The Unforgivable at Xmas

As it’s Xmas I’ve been considering who are the most unforgivable people on Earth. We seem to have culturally all agreed that sex offenders, rapists and especially child-abusers are totally unforgivable and deserving of zero compassion, just condemnation.

Jesus reached out to the lepers. This was the metaphor. I feel we are all trapped as a culture while we keep those groups locked in the eternal dungeon so I want to, inch by inch, gently consider how those abusers became like that. Hence I write the posts of recent days. I know it stirs people up and had anything ever happened to one of my own kids I would also probably find it impossible to react in any other way.

But I’m exploring this for a sincere reason. We are trapped in the dark ages while we can’t as a culture open this unforgivable, taboo conversation. Those who are so stirred up that they need to condemn me publicly or call me mean, shaming names, while I understand that you’re too triggered to do anything else, for my own self-care, I choose to erase you from the threads.

I believe that people who’ve been abused will fall into two camps – those who afterwards were lucky enough to be exposed to ideas, people, luck/destiny that gave them the chance to make healthier, non-abusive choices and there are those who just got more violence and rape and abuse and punishment and shame and outcaste-ness and alienation, who became too damaged in the complexity of their experiences to make a healthy choice and often became ‘abusers’ – those people are mentally ill in my opinion and need high security hospitals not self-righteous people telling them “I made the right choice after MY abuse, therefore you should have too and I’m therefore superior/better than you”. That’s my truth. Everyone is innocent from that perspective.

Letting this in is is REALLY what Xmas is about. We are all uniquely wounded – most of us got lucky that our violence never expressed it’s way too destructively for ourselves or others. That doesn’t make us superior, only lucky to have been exposed to different love and ideas.

Take the baby day by day ’til it becomes the abuser, orchestrating the abuse, slowly watch it’s life literally day by day, all the complex things that happened to it, 4 years old abused…6 years old abused…9 years old now very twisted and lost….13 years old with no exposure to anything but hatred and ignorance…16 years old getting into real violence…. ’til it becomes a full-on abuser, and choose which day you stop your compassion, if you want to be free, try this exercise.


Who’s on YOUR unforgivable list this year?


  1. Having subscribed to the ‘unforgivable’ culture for many years, this year I changed my mind and decided to open myself up to the possibilities of forgiveness. I am working my way through layers of it, and have been surprised by the frequency that new layers have presented themselves to challenge my feelings. However, I am already utterly convinced that practicing forgiveness offers me the opportunity to grow where ‘unforgiveness’ had been stunting me, not to mention the new pool of empathy and constructiveness it offers into the world.

  2. Thank you Jamie… that you continue to stand in your truth and authenticity, no matter the conflict or ‘abuse’ coming your way, to my mind is worth recognising. The more light we shine on something… the more dark it stirs up. Fact.
    I don’t pretend to be any further along my journey with this than anyone else.. I have been through the uncomfortable stage of feeling superior…. not because I wanted to feel superior – sometimes when we ascertain something for ourselves or come to a deeper understanding, we want so much for other people to ‘get’ it that we can enter into that tricky superior feeling.
    What I am wanting to come to a greater understanding of – and what I mean by that is to feel it in my cells and for it not to be a concept… is that this is not necessarily related to forgiveness. It actually goes beyond forgiveness.
    The ideas that have been presented to me and I am playing with are that every single one of us has every single trait that it is possible for a human being to feel, be, do. This I sense is simply a different way of expressing what you say above in relation to that we are all innocent and all potential abusers. We are all dictators and all victims. These traits may not present themselves in the same way within each of us but we are all everything. When we can start to own this – we start to see that everything comes from love. I am not referring to romantic love, rather a love that underpins everything.
    A love that does not judge.
    And yes, until we stop making someone else wrong,evil, vile – humanity will not shift. Possibly controversial to state this but without dictators, murderers, protagonists of harm or evil… we would not come to a deeper understanding of love. Without dark there is no light.
    As I say, these are in part, concepts to me that I am playing around with in many situations in my life…
    I have watched many accounts recently of holocaust survivors and the underlying message within so many of these accounts is that without that experience, they would not have come to the understanding of life that they have. Without being in the gas chambers… they would not have come to fully realise the potential that humanity has for love. Which in a roundabout way means that behind the dictatorships and the murders is love. Love begets love by whatever means it can to get us to take notice and to transform little by little.
    Which brings me back to where I started… thank you Jamie for raising ideas and questions in your inimitable way. It is only through shining a light on the dark and shadows that light will be understood fully.

  3. for anyone that reckons ‘we are all one’, this surely is something to consider… as, if we are all one, then…they surely are all us too?
    can we accept them as part of ourselves, part of our potential, part of us as a whole?
    if we go around saying we are light beings and we are all one, but dismiss those that we dislike as not us, are we being authentic?
    and to hide these in our shadow, are we not leaving these to pop up as projections unbidden?
    some of the hardest shadow work and other work to undertake this can be, good on you to be willing to do this x

  4. For me, forgiveness is a selfish act. Through it a person lets go of what is holding them in the past. I forgive everyone!
    Love the person who is attacking me? Yes, but I will fight and kill with that love in my heart.
    Forgiveness doesn’t mean letting someone off the hook to abuse you or others again. Doesn’t mean letting the dictator carry on killing. And it doesn’t mean taking someone off death row if they show no remorse.
    Understanding why someone is as they are, does not give them leave to do as they please. As long as we live by rules, those who flaunt them should be disciplined or you end up punishing those who live by them.
    Forgiveness is a personal act to grant yourself freedom.. but every action has consequences.
    The confusion may arise when a person equates forgiving someone with negating the consequences of his/her actions.

  5. Wowers Jamie, I think this has got to be the most important thing you’ve ever written….it should be read at school assemblies, from the pulpits, and in governments….for a non-Christian you’ve nailed the Christmas message and all the messages of other philosophies…..awesome xx PS, and in answer to your question, after reading this, I’m finding it hard NOT to forgive 🙂

  6. Hi Jamie – brilliant post in my opinion….. WHY …. Because for one I am fed up of the pseudo liberal comments from people believing they are a class above Jeremy Kyle , educated and employed as teachers of our kids , social workers and a whole cohort of caring proffesions among others , who are not disimilar to the public that used to pay a penny to ogle at the mentally ill in bedlam hospital I’m the last century .
    The modern day campaign against evil , especially by the supposed educated is no more classy than dogfighting and arguably less responsible….. It seems far more obvious that the process of lynching and vilifying means the subject is underground as are the perpetrators and the reality is we only ‘catch’ people who have commited offences -not that great for the kids , women and men that have become victims……
    It’s a waiting game I fear as with other taboo subjects in history…what do we want to achieve in this – if it is safety then we need to contain maybe, but engage with and find out how to help to improve services for future generations. The present lock away and throw away the key and tabloid headline , group 4 van banging approach , is arguably as vile in a civilised society as are the acts of abuse and the life histories of most of the present or future abusers.
    Please don’t consider your approach enlighted and aware if you are willing to react off your guts without a civilised considered response. It maybe worth drawing attention to a comparable event to the jamie bulged killings in Norway? There is a significantly different and fundamentally more respectful approach to dealing with this and the bereaved mother , a person with significant integrity and an example to us all , led a response of social support and consideration suggesting that these children ( which would have been vile murderers in our society) needed care , support and education and supported the belief that casting them out of society would achieve nothing… The week after this happened the head teacher opened the school and spoke with parents and police in a supportive manner and the children , remorseful having been shown the care and support they had returned to the school – I wish I could be proud of my fellow citizens in that way, I hope one day I will be – maybe this is a start…!

  7. It surprises me that you consider the idea of going back to the roots of abusive behavior and feeling compassion for the abusers as something new. Just imagining the situation they lived in, the circumstances that made them mentally ill is scary. I remember some news with the details of childhood of a man who held his three daugters captive for about ten years in the basement of his house, raping them. It was clear that he couldn’t remain healthy after such childhood but I felt horror rather that compassion towards him. He was not human anymore after what had happened to him. Maybe he could be helped or partly healed early in his life but not now, after all his crimes. Compassion would be in organizing a system of diagnosing children suffering deep traumas – maybe at schools.
    At the same time, politicians or priests found guitly in child abuse should loose everything – their career, their position in the society or chirch, their money and freedom. If this can stop them from their crimes against children. If the Pope himself speaks of higher percentage of boys abuse than ALLOWED by the rules of the chirch I feel that being normal means being twisted.

  8. Thank you for being able to lift up the carpet and stare at all the s*** that we sweep under it. It will inevitably prod at many sore spots and stir up the darkness we all have in us, so many will lash out at you; but who said being authentic and real would be comfortable and peachy?
    It’s interesting isn’t it, the cycle of hatred and revulsion towards an abuser, and the pity we feel towards the victims…at which point do we stop pitying that victim? When they themselves become abusers. At which point does our help stop being offered? I would say at the point that we become too uncomfortable to deal with it, so it becomes all about us and our limitations with our own darkness.
    Understanding the situation and the desire to make things better, is not the equivalent of letting anyone off the hook; it’s the ability to see how scary and lost we can be as humans, and to still be willing to offer solutions that keep us in the light, not push us further into darkness by becoming perpetrators ourselves.

  9. Your brave for writing it and completely right. I’ve had enough of people not trying to understand why people become like this and What has caused it. I feel for both sides, it’s a crying shame. Only with understanding can we move forwards in a positive way.
    Keep bringing this issues up Jamie, ‘Taboo’ needs to be talked about, you are breaking the mould.

  10. Agree. So what are you going to do and what am I going to do. How can you and I make a radical change.Reconsider my life from the very bottom up, in each and every aspect, reconsider how I live and in what acts/behaviour I can contribute. It starts with getting up in the morning….getting dressed: my clothing, Breakfast: my food, my drinks, going of to work: my job, my time pressure, my being social, my meditation etc.
    And I am certainly not a saint…, just a human.

  11. on the flip side to what your saying, how can they inflect the pain they surfed upon others? they know how low dirty what ever they felt after it why put others through It? People always like to try to find some reason behind why people do things, as they don’t like to think humans can be that cruel to other humans. I believe some people just enjoy inflecting pain on others, and alot of these people end up in places of power

  12. oh yes, forgiveness is a very selfish act. it is poetry in motion. It lets you off the karmic hook in a jiffy. I find acceptance is a prerequisite. Try it. When you see people as explorers, like everyone spends parts of their life going up blind alleys, learning lessons. Accept this. I dont want to accompany them so I go away for a while. Bump into them down the line, maybe theyve done with that alley or maybe they go back up for another try. Everyones on their path, they are right where they should be to learn the lesson theyre learning. And what was I doing in their alley at that time anyway? i had a choice.Look at it this way round…..I forgive myself for joining them up the blind alley……but then I was exploring my own blind alley at the time !

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