3 Ways "Forgiveness Shaming" Survivors Backfires



Forgiveness is complicated for most people so to put the concept of forgiveness in perspective, it's helpful to know that POWs (Prisoners of War) commonly suffer from cPTSD. That gets right to the gist of understanding the intensity of complex or cPTSD. Other examples include children in dysfunctional homes or schools and adults in abusive domestic relationships, or even work environments. The key words to get the gist of cPTSD are:

- long-term distress, abuse or neglect from someone in authority.

- a real or perceived, inability to protect themselves or escape.


This post unpacks 3 reasons why and how shaming survivors to forgive can and often will, backfire. As described in the earlier Memes that Shame series, chronic trauma changes the the nervous system with brilliant survival mechanisms that convert trauma into an ever-present bodyguard in the body-mind. In a multisensory way, survivors may be literally and biologically unable to forget the trauma while they are actively under attack. Survivors have a healthy right to be angry that they were chronically abused and/or neglected. So trying to force forgiveness that doesn't sit right and feel right, just isn't right! Here's why.


3 Ways Shaming Survivors to Forgive Backfires


1. People Pleasing