when someone wants to ask you to forgive him/her

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2013
when someone wants to ask you to forgive him/her
3
Wed, 12-25-2013 - 8:49am

Hi,

I'd like to know your opinion. I am suffering from PTSD because of an accumulation of deep hurt/sexual harrassment episodes throughout my college life. (I am not going to go into details and write down my rants here because they will blow out of proportions). As a way to protect my emotional health, I blocked all the emails of these individuals and created filters in my email accounts to send to the 'trash' folder any of their emails.

I started a new life in other state, I changed professions, I changed my phone numbers, I began to be successful with my new careerpath, but I have not healed completely from my flashbacks (PTSD symptoms). I do have been able to control them by taking some aminoacids that have been proven to work on anxiety, and they have helped me to keep my life.

In October, I committed the mistake of reopening one of my old email accounts. I did not have the filters anymore. Since it has passed four years from the last incident, I thought that they forget about me. I saw that one of the persons sent me two emails. I felt a panic and deleted both from the inbox and trash bin. I didn't see the subject line.

Recently, I visited my old town to visit my mother I saw from a distance one of these individuals, but I kept walking as if I did not see him. A day after that incident, I received an email from an unknown person mentioning one of the colleges and that they are happy because of some successes... I didn't read the email completely. I deleted it from the inbox and trash.

From the little I read, it seems to me that the person is trying to communicate with me for a long time to ask me to forgive him.

Question:

I don't know what to do... I still get affected emotionally (panic, pain, flashbacks) when I remember what they did to me. At the same time, for a long time, I have been waiting for a formal apology. Somebody suggested me to visualize those individuals going to the Light. So, I have been doing that.

If you have had a similar experience, how did you handle it?

Merry Christmas.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2008
Wed, 12-25-2013 - 5:17pm

About 10 years after the fact my rapist reached out to me through a mutual acquintance with the intent to apologize and seek forgiveness.  Forgiving him had been a work in progress which I started before he reached out and when he asked for it I explained that to him and I gave him whatever forgiveness I had to give.     It didn't really do much for me at the time but it seemed to do a great deal for him. 

I still have PTSD symptoms that I'm working through with EMDR so the apology / forgiveness thing didn't do much for that but it was beneficial for me in other ways.

I guess you have to decide whether even minimal contact just for an apology will create more distress or not. 

I wish you the best as you try to figure out what to do.

Merry Christmas to you as well. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2008
Wed, 12-25-2013 - 5:19pm

Oh and as a side note, when I talked to him, I created a special instant messenger account name just for that conversation, we had the conversation over IM and I deleted the account after that. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2013
Thu, 12-26-2013 - 12:30pm
Thank you so much for your suggestion. I have been reflecting about this issue. If he sends me an email again, I will try not delete it right away. I will send it to a special folder and wait until the panic has gone. Among all of the people who were hurting me, I have always thought that he did not know what was happening and he did not have the intention to ignore the situation. I didn't have the language and verbal skills to explain to him that what they were doing was hurting me very deeply as a human being. I was very scared to be re-victimized (not believed) at college if I would speak out to him what was happening. So, I think it's no surprise to see that he would like to apologize. ... I'll see what happens. I certainly will neither use my current nor old email address to reply to him. I will reply using a new one. Thank you for the suggestion.