About the Author: My name is Amar Sharif. I am a 26-year-old woman living with Spina Bifida in Brooklyn, NY. Currently, I am working on obtaining my Master of Social Work (MSW). This piece was inspired by a real life experience with leaving an abusive relationship a few years ago.

I forgave you because I had to, not because I wanted to. I did it for my sake, not yours. I don’t think I’ll ever fully forgive you for the things you put me through, and I feel I have a right to say that. I didn’t deserve any of it. The manipulation, the love bombing, the gaslighting, the shaming, or the blaming.

You didn’t deserve to be able to walk away without consequences for your actions. The biggest consequence you faced was losing me, and I hope that it was big enough for you to realize your mistakes and never put another person through them. Forgiving you was the only way I could let go of it all. Holding on to the anger and sadness was just too unhealthy and turned me into a person I wasn’t meant to be.

I hope that my forgiveness has taught you a lesson and made you realize that you lost a wonderful human being with a kind soul. I hope that it taught you to change your behaviors and patterns. But I hope it didn’t make you feel like you won. Because you didn’t. and I hope you realize that my growth is personal and a result of my own work, not a result of what you put me through.

People often talk about thanking abusers for making them stronger, but I absolutely will not thank you. I didn’t need your “help” to become stronger because the strength was there all along. I thank myself for eventually choosing me, even if It took a decade. I thank myself for holding on when I felt like giving up. I thank myself for making the decision to seek help and move towards the direction of healing and growth. But no, I will not thank you.