My opinion on restorative justice is this:
Taking a victim, and the person who hurt them, and having them sit down at a table to try to figure out how to shake hands and play nice, works about as well as having a sister, whose brother was beating on her, hug him and make up.
I think it assumes remorse, that often isn’t there, and also, that someone can easily be made whole after their lives are torn asunder.
I also think it is very hard for offenders, who have often been offended against horribly in their own past, to look in the mirror, and see a monster staring back at them.
I think it causes cognitive dissonance, and can cause both parties great harm.
In spite of the data on recidivism, my personal experience of restorative justice programs, is that they usually cause more trauma, to everyone involved.
And, I think the work of healing trauma is best left between these people and their therapists.
That said, today, I forgave someone who has never asked for forgiveness, and who admitted that they meant me malice at the time the original harm was done.
They were, I strongly suspect, going through a lot, at the time.
They are still dead to me, because I never want to see their name, or have anything involving them, come up ever again…
Really, one day, or even a few hours, at this point, would be nice.
How does one have a trauma bond with someone that is so strong, that almost everything becomes a trigger?
I’ve never had this issue with anyone else.
Not one person…
I was able to figure out a way to block them. Finally.
Now, it’s just a matter of regulating the ol’ nervous system to stop scanning for threat…
And begin to feel safe.
Does anyone know how to do that when you’ve been scared of someone, and also thought you were in love with them for 37 years?
When you had a psychotic break within 8 hours of your second-to-last conversation with them?
When your therapist warned you that talking to them without a therapist present might be dangerous?
And, you mutually agreed to keep the space safe?
And, when they didn’t keep that promise, but you did everything in your power to hold up your end of the bargain?
When that psychotic break was terrifying?
And you heard their voice in your head telling you what a piece of shit you are, and that you’re a bad mom, and that you’re going to die young of cancer, for weeks?
And, you lost your job because of it?
When you might lose your house because of it?
When they abandoned you, to deal with the fallout from the harm they caused?
When they said they “didn’t have the capacity to deal with it.”
After they left your panicked texts unanswered, for days?
When they claimed, before all of this happened, to have learned empathy?
When they initiated the conversation, with a video that wouldn’t mean the same thing to anyone who hadn’t lived the type of relationship we did?
When they said they were going to help you with your kid, and used the word “love,” to do it?
When they claimed to have changed?
How long does it take to heal from that trauma?
What would restorative justice be, for that harm?
How long would it take you to recover?
What would make you whole?
I just want to be on the other side.
Maybe I haven’t forgiven them after all.
I’m so sick of everyone telling me I need to…
Maybe, someone should be telling them, that they should be, “sorry.”
How about that… How about, someone holds him accountable, for what he did to me, for once in his self-centered freaking life?
You know, instead of telling me, to get over it.
I did nothing to him to deserve what I received.
And, I know he had it rough, but he wasn’t the only one, and I was always there for him… always…
And, whatever happened to him did not give him the right to do what he did to me.
It makes me sick that he walks away, scott-free.
It makes me sick, that I can’t sue him.
It makes me sick, that I can’t even talk about it openly, for fear of giving him the attention he wants, or “what would people think?”
He treated me like a dog turd that he had to scrape off his shoe, after he wrecked me.
I was doing well before he remembered that Randolph and I existed.
I had him blocked.
I’d finally been able to start listening to music again.
I was hiking.
I was exploring my hobbies.
I was getting back into theatre.
He showed back up, and within a year, I was floridly psychotic.
I’ve been low-level crazy for a long time, but nothing like that.
I was always able to mostly trust my perception of reality.
How the hell is everyone just OK with someone doing that to me?
Monty Python is a trigger. Legos are a trigger. The freaking Muppets, who I love, are a trigger, theatre is a trigger, men with green eyes are a trigger, the small of Pantene is a trigger. Certain songs by REM are triggers. The Sun is a trigger, the moon is a trigger, Greek mythology is a trigger… sex with my spouse is a trigger, because of how he inserted himself into our relationship, back in the day, when he “meant me malice.”
Etc., and so forth…
How is everyone just OK with what he did?