Tuesday, July 21, 2015

False Forgiveness is a Trap with Malignant Narcissists

                            [picture source]

Us ACONs are told to forgive.

Many of us already did and how can I say this? It failed.

Forgiving a Narc is just another way to get your heart broken and your face slammed down into the ground.

In 2002, I became a  born again Christian, and I remember thinking at the time, I need to make relationships "right" and I decided to "forgive" my mother.  After all the Bible says "Honor your mother and father." After all Jesus preached we are to forgive. Of course most of the pastors ignore the part about the wicked repenting to receive this forgiveness.

I found it interesting in one of the psycho comments, one line was "I don't forgive the unworthy". You can't really forgive someone who doesn't think they have done anything wrong.

At the time, I sought to understand my mother and thought to myself, she had a hard time growing up on the farm. She had a husband who yelled way too much. She had siblings who died. I also convinced myself of this line of thinking, maybe she is very reticient and hides her true emotions inside. In other words, manufactured depth of hidden emotions became my fantasy world about my mother.  The coldness I faced was too hard to even tell myself the truth about.

Sure for years I knew, "My mother hates me", but I blamed myself for that hate and sad to say even into my 30s at that time, I was still in that fog.

Even in my cartoon diaries and journals during those years I wrote things like, "I wasn't the best daughter, she couldn't deal with me" blaming myself for being fat, for being so different. By 2000, I found out about my Aspergers and told her.  I thought it would open the door for greater understanding. That she would realize what I was facing. Ironically that year my brother's son, was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism which is a notch below Aspergers on the spectrum but this changed NOTHING. There was no new understanding. There was no desire to even try to understand Aspergers but then the same applied to my medical health.

How many of us are told we are wicked for having anger towards our abusers? Even in the world of forgiveness most will take up for the estranged parents of no contact. They will tell the ACON they are "unforgiving" and that we "hold grudges". Remember my first no contact? I was guilted into coming back and told I needed to reconcile and to be a "nice" person. To be sure, after my two years of NC now, they are saying I am the one who is cold. No one will hold her responsible. The majority sadly will defend the narcissists.

Forgiveness is often a hammer used upon the head of ACONS. "Why haven't you forgiven your parents?" "Why do you hold grudges?" "Why are you so unforgiving?". No one will ask the narcissists, "Why don't you apologize?", "Why are you so mean?", "Why are you so cold?"  So at that time I gave in and decided to "forgive". I decided to be nice and kind to my mother. I made her a glass painting of flowers. I would come and visit. I tried to ignore as much meanness as possible even being disinvited from some family events. I had the false belief that my husband would move up in his newspaper career and some stability would return and she would be more accepting and no longer embarrassed over us being poor and would treat us better.

 I still believed that I may even be diagnosed with something they could cure and regain my life at that time. 2002, I had lost over 200lbs from 1999-2001 from near 700lbs all the way down to 450lbs. [I was 480 two years ago and 508 last week--I have fought the same 100lbs over and over since that time] The family didn't like that I was still so fat but obviously knew I was losing weight. I had hope back then that maybe one day my mother would love me. How sad.

This is one reason, the events of 8 years ago, where we sunk back into poverty hit me so hard. Back then I had escaped the ghetto and saw hope for my future even if my health was very poor still.

One weird day on the way home from visiting I even gave her a hug that was not returned, her bony shoulders remaining rigid, to my attempts of kindness. She never had given me a hug in her entire life. I stepped back. It was an uncomfortable moment that remains with me that brought with a nervous laugh and getting away as fast as possible. Do people who don't even want our love even deserve our forgiveness too? Think about that one.

What did the "forgiveness" of that time mean? It meant nothing. It was like "forgiving" a brick wall. She had no concern for my feelings. In 2001, one of her best friends told me that my weight disgusted her. Trust me if you are still fat you can drop hundreds of pounds and it doesn't matter. Times back then were only better then that instead of being left to die in the ghetto, I did get a bit of help with used cars and car repairs but no one ever paid our monthly bills but us.  Of course I would find out later this was resented. Even then I would have inklings, she just didn't want to see me on her doorstep as the world stayed her financial oyster and the world seem to conspire to shove me and my husband under the highway underpass. There was no real change or remorse or her even reaching out to me in an emotional or other way.

Spiritually I am in a different place then I was back then. I was trying to be what I thought was a "good" Christian, and doing what I thought I was supposed to. However I had been given false information. I did not know enough of the Bible to know the verses about departing from evil or what "seared" even meant yet.

I was very sincere then in my seeking forgiveness but the me today would ask "Why lie to God?" I'm in the place now where if I did a whole "forgiveness" act, God would know I was a liar. It would also be saying how I was treated was okay. It was not. It was evil and needs stood against. I would be a hypocrite to condone the behavior and ongoing machinations since I have gone NC.

 I also changed my mind theologically, I believe one reason evil is so rampant is no one stands against it, they want it enabled and immediately forgiven even if there is no repentance. We live in the days where churches and others say "Forgive the wicked!", but no one calls for the wicked to repent. Ever see a flying monkey or one of those enablers or silent bystanders do it? I sure haven't!

That's a huge problem.

Today we have many famous people who use the currency of false forgiveness to continue with evil deeds.  Forgiveness given to a person who isn't sorry really is meaningless, its like vapor in the wind, a fart in the hall. It dissipates into nothing. What did my "forgiveness" mean? It meant nothing. Even for those who may theorize that my forgiveness was for my own good, it did not accomplish good for me but just opened me up for more evil. It put me in a vulnerable place. It allowed me to be squashed even more.

I believe false forgiveness actually can give more power to narcissists to hurt and commit more evils.

Some years ago, I discovered this article, and it blew my mind. It also woke me up.

Forgiveness-Not Necessarily What You Think

"In Luke 17:3, Jesus tells us very clearly that we are to forgive someone who sins against us IF he repents.   God does not want us to continue to be abused, in fact, we are told to shun evildoers ( Some examples are Psalm 37:9, Psalm 119:115, Matthew 18:17, Titus 3:10-11, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5.  See the article "No Forgiveness For The Unrepentant" under this heading on the left menu for more).  But if there is true repentance (see Helpful Definitions), the Lord does want us to forgive."

That was the part of the equation missing.

Both have to exist for true forgiveness to be there. Spiritually I have to obey God not to avenge myself. We are to hand the narcissists over to Him to deal with but false forgiveness? I would be just fooling myself.  I had forgiven before and it had failed. Now I know why. We cannot control what other people do. We are not spiritually responsible for them or their decisions. We can only control ourselves.  I understand those who warn of harboring hate in one's heart and who warn of it eating someone up inside but false forgiveness and playing pretend isn't going to work either. Too many people are told to forgive abusers who have no interest in ever repenting. The course of action then is to depart from evil and have nothing to do with it. We don't owe our abusers anything, certainly no more of us kneeling before them and offering them gifts they will shred to pieces in front of our eyes.

Maybe some will define forgiveness as letting go of the pain and making sure not to let one's self get eaten alive so I understand it from that perspective but even there, this is a process that each person will have to do in their own timing. Too many judge people who are hurting who are begging to God to free them from the hurt in their heart. I have prayed to God to allow me make the right steps here. It's not easy and is very complex. I hope for more peace one day but I also know what I have been dealing with.

Smakintosh made some good videos dealing with this issue too.

Is Forgiveness Unconditional?

The Two Levels of Forgiveness-Forgiving the Narcissist

False Forgiveness can play into the narcissist's hands too as they exploit and manipulate those with consciences to offer them their forgiveness as shown in this video:

This is the trap I fell into.

Update: I am no longer a Christian and deconverted, and now believe Christianity enables a lot of evil, by preaching forgive and forget and shaming victims of abuse for being "unforgiving" more then the abusers for scapegoating or abuse. I failed to shut down all my emotions and repress them. Forgiving just opened me up to be re-abused. Moving on is healthy, being no contact and finding a new life are good things, but don't let anyone tell you what to feel or not to feel.


  1. Dear Peeps, it was as if members of my FOO (covertly) got their cookies off whenever i did something stupid - which was alot of the time. Yeah, people who don't even give the Lord the time of day, think they have the right to rip people for just being stupid. i have yet to forgive, and 'am not holding my breath waiting for them to ask. Still emotionally troubled, i'm supposed to pray for them, but i don't (pray like i ought). i may be stupid (underachiever) but i'm smart enough to know not to even consider b.s'ing the Lord. As for those "churches," just a buncha nosey old hens - do those broads, and their male toadies, even bother to read the Scriptures, when nobody is looking? Hhmm...

    1. Yes they get their cookies off when the scapegoat has problems. I know mine had intense glee over mine. Rubbing her hands together. "You're going to end up behind a shopping cart" [No thanks to you I would say to her] God doesnt matter to any of them but they are ready to put the religious guilt trips on people and go to town with it. They never feel guilt so why give us barrels of it? Yes I'm smart enough not to BS God, and play pretend too. They read scripture but black out all the parts they don't want to read.

  2. This verse from Isaiah chapter one hits home with me, and I think the majority of believing ACONs can relate to it: "Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow." The Spirit of God, through Isaiah, wrote this to the priests, rulers and leaders of Israel - the shepherds of God's flock - the folks in charge, in other words. The phrase that stands out to me is "correct the oppressor." Oppression and abuse are synonymous. Correct the abuser. I don't see this coming from religious leadership on any level - not in this country at least. All I hear is love, forgive, love, forgive, love, forgive, love, forgive, don't be angry, forgive, love, don't be bitter, forgive, love, forgive, love, forgive, don't judge, love, forgive, be happy, forgive, love, don't be sad, forgive. It's almost embarrassing to admit that I actually thought I was guilty of a greater "sin" by feeling anger (which meant I hadn't "forgiven") toward my abusers than the sin of evil perpetrated against me by my abusers. My anger was a bigger deal with God than the attempts of certain people in my life to covertly destroy me! But why wouldn't I think that? The vast majority of teaching I've been exposed to proceeding from the evangelical pulpit at-large does not even remotely address the command from God to "correct the abuser." No, the abuse victim is corrected. But not the abuser. So, thank you Peep for addressing this topic. It needs to be shouted from the mountain top in my opinion.

    1. Hi Smakintosh.

      Yes you are right there is no one saying correct the oppressors or the abusers. Everyone shouts at their victims to forgive but never challenge them. The religious leadership if anything empower the wicked to abuse more and shame and blame their victims into more compliance. I agree the mush gospel with its phony love and forgive and excuse the wicked, has done great damage. Not all anger is a sin as they like to portray it and there is such a thing as righteous anger. I agree some called out my anger which had a reason to exist to protect myself more then their actions. If anything this garbage empowers them to greater damage. They cherry-pick the parts of the Bible they want and ignore the commandments about the wicked or that call them out, because most of them are false and doing the exact same techniques to their on congregation. I think this one needs shouted too. Thanks for your videos too Smakintosh. :)

  3. I'm glad you delve deeply into this issue of victimization from society, because they expected us to forgive everyone unconditionally and that we should treat narcs the same as others since we all are sinners. I used to get mad at people from Intervarsity Christian group and Calvary Chapel churches for telling me to forgive my adopted narc mother. They expected reconciliation and submissions to abuse, not just forgiving our narc parent and still going NC.

    These false Christians and preachers, enablers, and fellow abusee cheapened the concept of forgiveness. I used to complain that forgiveness is very cheap because it was not beneficial to me. I would not get justice and love from forgiveness. I would not feel peace when I don't see justice in my life. I did not do something drastic in order to take revenge. I moved thousands of miles away and never came back. Before I went NC for good, I used to visit my adopted narc mother and relatives for winter breaks. During my last winter break visit, I realized something was wrong and cried on Christmas day. I remember crying because my adoptive relatives treated me and my adopted sibling different than our adopted cousins. I used to think it was because our adopted cousins were biological relatives and my siblings and I were not. When my adopted narc mother saw me crying, she asked me to go outside. We talked and then she yelled at me for telling her that my adopted uncle (her brother) gave my cousins presents and me nothing. She told me in an insenstive manner that if I did not like it, I could leave and she wanted to spend time with her family. If I could not stop crying, I could leave. When I was about to walk out, my adopted narc mother grabbed me and told me not to leave her, since my grandparents planned to give me something.

    Several days later, we talked about forgiveness. She told me she did not think she did anything wrong and she did not need to apologize to me for hurting me. She said it was my fault that things went wrong with my relationship with my adopted family. I had a lingering feeling that I would not see her again. I was right. Nine months later, I went NC and my therapist was very supportive.

    The forgiveness and forget things is very cheap for me. It is beneficial for those who wants to continue to abuse us and who do not care about us. I also noticed looking back that my adopted narc mother wanted to shed me and my adopted siblings so she could spend more time with her family. I thought it was selfish of her to throw us out like that and then do her smear campaign against us.

    She also co-owned a store with her mother. She told me that she planned to hire my cousins to work for her part-time but not me and my adopted siblings. She said my sister is not classy enough and she did not want to hire a hard-of-hearing person. When I told people about her plans, they told me to cut her off. Forgiveness and forgetting is cheap. It will not make me feel at peace and it will not benefit me. Since I lived thousands of miles away, I never took revenge against her. I went NC and worked on my life.

    1. Thanks Anon. Yes we are often revictimized because everyone tells us to bow before the abusers. That was the message from my whole family which condemned me for being angry with her in the first place. None of them ever corrected her. When I think back even on the ones who used to even admit something was wrong, they were all weak cowards. Now they don't complain being fully owned. None of them ever stood up against her and now when I think about it, the weak-willed people around my mother like Aunt Scapegoat actually helped things get worse, they helped to create this situation.

      Yes all the churches I attended told me to forgive my mother too and sorry you went to churches that told you the same thing. None of them ever said, "Your mother needs to repent from her wickedness" but because families are basically idols in evangelical culture--[think of the Duggars here] the parents are viewed as queen and king and to be treated as such even an adopted one in your case.

      I never saw one church not even from the pulpit call out parents for being abusers or treating children with disdain. Most of the time it was about keeping the kids under control. One good pastor did quote the fathers don't give your children over to wrath verse but that was rare.

      I agree they cheapen the concept of forgiveness too. It's all about status and who they want to keep happy instead of preaching the truth too. Malignant narcissists and sociopaths in the pews benefit when people are told to bow before the wicked and "give in to them" and "forgive and forget" with them. Sure there will be some smiles but it is just getting back in line to be re-offended, re-abused. No standing against sin there. I got back in line and she just upped the abuse. More being treated like a worm and nobody. If anything false forgiveness made her worse because it told her, she could get away with more.

      False forgiveness brings no love or justice. I would have no problem forgiving someone who had true remorse but there are many seared and wicked now who don't feel any remorse. This will never happen but if my mother actually had truly apologized instead of game playing and being a fake, then the story would have gone completely different. Those demonic comments I got tell the true story and all those other times the veil dropped like when she said of her mother, "She's taking too long to die".

      I am glad you did not take revenge and just moved away for your NC and got so far away. I am sorry her relatives treated you and your adoptive siblings like dirt. She didn't stay up for you either. On red flag of narcissists is they have no loyalty to anyone ot even an adoptive friend and I faced that with the ex-friend too.

      Her telling you that you could leave is pretty nasty and she did not treat you like a daughter but a possession. A truly loving adoptive mother would have stood up for her adoptive children saying they are children in this family too!


    2. Narcs are never sorry and it sounds like yours had no remorse or ability to admit she was wrong. That in a nutshell applies to my mother as well, absolutely no remorse and never has admitted she is wrong about anything to anyone. She tried to gas light you and then blame you for not being accepted by your adoptive family. The same thing happened with my family, it was my fault supposedly while I was ignored or not invited to events, or why they kept the one event at the coldest time of the year when I was housebound. There is never ANY working things out with a narc. You either are gone, or you are stepping back in line. I even wrote mine before NC, I am not stepping back in line to be where you want me.

      Forgiveness and forget sucks. I know this is how I was brainwashed to always worry about her anger and "give in" and she never ever apologized. Forgiveness came with just silence, never talking anything out. Hey she most likely even saw this blog and claimed her own superiority yet again. False forgiveness feeds them and gives them more power. It helps abusers keep abusing and it gets society to help them out and then to blame their victims for being angry and "not going along to get along". As you and your adoptive siblings got older I am sure you were no longer "useful" to your adoptive social worker mother for narcissistic supply. She could no longer play martyr for taking orphaned or children with no families into her home once you came of age. You all probably were like pets who got put aside. This is sick but sadly this is how narcs think. They do not really connect with anyone.

      Her mother owned her store too. Wow. yeah she even bypassed her own children then to hire biological cousins. That is sad and tells me how bad the treatment was and how much she used you all for narc supply. Her discriminating against you for your hard of hearing was beyond the pale. I am hard of hearing too and that disgusts me.

      Yes forgiving and forgetting is cheap, it says to an abuser, You can do it to me again and I'll say nothing. Abusers want us to forget so they can re-victimize us.

      Going NC was our only choice to protect ourselves.

  4. Smear campaigns during no contact is something I have convinced myself I have to be ok with. What can I do anyway? What makes it worse is hearing it so I have chosen no contact with everyone closely assimilated to my mother. If everyone wants to believe her lies then fine.

    That's the thing though. They are believing lies, they are partakers in lies. As a Christian I can't be part of that. It feeds itself and any correction on my part lands me back in the role of scapegoating, and I can't be a part of that either.

    We are limited here on earth. LImits on time energy, money etc. So many good people stuck in the harvest and its that what we are here for. Not for lowdown, horrible people who will take a lot of resources to help anyway. And they don't want it.

    So how do you forgive? Ok, so I might forgive. Then its still no contact, and that is not the message I get of forgiving in the bible. The message of forgiving I get there is to make them your brother and love them and stay in contact. Yes, I go round and round with this too.

    1. I agree about the partaking of lies. When one forgives an abuser who has not repented it is becoming part of the lies and saying things are okay when they are not. I know when I was young there were times I ran to forgive and forget so overly trained to desire peace and to fear her wrath, but one needs to fear GOD more. [in the biblical sense]

      They aren't our brothers or sisters. Even the verses about departing and leaving the dust of our sandals would apply here too. Mine hates my religious faith which makes the issue even more intense.

      There is no forgiving in the sense of any reconciliation. I go round and round too. If God was to allow to forgive at a distance, perhaps that will come with time, and I am open to it, but I will not be shamed by those who say I am hateful for not faking things and lying to God. The things I am angry about I have every right to be.

      I believe with the seared wicked and ones like the malignant narcs the only solution is NC [Smakintosh did a video on this too I believe]

      Psalm 140

      King James Version (KJV)

      140 Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man;
      2 Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.
      3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips. Selah.
      4 Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.
      5 The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah

    2. I agree too with your points Joan too, that our time and energy is limited this is true. one thing with mal narcs is they have no sense of the finality of life. This world is "it" to them. I and my husband have conversations remembering and it stands out that even those who died in my family were not missed by the narcs. One day there and gone the next. It sickened me. I cant be part of their lies and going along with their version of the world, it's against God. One thought I had is the narcs never wanted my love or anyone's for that matter? Forgiveness is nothing to them. I understand people preaching forgiveness from a distance, not getting eaten up with hatred or being turned bitter inside but there will never be reconciliation here.

  5. As Gail Meyers said, "Who needs forgiveness if they are never at fault?"

    1. Good question isn't it. This is one reason they never repent or say they are sorry, they are perfect in their own eyes.

  6. Dear Peep,

    I have read a number of blogs that mostly restrict themselves to describing how horrible and evil narcissists are. I have been a Christian for a long time, raised by a Nmom. Married a quiet, covert N wife, who has some *very* N family members. I am everyone's scapegoat, and have been denied basic love and respect pretty much all my life. Given those circumstances, it's hard to express how much I appreciate your addressing the forgiveness issue.

    In the Christian community, the problems you are expressing are ubiquitous. The problem isn't just that they hammer you with demands to forgive. It isn't just that they don't understand forgiveness (and why it is almost always foolish to give it without repentence)... or so many other things they don't seem to understand. It's also the fact that the are so unwilling to listen to someone with a crushed spirit explain from scripture what they've learned about forgiveness, repentence, justice, mercy, true love... You can quote scripture till you're blue in the face, and they may acknowledge it, but can't/won't allow themselves to change their minds (repent). That really makes one think. Who in the world ought to be /best/ at regarding God's Word, and renewing their minds, if it isn't Christians?

    I'm not trying to be sensationalist when I say that maybe what we're seeing is the delusion that we are told will come in the end times. I think it will be a cold, loveless, awful thing that will creep into many people's spirits slowly. Many will come to Jesus saying "Lord! Lord!" and he will turn them away saying, "depart from me you lawless ones. I never knew you!" That's scary because they obviously thought they belonged to him. The delusion leads to a very dangerous place. I'm not saying these Christians are at that place. I don't know that. But it should be a wake-up call to all Christians to dig themselves out of Christian culture, and renew their minds with God's word.

    I was talking to an old friend who was my youth pastor many years ago. I was describing Biblical love, and making connections between rebuke and love, and between repentance and forgiveness. He told me I think too much . A person in this kind of situation needs a friend to offer encouragement and suport. In any sermon about church life those kinds of topics would be described as core to the church's values. But if someone is abused and unloved, then we are told to rely on the Lord. That /he/ is "all you need."

    I told him this friend how easy it was for my wife to get church people to punish me, but that it would never happen that even /one/ pastor, elder, or friend would say to her, "hey, what you've done to your husband is sin! and it's cruel!" He told me not to go there, and that I should listen to Christian music. That Jesus is all I need. .... I don't understand why this is so offensive to Christians, but they are wrong. And they are wrong in a way that is significant to God. "The LORD is near to the broken hearted, and saves the crushed spirited."

    Thank you again for highlighting this subject!

    "Object of Contempt"

  7. Afterthought: If forgiveness is for the benefit of the /forgiver/, then why would God not instruct us to forgive automatically? Obsession with a wrong suffered is not good or healthy, but "letting them off our hook" isn't really an issue unless you intend to take revenge. Revenge belongs to God whether you forgive or not. Justice, on the other hand, is something that we are tought to pursue and learn. Of course learning to distinguish between those things would require too much thinking. ;-)

    "Object of Contempt"