I have forgiven someone, but I still feel like a victim. I want to grow beyond this view of myself as a victim. What is the next view of myself that you see as usually happening for people?
To see yourself as a victim means that you know you have been wronged. As you are seeing, if you keep this as your identity, then you are seeing yourself in a one-down position in that someone is keeping you down, keeping you under that person’s power. The next step is to see that you are a survivor. You have survived the attempt by others to keep you in a one-down position. The step after that is to see yourself not only as a survivor but also as a thriver. In other words, in your surviving the injustices, you have grown in your humanity, and you are now even better than before. I wish you the best in this journey of growth.
Hearing about what forgiveness is and is not can motivate people to forgive. Simply trying forgiveness can be highly motivating because it puts love in the heart when done well. Also when forgiving is done well, the forgiver engages in the moral virtue of humility, which should help the forgiver to avoid a continual sense of victimhood with a “you owe me one” attitude.
When someone is deeply hurt by others’ injustices, some critics claim that forgiveness now puts the burden for change onto the victim. The claim is that this is unfair. If someone damages a knee while working out, does the surgery and subsequent rehab put the burden for change onto the victim of the injury and is this so unfair that we should ask the person not to visit the doctor, not to undergo surgery, and not to engage in rehab? Asking a victim of injustice to forgive is not a burden, but a setting-free of the pains of resentment.