, undermining, unrecoverable years. I was under the impression this was going to be like ANY OTHER appointment I’ve ever encountered with a therapist. Especially since I’ve been doing it for years I thought, “Yup, gonna go in there and rehash all my crap. AGAIN.”
But it wasn’t.
I went in there and we explored the bad, sure, but at the end of the road, she stopped me and turned me down a different fork than the one I normally went. She asked, “And did you forgive your mother after she died?” I have been asked this before so automatically I replied, “For several years I couldn’t. I didn’t know how–” To which she nodded and said, “Did you feel guilty for not forgiving her?” I’d also encountered this, and like a victim I merely told her I always felt guilty. I felt guilty I couldn’t save her. I felt guilty I couldn’t forgive her. I felt guilty I hated her for what she’d done. I felt ashamed. I felt it everyday for over 6 years until one day, I sat down in my discomfort and I told myself to stop.
“Did it stop?”
“You don’t have a reason to forgive her for what she did. It’s okay to be angry with her. Your emotions are completely valid. And always will be.”
This was new. Never once, in all the time in and out of grief counseling with my grandmother, had someone ever VALIDATED my emotions. All they’d ever said to me was to LET IT GO. Forgive her, because you’ll never find peace otherwise. But never actually told me how to do this. And thus, since 2011, I was internally destroying myself over the prospect of not letting her be forgiven, of not letting my wounds heal. Until just yesterday, this one woman said to me that everything up to this point was normal. And it was fine. And I can continue to be upset over what happened on the bad days, and I’m allowed to hold back forgiveness for what my mother put me through. I don’t have to forgive anyone who wrongs me. And neither does anyone else.
I just thought I’d share this. Because it was an eye-opener to hear that it was fine to feel the way I feel after so LONG. And it was fine to let go of the fact I’ll never actually forgive and forget. 🙂
Wow, I’m so happy for you that you could have this great support and validation. What a huge insight. Thanks for sharing.
I can totally relate to needing my emotions to just be validated!!! Sometimes I get so annoyed with all of the advice giving because it’s like uhh yeah thats great BUT I STILL HAVE EMOTIONS!
My best friend is really good at this, she says to me all of the time ‘how you’re feeling is completely valid’… even if my thinking or emotions are a little cray lol
I have been learning at school in my counseling classes about how important it is to ‘reflect emotions’ and ‘validate emotions’. It’s been great practice for me and I’ve been trying to do it more for other people like my family and friends. It’s also helpful for me to be the same way to myself.
I’m so glad that you were able to find someone that can validate your emotions like you deserve!
Forgiveness is always the best emotional response. We can always st a path to try and forgive someone and immediately redirect out hurt and pain to take a positive critical overview in the future after we have more information about what happened and what the person who has hurt us did to us.
Allowing our pain and hurt to control our emotions will not change what another person has already done to hurt us. Oftentimes I watch the most adorable thing that I have ever seen and that is a Baby Elephant. They are so soft and warm and filled with life, love, and wonder. Outside of human babies, they are truly the most amazing thing on earth that I have found. I often take time to watch them on YouTube and they make me smile all day long.
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
Learn More »