When I went back into therapy last year, the first therapist I tried said that I was still sad and distressed because I hadn’t forgiven (x) for having a (y). Leaving aside that even if (x) had a (y), which he did not, the effects of (x)’s behavior have had lasting consequences to me, (z). He claimed all of that could be discarded, as though having discarded it, labelled it past and forgotten (z) would suddenly be fixed and whole again, as though (z) were the broken one, not (x).
For this reason, among others, I think that the importance of forgiveness is over rated. You don’t need to forgive someone to come to terms with their actions (though (z) admits that she’s still remarkably bad at not owning the consequences of other people’s behavior). Forgiveness doesn’t create a blank slate anyway; forgiveness is not absolution. Sometimes, in the case of (z)’s therapist who lasted only two hours in that role (because of this insistence and also because he seemed unwilling to let go of the notion that (z)’s brokenness and sadness could be traced back to my not believing in god) the call for forgiveness is a demand that the one who’s been hurt abdicate herself, shut up, and keep the peace for the sake of someone greater and more powerful.
For this reason, while I feel repulsed by revenge (not even in the “the best revenge is living well” sense of things — because, seriously, I would like to live well for it’s own sake not to spite someone else), I refuse forgiveness in this particular instance.
I should note, because someone brought it to my attention, that x plays no active role in my life, except perhaps in my fears.