What Is Toxic Forgiveness?
I watched an episode of Red Table Talk a few weeks ago and they were talking about toxic forgiveness. Their definition of toxic forgiveness is “an unhealthy way people pretend to be unharmed, over it or forgetful of an offense in order to “keep the peace” or avoid being labeled “bitter”, “scorned” or someone who “holds a grudge”.
Toxic forgiveness is a term often used to describe an unhealthy way people handle a situation when they have been wronged. It can manifest itself in the form of pretending someone never wronged you in order to prevent conflict, or overlooking bad behavior for the sake of maintaining peace. This type of forgiveness can be detrimental to one’s mental health.
When someone has been hurt by another person and chooses not to confront them, it can lead to feelings of resentment, anger, or sadness that build up over time. Toxic forgiveness means trying to minimize the hurt and sweep it under the rug rather than addressing it head on. This kind of behavior usually results in further emotional damage because those who are unwilling or unable to voice their true feelings will eventually become overwhelmed by them.
In our modern times, spiritual bypassing has become an increasingly common occurrence. This is when a person uses spirituality to avoid dealing with their own painful feelings and unresolved emotional wounds. While it can appear to be beneficial on the surface, spiritual bypassing can lead to harmful behavior or even toxic forgiveness.
At its core, toxic forgiveness is when someone forgives another person without actually addressing the underlying pain that needs to be healed. In some cases, this may even lead to enabling hurtful or abusive behaviors in relationships while simultaneously masking the pain of betrayal or abandonment. Additionally, the effects of this type of forgiving can have long-term implications for both parties involved as well as those who are close to them.
It’s really all about how you don’t want to be perceived a certain way, as judgmental and unforgiving. Wanting to be seen as a good person.
But Forgiveness Is Really For Myself
Sometimes people just want to be over the pain, so they just decide to forgive. As if forgiving will stop the pain. They aren’t processing their feelings, giving themselves tools and time to overcome the painful thing in their lives, they just decide from their heads. Not their hearts. Forgiveness is not a decision. It’s a process.
You can say you have forgiven someone when you have just moved on and don’t even think about the situation in a ruminating sort of way.
But in the meantime not forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to hate them and be unkind, it means you can sit in that space of things being uncompleted, messy, up and down.
People think if they say they have forgiven then they can move on. But they wont be able to. Or they will have physical or emotional symptoms of denying how they really feel.
It’s like putting icing on a rotten cake.
We Love People Who Have Forgiven
When it comes to forgiving someone, there are a lot of benefits that come with it. However, wanting all the benefits does not automatically happen just because you have said that you have forgiven someone. Toxic forgiveness is a concept where people forgive for their own convenience or sense of obligation rather than out of sincerity and understanding. It’s important to remember that simply saying the words “I forgive you” without actually coming to terms with what happened is not enough; reconciliation and healing can only be achieved if both parties are willing to put in effort into making things right.
It’s also important to understand that forgiving someone does not necessarily mean forgetting what happened either. Forgiveness should be given willingly, with an open heart and mind, so genuine reconciliation can occur between two parties.
We love people who talk about having forgiven someone, say like a murderer. It’s seen as a noble thing to do and we put those people who can forgive on pedestals because we wonder how they could possibly do it, perhaps they are more spiritual than we are, more loving.
Maybe over time this could happen but not immediately just because that’s how you want to feel. You have to deal with your emotions authentically and go at the pace of being a human on this planet.
We Must Forgive In Order To Heal
While it is true, we do need to forgive in order to heal, this isn’t a one time event. Our society puts alot of moral pressure on us to forgive and be noble and act politely. We are taught that it is a good person who forgives and an evil person who does not. But this is a lie.
We need to understand that initially forgiveness is the most unnatural thing we can do. It goes against our instincts to protect ourselves from what hurts us. That is why it takes time to forgive. And emotional processing. This can take years. And then it may not happen. You may end up not forgiving, but you can have peace and acceptance that this is how you feel, rather than putting pressure on yourself to look resolved so other people are comfortable around you.
Toxic Forgiveness is Self Betrayal
Toxic Forgiveness is Self Betrayal. The idea that it is wrong to not forgive someone who has done us wrong. Many of us feel obligated to forgive, believing that it will make us better people. However, forgiving someone for their mistakes too quickly can be a sign of betrayal of ourselves.
When we forgive others too easily, we are essentially saying that what they did was okay and does not need to be addressed or changed in any way. By forgiving those who have hurt us without consequence, we are allowing them the opportunity to continue their toxic behavior without consequence. This perpetuates their negativity and keeps them from learning from their mistakes and taking responsibility for them. We cannot put our trust in someone who has betrayed us before because they may do so again, which means that forgiving too easily can actually be dangerous.
Ignoring and going against how you really feel is the ultimate in betrayal. Your feelings are your guideposts in navigating life, but if you override these again and again, you can end up with bigger issues.
So don’t put the pressure on yourself to forgive, it is something that will just naturally happen as a byproduct of you doing the emotional processing.