Saturday, February 17, 2018


It is not necessary to forgive in order to heal.  It certainly is not up to anyone else to make forgiveness statements on your behalf!  Forgiveness, should it be considered, will come in stages.  It is not to be rushed.

Do not be hasty in offering forgiveness.  Heal your mind, heart and body, first. Take care of yourself.  Should a desire to explore forgiveness surface, take your time.  Make sure it is what you really want to do.  Do not allow anyone to pressure you.

Forgiveness can and should remain a mental exercise, not a physical one.  When you forgive, you are merely letting the acute pain and rage you feel slip away.

You do not, under any circumstances, have to include physical contact with the perpetrator who harmed you. Do not bend to others guilt ridden pressure.  It is entirely up to you if and when you take the forgiveness step.  Family members want victims to move on so the perpetrator can join the family again.  That is not what forgiveness is about.  The perpetrator should remain out of sight until the wounded forgive, if ever.

If you yield to family pressure to associate with the perpetrator who harmed you, before you have healed then you are setting yourself up for mental re-injury.

A Story of Forgiveness

There is only one person that led me to create a website dedicated to link early child abuse-torture to subsequent addiction.  Had it not been for my sibling abuser, I would have never developed this website. I would have lacked the raw experience needed to document my journey through addiction, recovery and healing.

I did not suffer 1/1000th the horrors millions of our nation’s children experience daily.  If I had, I would have remained frozen in time, a chi-ult, bent on self-destruction until early death.  I would still be paralyzed with fear and guilt, unable to write about my experience.

Still, incest and physical abuse, from a relative, an older brother no less, is mind-bending torture.  A child born into this type of home is an easy target for a trusted family member bent on cruelty.

Incest it is much like shooting fish in a barrel.  My age range of torture began around 8 and lasted just after my 14th birthday.  The experiences twisted my mind, but does not appear to be brutal enough to destroy my Spirit.

I am closer to forgiving my abuser (2003). Considering I didn’t face the full realization of my secret childhood experiences until 1991, it does seem to be a long time for healing.   It is an odd process this forgiving business.  There still linger fragments of deep resentment, and hot rage surfaces even now. Tears spring from a well that I thought had dried up. I still burn and choke as unleashed grief leaps out.  Sixteen and a half years ago (3/1991) I was only sober 6 months when I flashed back to those early years of child abuse.   For the most part, the pure hatred that raged in my consciousness that entire weekend has subsided considerably.

True forgiveness, if it does come, can not be rushed.  It is to be savored as part of the total healing package. And healing takes time; lots of time.  It comes in tiny fragments.  Only after piecing these fragments together does healing begin to make you whole.

Forgiveness too, is not the choice of those not directly affected by the traumatic events.  Never is it OK for a family member to forgive a predator, on behalf of an innocent child.  It is up to the child., the target, when he or she is ready, if they are ever ready.  And all family members, friends, neighbors and thrill seekers, need to stand back and wait for the child to make this determination without pressure or comment.

Sadly, there are burning questions that will never be answered.  My abuser chose suicide to solve his problems.  All I have left is speculation and a discovered knowledge that many youthful abusers are taught their damaging behaviors from adult predators. I have wondered recently if perhaps the family friend that also chose suicide many years before, might have been my siblings’ abuser.

I think people rush to forgiveness in a hope their pain will subside or perhaps it will please God.  From my point of view, child abuse/brutality/torture and child sexual survivors should hold on to their resentments and anger until their rage is fully spent. I have visited this pain over and over while documenting my feelings for the examples of abuse and torture.  It hurts less than in the beginning but still triggers fierce eating frenzies when certain subjects are deeply explored. I burn sage and run a small water fountain to soothe my mind.  It helps soothe during difficult writing days.

Much of the acute pain has subsided (2007) because I chose to heal these deep wounds. It took many hours and days, even months of reliving painful memories to work out my feelings. I allowed the gut wrenching pain to engulf me so I could capture raw feelings suppressed so long ago and write them down.

It is my hope (2008) this website will help others heal their hearts.

So, in memory of my brother Al, my hope is that between Private Family Matter and Gentle Sobriety, we can help others find sobriety and heal from our mutual childhood traumas.

May he now rest in peace and may I soar!

I continue to heal.  It is such a wonderful journey now.  7/2010

Sue Christensen 2003
Revised July 2007
Revised August 2008
Revised October 2008
Revised July 2010

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