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Forgiving The Narcissistic Abuser: Is It Mandatory?


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Forgiving the Narcissistic Abuser

Is It Mandatory?

Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

"Recovery from narc abuse is not about forgiveness. For one thing we don't have the credentials to forgive at that level." ~ Zari Ballard

Living in an imperfect world we are all, at some point in our lives, faced with the dilemma of forgiveness. This is especially difficult when the person who wronged us refuses to be held accountable for the malicious behavior so mercilessly thrust upon us.


When someone who matters to us is hurtful, painful emotions such as anger and sadness are roused in us. In the aftermath we may find ourselves dwelling on the injustice of the situation. By clinging to the pain of the past, allowing the wrongdoing to define us, the resulting bitterness may taint all future experiences and relationships. That is where the concept of forgiveness comes in.


That said, forgiveness of others cannot possibly be the first consideration when it comes to narcissistic abuse healing. In fact it is the last piece of the process, if you choose to consider it...and even then it is entirely your choice.


Most victims of narcissistic abuse falsely blame themselves, even though they bear no responsibility for anything they do or say while under the narcissistic spell. Forgiveness of yourself comes first. You were not to blame. You were innocently targeted by a cunning, calculating predator and then your mind was altered without your knowledge or consent.


Among the many aspects of narcissistic abuse recovery, the primary goal is reclaiming your power and your worth. That requires complete self-focus (rather than the other-centered focus of forgiveness of others), and fierce self-protection. To accomplish that, the abuser and the associated story must gradually fade into the background until it is no longer emotionally charged. That takes time.


The concept of forgiveness bombards us everywhere we turn. We feel as if we must give it, even though it pains us greatly to even consider it, but we are shamed into believing that we are morally wrong, bad people, if we cannot.


Forcing ourselves to forgive while we are in the throws of suffering only inflicts more agony upon us. We've already been conditioned to believe we are horrible people. Now we feel even worse about ourselves, perhaps even evil, because we can't find it in our heart to forgive our abuser.


I would never recommend that someone even consider forgiving the abuser until the person has completely healed from the abuse and risen above it. Forgiveness places the focus where it absolutely should not be and will significantly prolong the healing process.


Forgiveness is essentially for us, not others. It's a choice we each have to make if or when we feel ready. The most important thing is that we are kind and loving to ourselves--that we, as survivors of narcissistic abuse, put ourselves first; before all else and all others.


Don't ever allow dogma, judgment, or public opinion to guide your perspective or decisions. You are in charge of your life and you have the right to choose how you wish to live it. Absolutely anything goes, as long as others are not harmed.


Randi Fine is an internationally renowned narcissistic abuse expert and coach, and the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing and Recovery Second Edition, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of the official companion workbook Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: A Comprehensive Workbook for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse. Randi Fine is the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

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