No, it's not that word.
I don't need to discuss that word. That word, for me, is the colored marshmallow in my breakfast cereal; totally unnecessary, no doubt bad for me, and I'm going to eat it just the same. It keeps my head from exploding and prevents aneurysms.
The other "F" word I'm going to touch on today is actually more highly charged in my mind. It is forgiveness.
Up to this point, I've been under the impression that forgiveness meant condoning the action. Forgiveness meant throwing open my arms and saying "You were right! You didn't have any control and I'm so sorry for all your personal misery."
Yeah. That ain't gonna happen.
I even discussed forgiveness with my therapist and I asked if I needed to forgive in order to move on and be healthy in my own head. She said I didn't.
But I have had the opportunity to discuss the concept of forgiveness with a person from the criminal justice system recently. (And no, it wasn't the MN Sex Offender's Program.)
Forgiveness looks a lot different when the relationship is not going to continue. It isn't about communication and dialogue and rebuilding trust and going forward from this moment with a clean slate. It isn't about condoning an action. It isn't about making excuses or accepting excuses.
It basically involves cessation of negative actions against that person.
It basically means that you take that two ton weight that is around your neck and you set it down and you walk away.
Oh yeah, and you won't stand outside the prison gate with a shotgun on release day.
Framed like this, I can see where, someday, I could get there. I don't know if I would call it forgiveness, I think apathy is a more apt description. I have days where I can actually do apathy. That is an easier concept for me because I can honestly say "You've done nothing but negatively impact my life for nearly 18 years. I'm not going to expend anymore energy on you. You aren't worth it."
But I suppose when the last bit of legalese is finished, I get to call my apathy "forgiveness". Perhaps forgiveness is apathy on steroids? There are just a couple more legal hurdles as far as STBX goes and then I might have to meditate on my belly button for awhile.
The hardest part, the one that will take a lifetime, is to forgive myself. I can learn all about how pedophiles are masters at manipulation and I can be stunned by the concept of "lying by omission" that was the trademark of STBX's modus operandi. I can learn about the wheels of power and see how I was a cog in the great machine. I can learn all of the concepts and the vocabulary and see the statistics laid out in front of me.
But to acknowledge the weight of the three rocks lashed to my back, labeled "You could have...", "You should have...", and "You didn't" and then set them down and walk away?
I'm working on it.