Heal Without an Apology
You can move on and heal whether you receive an apology or not. If you hold out and wait, you’re only holding yourself back. You’re limiting your life waiting on validation that might never come. Do you really deserve that? What will it actually mean to you and how will this now give you back your life?
I know the pain of wanting someone you love, that was meant to protect you and be there for you, to apologise. To say they’re sorry for allowing it to happen. I understand that pain. For years I tried to get that apology. I went to great lengths to try and get my family to talk about the abuse and acknowledge the damage, the hurt that it had caused not only me but my family.
But I realised, my growth was not in receiving the apology. It was not in receiving validation. My growth was not dependent on these things. I had grown. I had survived and I was actually ok. But I had put so much meaning on what receiving this apology would give me, that I ignored all the work I had done. I had discounted how far I had actually come despite no apology. Despite no acknowledgement. It was this understanding that allowed me to let go of this ‘need’.
Letting go I released the need to have my happiness and my recovery depend on someone else. It helped me see that what I was really trying to get from this ‘apology’ was someone to be sorry. My apology was self-serving in that I wanted it to mean they would change, that somehow the apology would ‘undo’ all the damage. But it doesn’t. It never will. An apology a thousand times over, will never change what happened. So why did I really need it?
Looking at it from the family’s perspective, (which I was able to) I could see what the apology meant for them and why I never got it and why I will never get it (and I’m ok with that). An apology is an admission; I did something wrong. I didn’t take action to protect and I did nothing about it when it was disclosed. To admit ‘this family has major issues, but I’m not about to break rank to admit that’. That’s a pretty hard thing to do, ONLY when you cannot face the reality of what happened. Only when you don’t want to admit to the lies, betrayal and cover ups. Because, when you admit to one lie, it reveals all the other demons that lay beneath. And most people don’t want to look at it. Most families stick together even fully aware of what lies beneath to save themselves. To save face to people out there. They’re afraid to go against the family culture for fear of being ostracised and being left out. They create themselves an identity within the family and become so attached to it, that to break free from that or create any storm that may shake the foundations, is too risky and not worth it.
This was my family and still is. They will never ‘break rank’. The acknowledgement that the men at the top were pedophiles is too much, too confronting.
And for them that’s ok. I don’t have to play that game. I don’t have to live up to appearances to keep them comfortable and safe. I outgrew that game a long time ago and I am stronger for it. I didn’t need their validation for the crimes against me. Because I saw this was a long held family culture of denial and avoidance that I was not going to be able to break, but I was sure as hell going to break it for me and future generations.
I decided to recover and heal without them.
So don’t wait to heal. You deserve so much better. Decide that you’ll move on regardless of other people, regardless of an ‘apology’. Realise that if ‘they’ are not willing to change, doesn’t mean you can’t. When you don’t have their back as I didn’t, you have nothing to lose.
When you do, you’ll be able to look back and realise that getting apology wont mean as much to you as you once thought it did.
Lifeline Australia is a fantastic resource for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ph: 13 1114
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