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Forgiving People Who Show No Remorse: Have You Suffered Enough?

“That which I do not forgive in you, lies unforgiven within myself.” ~Buddhist Proverb

When I decided to forgive the driver that killed my nine-year-old son, I struggled to believe I could or should.

In the beginning of my grief I had so much anger toward her, and because she was not showing remorse, I wanted to find ways to punish her so that she would be in the same pain that I was.

She did not come forward to say she was sorry or try to meet up with me after the accident, and this was hard for me to understand. Trying to cope with my overwhelming grief, as well, it was easy to stay angry with her.

It was about six months after our son’s tragic death when I began to read a few books on grief, and read that forgiveness is an important factor in moving forward.

In order for me to even think of forgiveness, I first tried to understand the driver’s emotions, thoughts, and feelings. When I realized she also had a story of her own, forgiving her actions became plausible.

Even though I had never met her, friends of mine had heard she was not doing well emotionally. Not long after the accident she began spending more and more time in her room, feeling overwhelmed by her guilt, and she began to withdraw from her three sons and her husband.

They felt they had lost their mother. When I heard this, it shifted my image of her. I realized she was a mum, too, who was also experiencing overwhelming feelings, and so this softened my anger.

Still, there was nothing easy about forgiveness. It took courage and a true consciousness of will to let go and allow myself to come to a place of peace about the accident.

When I began to write a letter to the driver, I tried not to think too much about what I was doing and was surprised how the words flowed. I was ready to forgive.

After finishing the letter I knew that I would have to send it without being attached to an outcome. I knew it was about a release of emotions for me, and that I couldn’t be concerned with whether she would thank me or not.

A few weeks after sending it, I began to feel lighter, and over time I began to feel less agitated and angry toward her and more compassionate about her journey.

I thought less about my anger and seeking justice, and focused my energy on healing and growing through my grief, even though she never replied to my letter.

I want you to know that forgiving doesn't mean that you have given the message that what someone did was okay. It just means that you've let go of the anger or guilt toward someone and yourself, and that gives you both freedom.

Yes, it is difficult. I have found it is my daily practice of meditation and yoga that has overtime enabled me to let go. Allowing time in stillness each day helps slow the negative and guilt-ridden thoughts.

I’ve also learned to consciously shift from negative thoughts about the accident to positive memories. We may not be able to choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we think about them.

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link into freedom.

We need to learn to forgive ourselves too. When we have wronged others with our words or thoughts, we need to forgive and let go of our guilt and remorse.

Whenever you feel yourself clinging to guilt or anger, go to a place of stillness and take some deep relaxing breaths. Imagine the person you want to forgive (or seek forgiveness from) standing in front of you.

Tell them exactly how you feel or what you wished you said before. Then either ask their forgiveness or forgive them.

Now, visualize the other person receiving those words, and see that they have accepted this offer. Then take a deep breath in and as you let go, see your guilt or anger lift from both of you, and see yourself surrounded in light. Thank this person and then release them in love.

When we hold onto anger and pain in our hearts, we stop the flow and love and abundance into our lives.

Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky notes that when we feel wronged, our first inclination is to respond negatively, and this is a natural feeling for most people. You can’t convince those in deep anger that forgiveness will help free them from pain.

It seems that most people need to experience a great deal of suffering before they will relinquish resistance and accept—before they will forgive.  The question is: How long will you suffer before you feel it is time to work on forgiveness?

I encourage you to consider it now, because while we are trapped in our past hurts we cannot live fully in the truth of this moment.

When I released my anger toward the driver, I believe I released it for my family too, and unconsciously this brought us closer together and has helped us move forward in our grief.

Denying forgiveness blocks the flow of love and positive energy within you and around you.

If you’re feeling heavy and burdened, and are ready to stop suffering, know that when you lift the weight of your pain, you are lifting it for all your loved ones, and this is a powerful gift to give.

About Karen Lang

Karen Lang is a mother of two beautiful girls, a Reiki Therapist, and Shamanic Healer. Her passion is to walk with others on their journey and to share with them the knowledge and experience that she's learned on hers. If you would like to book a healing session, visit shamanismandhealing.wordpress.com/.

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  • The Cup Of Life

    Great post !
    I really agree with this , I even wrote a post about this on my site a while ago.
    Forgiveness really takes courage and power, it’s not something so simple to do and it’s not just saying ” I forgive you ” it’s much more than that.
    I agree that when you forgive and release your self from the pain you also release it from your family,friends & partners.

  • Sue Byrd

    That is tremendous. Worded so well that I feel I understand it on a deeper level. While I have often heard resentment is taking poison and expecting the other person to suffer, that behaviour is difficult for me to change. I still have trouble being good to me.

    Thank you for helping me better understand. My experience, though not so profound as yours, proves you correct. And maybe, just maybe, if I do have to survive a pain like yours I can remember this wisdom you have shared.

  • Thanks for sharing this, Karen. I have a question: How do you recommend forgiving people who are sociopaths? They are without a conscience and no real sense of obligation to other human beings based on a shared sense of emotional connection. They will continue doing the behavior past any such forgiveness, including those who you care about that are enablers and get hurt repeatedly by the sociopath’s ongoing behavior. I deal with this in my personal life with a close family member, where the positive experiences are extremely few and almost remote.

  • Devin

    At the beginning of this year I tried to forgive my drug addict ex-girlfriend I was once in love with, for lying to me, cheating multiple times, and wasting my time. And, you know what she did when I confronted her to forgive her (completely unattached to the results btw)? She still got angry at me.

    Which reminds me to share with people that this wisdom has not been helpful for, that ometimes anger can be healthy, and you have to hold onto it in order to protect yourself from the people who’ll manipulate you, or take advantage of your well intentioned goodwill (such as my ex).

    It’s a reminder of a much less philisophical piece of advice I received from a man at a bar one night when he said “Sometimes in life there are certain people you just need to tell to buzz off.” I only wish I would have saved myself the time and the trouble, and learned to do that sooner.

    Grant, I feel you on the sociopath issue.

  • Karen Lang

    Hi Grant

    Thankyou for your comment. I believe that regardless of
    people’s emotional stability, that energetically we can shift behaviour
    in ourselves first and then others. You are in a difficult situation
    but remember it wil always be your belief of them that will determine
    how they change.

    Try this. Each morning sit in a meditation and
    call this person in by name. Hold them in light, forgiveness and love
    and acceptance, also do this for the people who are enabling them as
    this is a conditioned practice and can keep people trapped. After a few
    moments, release them in love.

    As you begin to see all these
    people in compassion and love and accept them exactly as they are right
    now, overtime, you will shift the hold you have on yourself about them
    and they too may begin to see how their life can change.

    I wish
    you many blessings for this situation and when we look within first and
    shift our beliefs, you will be so surprised how suddenly others do too.

    Let me know how it goes!

    Karen

  • Karen Lang

    Thankyou Sue for your comment.

    I believe that when we work on being compassionate and accepting of ourselves first you will find that those around you respond the same.

    Karen

  • Karen Lang

    Thankyou.

    I look forward to reading your post.

    Forgiveness is not always easy to practice but as we begin to understand its powerful effects on each other, I think we will use it more.

    Karen

  • Karen Lang

    Hi Devin

    Thankyou for your comment. Yes it is very dificult that not everyone responds to forgiveness with open arms and reconcilliation but when we forgive others remember, we need to be unattached to an outcome or judgement, because that is what true forgiveness is.

    Forgive others because it will help you and let go because it will release pain and hurt for you. Overtime, I promise you will feel a freedom in life and not anger towards those who hurt you.

    Karen

  • Kai

    Thanks for the inspiring post. Just yesterday, I was still pondering over this topic of forgiveness. I was still waiting for my ex who cheated on me to apologize, I’ve been having no contact for the past 3 months already and she still have not come forward despite me telling her that I was sorry for any inappropriate behaviours (I’m a decent guy so I did nothing to offend her, she just left with someone else).

    The event thoroughly hurt me so I was still expectant of an apology. And then I sort of tuned in with my inner self and realised that while I was waiting for an apology, what really needed forgiving was myself. The words don’t matter, it’s me who matter, my mindset. I’ve since then just taken it that I have loved her thoroughly as best as I could and wished her all the best in life (in my room).

    This post is spot on that before you learn to forgive others, you must learn to seek within yourself why you need that emotion, why you need to let go and accept and believe that to love is the right path forward.

    Thank you for the inspirational post when I needed it most.

    P.S: I’m still on the fence on whether to contact my ex to tell her that all is well, it could break our no contact or it could offend her. I’m really coming from just a place of love and these words hold little weight to me, though I feel the need to let go.

  • Karen Lang

    Thankyou so much for sharing your story.

    Your situation is difficult and I know how tough forgiveness is. I think you are so brave to work through understanding your emotions.

    Forgiveness doesnt mean having to confront the person who hurt you. As you realised, we can do that energetically in our room or in our meditation.

    Maybe contacting her could bring up old wounds and you may feel hurt or rejected again. Sometimes just allowing time to heal your wounds will help you let go and overtime you will know if you need to make contact again.

    I wish you many blessings on your journey ahead.

    Karen

  • Kai

    Thank you

  • Penelope

    Perhaps I need to forgive my ex husband who brought a court case against me in Paris when he knew that I had to go to Canada to look after our two oldest sons. He asked for full custody of our daughter and although he did not win everything he wanted he behaves as if I no longer exist. It is painful for me but also for our three children. He had two other children with someone else in the last few years and now he lives with a lawyer who helped him with the last case. He lied before the judge and it made no difference and so my daughter now lives with people who are dishonest. I lost my bookstore as well as I had to borrow money for the defense lawyer in the court case he brought against me.. and so when two people came forward to buy the bookstore I stupidly agreed to share their lawyer for the sale and they turned out to be using the sale of the bookshop to get their papers to live and work in France. AFter several months had passed by the bookshop remained closed and empty and bankruptcy was declared by the accoutant’s assistant. I have been extremely depressed and not able to find work in Canada and of course I am interested in what ever it takes to get out of the depression. I can
    t find work and we risk being evicted in the next few days. My eldest son is a few days from graduating and my younger one still has another year of school and then I will return to France but in the meantime I am so upset and so angry and so sad. How do I forgive my exhusband… by trying to understand why he did the court case against me?

  • Devin

    I was unattached. And that’s when I learned, that was the problem. After everything I went through, it was like the other person was trying to spit in my face still.

    I’m saying your advice is good, if people were logical, and we lived in a cotton candy world… But similarly to the way a bully will keep picking on a kid who never fights back, I’m tired of watching good people lose in the name of love/morals. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to punch back, harder even, and let them know your not weak.

    This is coming from a kid who was raised catholic, has listened to his fair share of Wayne Dyer, and read his fair share of Neale Donald Wals ch. Sometim es the only thing people can count on are themselves at the end of the day, and you don’t have to forgive someone who is a “shit head”. In fact, when we step away from the God stuff, and get into psychology, it’s perfectly logical not to. Especially if that/these people still desire to hurt you.

    “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” – Martin Luther King

  • Devin

    Honestly, sometimes I feel the people in these blogs would let people run over them with a car in the middle of the street, if it was in the name of self improvement. It’s mind boggling. This type of bend over behavior is indicitive of why people use so many other people and take advantage of them nowadays. Because it’s okay… They have no resistance, no lesson to learn. They’ll be forgiven, and the forgivers can be left to pick themselves up wondering why bad things happen to good people.

  • Wednesday

    I very strongly agree with Devin for basically everything he said. I have been making the same conclusions for about a decade.

  • Karen Lang

    Hi Penelope

    Thankyou for sharing your story. It sounds like you have had a very difficult time over the last few years and I am sure that forgiving seems like the last thing you want to do.

    Any decisions you have made or your husband in the past are now done. Try not to regret or wish things were different.

    When I was in my deepest grief, this is what helped. I woke up every morning and made a decision to be the best I could for that day. I sought help from trained healers and counsellors when I needed to and allowed time to nurture and be kind to myself.

    Sometimes we don’t find the answers about why people do what they do. Take time to search for your answers within and know when you seek the truth, the truth will find you.

    I wish you much love and peace on your journey.

    Karen

  • Karen Lang

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

    A great healer told me once Devin that we have two choices in life.

    One to create the dreams and people around us that we want.

    Or two …find all the reasons why this cant happen to us and be the victim.

    I know how hard that was for me to hear but it is a reminder for me everyday that I have a choice.

  • Kai

    Hi, I agree with you that we do not live in a cotton candy-filled world. Even if we forgive the people who assault us, they may continually spit in our faces.

    I feel that if they continually do so, it is just a reflection of their insecurities and mindset. Instead of fighting back, I would prefer to completely ignore them. I’m not saying not to fight for yourself, you should if the need arises but in times of trouble with the said person, I believe it would be more wise to ignore him or “love him”. If he is beyond salvage, we always have the option to help him or ignore him totally. But this does not equate to us being pushovers.

    I’m practised in self-defence so instead of fighting back when there is no need to, it is always best to avoid fights or nullify attacks. Love yourself enough not to take in bullshit from the assaulter but also, I believe, no need to fight back to give “an eye for an eye”.

    If they decide to continually “spit in your face”, do something about it, though I would advise not to take it personally.

  • Baa

    This was very helpful for me and like Kai, I was in the same situation. I have to admit that I didn’t really know what ‘forgive’ meant and it seems from some of the posts, they might not either.

    forgive: to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
    : to cease to feel resentment against

    I realized that forgiving has nothing to do with the other person, and everything to do with me. If I forgave my ex, it didn’t mean I condoned her actions, or that I forgot her actions, it meant that I stopped being angry about her actions. My anger had no effect on her, it just affected me and my children. (Anger towards a sociopath has no effect on the sociopath.)
    You don’t have to tell someone you forgive them. You don’t ‘confront’ someone with forgiveness. It is totally an internal action.

    Also like one of the post, I allowed her to continue to hurt me, but that had nothing to do with forgiveness and everything again to do with me.

    I saw a ‘life motto’ that really stuck with me about not allowing her to continue to hurt me:
    “If you stick your head in a bucket of shit, take your head out of the bucket”

  • Devin

    Either way, thank you for opening up, sharing your story Karen. I commend you for your ability to find peace and move on. I know that must have been extremely difficult.

    I share the desire to arrive at that same place, we just have a different means of getting there. Although I’m not entirely sure what it means, this seems like the appropriate place/time to say – Namaste

  • Karen Lang

    Thanks for your comment!

    You made me laugh! Your right, life is really hard at times and sometimes I just throw my hands up and say “whatever”. The truth is, when I reflect and work only on me, I have noticed everyone around me change for the better and life really flows easily for me and my family.

    I trust there is an easy way when we seek the truth for our own lives.

    Well done for all your insight and hard work. I wish you many blessings for the road ahead.

    Karen

  • Karen Lang

    Namaste to you Devin. Namaste means I honor the place in you of light, of love, of truth and peace.

    Im sure whatever way you bring peace in your life, you will find it, because deep down I know you have a good heart and a desire to be loved like us all!!

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Karen

  • This post was like a punch in the gut for me. My father was killed in an accident where he was on a motorcycle and was hit by a truck. It was totally an accident, no one was at fault, but there was a very wide range of emotions among my family members towards the driver of the truck. I think some people really needed someone to be angry with and chose the driver. I spoke with him once and knew the pain he was in. I felt great compassion for him but also for the people around me who were suffering and struggling to find a way through. I’m sure if it was my child it be much harder to get beyond the anger, I can’t imagine that pain.

  • Penelope

    Thank you Karen.

  • Bleh

    I had the same thought as Grant. I am dealing with a narcissistic sociopath/psychopath. Long story short, he lied to me, cheated on me, impregnated me, took from me, abandoned me when both me and the baby were struggling to survive, emotionally and verbally abused me, and blamed me for the entire thing. I sort of knew that he had narcissistic tendencies, but I had the same approach that you did, show him love, change the environment to be positive, don’t let him walk over you but work with him. I saw the “good” in him. He could see how his life could change if he changed his approach, and maybe he would. But he hurt me anyway, and keeps hurting me to this day. He won’t leave me alone, says we should be lifelong friends, demands to see “his child” who he abandoned, cuts me down, and refuses to return things he’s taken from me. When I ask for them, I just get more and more verbal and emotional abuse. I am so angry I can’t stand it! But I don’t want this anger, I just want to move on. I just want peace. I just asked for my things back. As if leaving a woman and his child to fend for themselves isn’t enough, he keeps things he’s taken from them? It doesn’t stop! How do you forgive such a man?

  • growthguided

    Forgive quick and move on. The love we carry for others impacts our thinking all day and creates an environmental vibration that attracts amazing things. Loving yourself to success is a great way to avoid the conscious suicide of holding thoughts of shame and remorse.

  • Karen Lang

    Thanks Kelly for sharing your story.

    Grief creates a lot of anger because no-one wants to lose a loved one. Being able to move forward in grief is always about letting go. As we forgive, we let go again and this is how I was able to work through my pain.

    I wish your family much love and peace, as grief is a long journey.

    Karen

  • Karen Lang

    I am sorry to hear of your pain and abuse.

    Forgiveness is difficult in this situation but from what I have learned, when you find in yourself what it is that attracted him into your life and work on those emotions, you may find how to disconnect from the pain and allow love and nurturing for yourself and your child.

    You deserve love and abundance, so seek out guidance from someone you trust to help you work through these emotions and show you how to create the life you wish for.

    Karen

  • witchke

    It’s all true, but what do you do when the one who’s hurt you is youre boss at work who you see almost daily. He have no regrets, you can’t talk to him and i’m affraid of him and I can lose my job. Ik work on forgivniss but i’m not feeling free because the fear I feel.

  • Angela Lam Turpin

    Thanks for sharing an important message. I hope it awakens those who are unaware of their need to forgive.

  • I am very sorry for the loss of your dear son. But this has not been my experience. I found peace when I let go of the idea of forgiving those who abused me. It was and is better for me to stay out of the relationship. I believe the concept of forgiveness puts an undue burden on the victim.

  • I disagree with Karen, here Grant. I too have been deeply affected by the actions of close family members. Some things cannot and should not be forgiven. I have left the matter of forgiveness to the person who wronged me and whatever god they believe in. It is not my job to relieve them of their guilt, nor absorb their guilt (if there is any) that is a burden of their creation.

  • I totally agree 🙂
    Thanks for the reply Karen !

  • Simon

    Beautiful!

  • Karen Lang

    Thankyou for your comment.

    Fear can debilitate our life when we let it. All I can advise you is to try my practice in my blog.

    In a quiet room at home light a candle, Imagine your boss is in front of you, tell him how much he has hurt you, tell him you are angry at him and see him accepting this side of the story.

    Now tell him you forgive him and tell him he can no longer have power over you. See him accepting this. Take some deep breaths and see yourself working with him in a peaceful environment. Do this everyday until you feel no more anger.

    I have never seen this not work. But you have to do it, and believe in it.

    I wish you many blessings.

    Karen

  • Karen Lang

    Thankyou Angela.

  • witchke

    Thank you Karen. I will try it.

  • Karen Lang

    Hi Kate

    Thankyou for your comment.

    I guess the best way I can explain forgiveness to you is to remember that we are all connected to each other, that there is oneness is everything we think, do and say.

    So when I forgave the driver, I forgave me, and when I am compassionate to others, I am compassionate to me or when I am angry and resentful towards another, I am angry and resentful towards myself.

    Remember every one of us has a unique story. No-one is less or more. We do what we do because of what we have learnt as a child. So be kind to yourself and others. Of course stay away from abusive relationships, but when you forgive the people who hurt you, you too will be free from them.

    I wish you many blessings on your journey ahead.

    Karen

  • Karen Lang

    Thankyou for trying. Please let me know how you go.

    naaron2@hotmail.com

    Karen

  • Tim

    I am like Grant and Bleh, in wondering if it is wise to forgive and love those who are not capable of empathy. Are we setting ourselves to be used and hurt again by these people? I want to love and forgive everyone in the world, but we need our defenses. There are many people who will willingly hurt us, and then take our forgiveness as a sign of weakness to go ahead and hurt us again. Forgiving someone who has no regard for others’ feelings is touchy. Should a serial killer be forgiven? Or Hitler? When you’ve had a run in with someone like this, you’ll understand.

  • Karen Lang

    Hi Tim

    Forgiveness is not given to receive a blessing from the people who hurt you. In your case I would forgive them energectically in your room and not to their face. Yes I understand when you do it face to face you are normally disappointed because when most people forgive they are attaching it to an outcome and that often is not what you get.

    Forgiveness is not a miracle cure for the people who hurt you, its a miracle cure for you in letting go of your anger and pain and that overtime you will know that these people cannot take your power. When you act with empathy and love, you will find others will treat you the same.

    Forgiveness is hard, and it is certainly not a sign of weakness, it is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do..

    Yes a serial killer should be forgiven and yes even Hitler. We are all in this world together and when you realise we are all connected, you will understand that only you are responsible for attracting those in your life.

    I hope you can search within for your answers and find the peace and love you deserve.

    Karen

  • Monique

    Karen, thank you for this post. I have been divorced for 12 years, and my ex husband acts like I do not exist. He completely ignores me during family events (like one of our sons’ wedding a few months ago) and has always been very emotionally abusive and dismissive toward our other son (who is now 26 years old). There has been so much pain in our family because of his behavior, and every time I hear another story about him, I get very angry. It is very difficult, even after all this time, to let go of the resentment. I will try to apply your suggestions, because I think I never really made a consistent effort to focus on forgiving him. No, he has never shown any remorse, and that makes it even more difficult. But I will try!

  • Kay

    I was deeply in love with a sociopath for over a year. I really don’t want to relay the damage I encountered for it reinforces negative feelings in me–I have done a lot of work to get to where I am now : I have now forgiven him. I found it difficult, but by not forgiving him, I still felt the emotional tie. I was in so much pain, and one day I asked my mother the concept behind “forgiveness” and I asked the same question as you have. She told me, forgiveness is about releasing yourself from that person. It doesn’t excuse their behaviour, it sets you free from them. Why should I live in darkness for someone else? With a sociopath, (it hurts I know) but it isn’t personal. If it isn’t you, they will find another victim. Having a family member as a sociopath is more difficult, obviously, but remember, sociopaths mimic emotions. I watched him interact with his family and it was quite adolescent, despite his being in his late thirties. It was almost like they had to teach him the actions of love to get love. Can you imagine how sad a life like that would be? I am so grateful now to feel love, and to know how to give love, genuinely, from my heart…possibly something he will never be able to do. That is sad in itself.

  • kay

    …and through my own acts of forgiveness and compassion I have worked on recently, some dramatic and some small, I am happy I have drawn this article to me and I thank you. Namaste. 🙂

  • Karen Lang

    Hi Monique

    Thankyou for sharing your story. Forgiveness is a journey and there are many layers that we have to let go of, especially when we are continually hurt by those who are close to us. When you decide also to take back your power from your ex husband, he can no longer hurt you and you can do this in your meditation when you forgive.

    After true forgiveness, a sense of compassion comes over you and you will understand why he does what he does.

    I know it seems difficult to believe you can come to this place of peace, but many have, including myself and it will give you freedom and growth. In doing this you will also break the pattern for your children, which is a wonderful gift for their future.

    I wish you many blessings and the courage to walk into forgiveness.

    Karen.

  • Karen Lang

    Thankyou Kay.

    How wonderful for you. May you continue to free yourself and be exactly who you are meant to be!

  • mroge

    Karen, I agree with you 100%. However I do get the frustration that many others are saying about those who would continue hurting you. I have realized that in myself that I was using my anger to protect me. It was taking the place of healthy boundaries. I am learning now to set boundaries and if people don’t like it then I keep my distance from them to protect myself. I am letting go of my resentments because they do me no good and I cannot really change them anyway. One thing that is helping me is to remind myself that we are all caught in illusion on this earth, including me. Often times people’s behavior is simply due to not seeing things clearly enough. That has been true of me as well.

    I am going to leave a a shameless plug to my website where I have examined some of these issues. Hope you don’t mind!

    http://www.bipolarlessons.com/2012/10/23/when-chronic-anger-takes-the-place-of-healthy-boundaries

  • Amanda

    “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

  • toni

    A beautiful article. Thank you for sharing x

  • Need2bfree

    This made me cry Karen. I know my situation is no where near as bad as yours but I really need some advice. My ex broke up with me a few months ago, saying he was unhappy with himself and that he needed to be alone to figure things out. This proved to be a lie and he had actually been distancing himself from me prior to the break up and was doing the complete opposite of what he said he needed to do. During that time he promised he would come back and he wanted to remain friends but since then he has done many things to hurt my feelings whether on purpose or not and has continued to lie. I have stopped all contact with him and he hasn’t tried to speak to me but how do I forgive him when he moved on without any type of remorse for the suffering he’s caused me? (Keep in mind, this is someone whom I have mutual friends with and live in the same building as) I want to be able to forgive and move on.

  • Catherine Todd

    “Now, visualize the other person receiving those words, and see that they have accepted this offer.”

    Yes, but when they don’t accept your offer of forgiveness, and keep injuring you? Then what? Don’t they deserve to suffer then, at least for one day as much as they have made you suffer? What is justice if they get off scot-free? It’s easy to “forgive” when you find out they too are suffering, but when they are refusing to recognize the harm they have caused, or worse yet, enjoying it, then what?

    I am speaking about Pastor David Graves in VA, who is in charge of a church who is an enabler of evil and enjoys every minute of it. I cannot find it in my heart to forgive him, as he is held to a higher standard that most and he should know better than most. Instead, he hides behind his “bible” and spouts his evil words. And people don’t know the truth about him but they should. People like him are dangerous and should not be tolerated, much less forgiven. People like him should be prosecuted for “aiding and abetting criminal acts.” Where does forgiveness come into play?

  • Catherine Todd

    I see that Grant is asking the same question about “forgiving sociopaths.” They belong in jail, with all the forgiveness we can muster AFTER THE FACT. Justice must also be served.

  • Catherine Todd

    Karen responded: ” it wil always be your belief of them that will determine how they change.”

    I can’t agree with this at all. We have no control over how other people change. It’s up to them. We can only control ourselves. Believing that we can control the outcome by our own “beliefs” is what has made me into the raging codependent I am today, and the burden I have to overcome. I believe now in “no contact” with the damaging cruel people in this world and to tell the truth about them to warn others so they too won’t be injured the way I have been. I don’t know how to reconcile this with “forgiveness.” I think it’s God’s job to forgive, and our job to arrange the meeting.

  • Sommer818

    I have been struggling to forgive my ex-boyfriend for nine months now. Our relationship came crashing down around me when several incidences of infidelity surfaced. Learning that he had been unfaithful devastated me. But the nature of his indiscretions–he had a profile on a crazy s&m website–were hard for me to wrap my mind around. I was humilated and heartbroken. I have been a bottomless pit of grief for the last several months, and have found myself feeling increasingly angry with him. I know that I can’t take what he did personally; his actions were just a reflection of his internal state. I am working on accepting what happened and forgiving him. I have been praying for peace and have been searching for some guidance in the forgiveness process, and I stumbled upon this article today. This is exactly what I needed to read; I felt an immediate shift in my energy as I was reading this. I am so sorry for your loss! I am grateful that you found a way to forgive the person you harbored anger for, and I am so thankful you wrote this article. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  • RoseyQ

    What I gained from Karen’s post was a heavy weight lifted from my shoulders, because of my own experience of hanging onto resentment. Forgiveness is a must and is of great benefit to the one who is extending it. Pain caused by others, hurts and many situations we unfortunately find ourselves in, are absolutely unfair. Our lives are precious and meaningful but in this world, our innocence is often taken away from us because of others’ cruel or simply thoughtless actions. Sometimes it is very hard for us to escape bitterness but even for extreme, sociopathilogical injustices, forgiveness when we are ready, can give us a soothing peace of mind knowing that we did the best we could. Having faith in a higher power out there in the universe is comforting as well, knowing better times are yet to come. We were not meant to have to endure all these terrible hardships we face. Love and peace. =)

  • Separate from them

    It is remarkable how many of the stories of forgiveness, below, are from women harmed by men. I’ve long suspected it, but I think now I am convinced: males and females were NOT meant to live with or cohabit with one another, and are NOT meant to associate longer than a sex act. Males beat and molest children and are dangerous to them. Women, or groups of women, can raise them safely alone.

    Men need to take a long, very hard, cold look at themselves. The women they harm may someday bear young and some of those babies may be male. It is sad to say, but based upon my own experiences and the kind I keep reading about from other women, were I to become pregnant and learn the child was male, I am pretty convinced I would terminate. Something is wrong with men and it is not how their mothers raised them. Nor do I believe the misogynist blood libel that society “trains” men not to feel. Men instead DECIDE to PRETEND they do not feel, in the interest of exhibiting POWER.

    They will either wake from this or we women need to close our legs, segregate from them, and refuse to carry any more of them to term.

  • Steve

    This quote sums up everything. There is one person who I have so much resentment and anger for, but at the end of the day, she doesn’t care and would not lose any sleep over it if I told her how hurt I feel. I am just hurting myself by having these emotions and no good will come from them.

  • Steve

    Wow this is not sexist nonsense at all…..

  • Steve

    This seems easy for a one off problem. I do feel for you and your loss and understand what you have written. I have another problem that deals with forgiveness and patience. I am married to someone who doesn’t even realize how much damage she does with her words and actions. When I forgive, she goes right back to those same ways which destroy relationships and our family. I think the only way to deal with it is to do as Jesus Christ said and ‘turn the other cheek’ and leave the situation by going another direction. I have children involved which keep me in the situation but they are almost grown. I have been dealing with the problem for years and years. It seems forgiveness is not enough to fix problems. Forgiving really is the easy part. Building trust is where the real pain is.

  • Lasse Skot

    So you wanna just set up the concentration camps and get it over with then? You know nothing, did you know for example that 40% of domestic violence victims in the UK are male? Did you even notice the epidemic of female teacher rapists in America? And if you think female rapists do not exist then just look it up. You are a terrible, evil person who wants to kill infants, the world would be better off without you!

  • jenna

    Catherine I know you wrote this a while ago, but I stumbled on this and my heart just feels called to share with you.

    I too have finally realized that the concept of “forgiveness” is nothing more than another codependent and dysfunctional behavior that puts the burden of cleaning up negative energy a damaging person dumps on other people – onto other people. The idea that we can or should in any way try to change others with our “beliefs” is not beautiful or loving – it’s codependent and it’s actually controlling. It’s completely ego-driven – to forgive someone you have to take on the idea that you have the power to first judge their actions, and then have the power to clear the negative energy they create with their actions – that’s all their job and God’s job. We are not meant to control or be responsible for any energy other than our own.

    I read articles about this so much and the “you need to forgive” message is always wrapped up in peaceful and loving energy, but the truth is, the pressure of this concept it’s just one more way that a victim gets re-victimized. As far as forgiveness of others setting us free from negative energy, I just don’t agree. I’ve learned that the only forgiveness I need to seek is forgiving
    myself for ever forgetting my own worth enough to have energetically
    resonated with these people and situations. To “forgive” actions from others that have been incredibly harmful to me, I have to discard my own well-being and truth for another. That’s completely codependent. People claim that forgiveness sets you free, but in reality, It asks you to come to a place of having compassion for and seeking understanding of someone else’s behavior. Not only does that process keep your energy focused on and connected to “the other person”, but more often than not the behavior that hurt you is not behavior you should put any energy into understanding – you won’t likely ever understand any of it because you yourself are not capable of the same behavior – which is a good thing! The world is a better place for each person that is not capable of these things.

    Overall, the burden of forgiveness of others feeds into this incredibly unhealthy idea humans subscribe to that “love is sacrifice”. Love isn’t sacrifice. Love doesn’t ask you to be less of who you are, love wants you to honor your truth and be the best of who you are. Concepts like “forgiving to heal” are concepts that keep people wrapped up in unworthiness and fear and keep human relationships stuck in unhealthy cycles. Human relationships today are so incredibly dysfunctional and we all need to evolve – the harmed and the harmful, and we do that by each and every person going inward and changing themselves from the inside out. We can only do that if each person takes complete responsibility for their own energy they bring into this world.

    So to anyone who reads about forgiveness and feels guilt for not being able to give it… you’re perfect and worthy just how you feel. You have every right to simply walk away, and instead put 100% of your energy into discovering who you are without your past, without people who have harmed you, and without any expectation to do anything but be the best you ♥

  • dealsvirgo

    I’m trying to forget and forgive people but it doesn’t come easy to me. Some of them are my close family members. Even if I try to forgive them now they won’t stop hurting me in future. I dont want it to become pattern. But I’m a burdened by it?…Yes, greatly …….

  • In the same boat

    Sometimes I try to think of them as mentally handicapped, since their brains are missing a crucial piece the rest of us have. Other times I try to think of them as little animals who haven’t evolved that far yet. Either way, sociopaths aren’t whole people.
    While they may end up with loads of worldly goods, they will never know what it is to love.

  • Holy crap get a shrink

    I can’t believe I’m reading such bigotry and hatred on a blog about forgiveness and compassion…. For your information, women are (and have been) just as cruel and mean as men. You don’t think there are female child molesters and abusers?

    I think there’s something seriously wrong with YOU, if you would terminate a pregnancy based on gender (though I would feel very sorry for any child you would keep). That’s….just sick. You need help. And, please, segregate yourself from the rest of society.

  • Liselle

    Wow this really resonates with my views exactly. Thank you, thank you as I have waited for someone to articulate it as I am in a gruelling philosophical debate with myself about “needing” to forgive. I have not been able to figure out the stumbling block beyond what , for me, hold the obvious non- resonating explanations like… your just still too angry. Intuitively I have known it is something more, something different and what you have said here describes precisely to the detail of my own views. Thanks for sharing it, it is not a common view. Having said that if one really believes forgiving is peace, and then are able to experience an awakening when they do that is exactly what they believed it would be, then it is wonderful for them. My core beliefs just don’t resonate with it that way so for me happiness lay in the approach you have just described. Albeit without vengeance or ruminations of anger as well as the focus moving forward being on your own reality and not the perpetrator of the original pain. I think moving forward can happen either of the these ways and a lot of it depends on how your core beliefs about what exactly our responsibility is as individual person within a larger society.Simply forgetting and moving on without energy directed into actual forgiveness for its own sake is what will bring me the path to peace and grace- and I am ok with it. For me to take the other path would create an uncomfortable pressure filled narrative in my head that does not genuinely resonate with my emotional state. Rather than fight this I simply chose another path to grace and give my loving energy to those who I feel safe and comfortable doing so, wherein I do not pay the high cost of pain for doing so.Especially now thanks to you!

  • Kate

    Wow! The piece that I have missed is forgiving myself. You encapsulated it when you wrote: “I’ve learned that the only forgiveness I need to seek is forgiving myself for ever forgetting my own worth enough to have energetically resonated with these people and situations.” Wow. That says it. And your writing about unhealthy idea that love is sacrifice. Again, you nailed it. I am copying your words, printing them out and putting them in a place where I will see it more often. Thank you, Kate

  • Gabriele

    You don’t have to. I’m in the same situation right now, and this psycho narcissist and his schizophrenic sister are going after my daughter now, using the law to point out their rights after he abandoned my child for 4 and a half years since her birth. And he not only took and took our money from me and my son, who I brought with from Austria in 1997, but also did he get him killed in a car accident, because the ex and his drinking buddies taught him how to drink and drive (behind my back). Now he is accusing me of alienating my daughter, who is most definetly safer without him, just to destroy me as revenge for going to court for child support!! He is even fooling the child psychiatrist and the social workers, and nobody is looking into what’s going on during those forced access visits, because he is telling everybody I’m mentally unstable because of my grief for my son and he is claiming that the abuse and neglect occurring there is just in my head, and he falsely accuses me that I can’t get over my son’s death. Instead of having remorse for getting my son killed he is using the legal system to put my daughter through the same nightmare as he did to my son, I am trying to protect my daughter and tell everybody the truth about him, he denies everything and make himself look my victim. Nobody has to forgive people like that!! For my innocent children’s sake I do not forgive anybody with a cruel, vicious vandeda against human rights and children’s rights to have a safe, secure upbringing!!!! What kind of mother would I be if I let him destroy another child of mine!!!! He is corrupt, his lawyer is most definitely corrupt, the judges so far did not hear the truth because he is trying to cover up the truth about his hidden agenda, his ulterior motive and his inability to take care of a child by pointing the finger at the loving, caring, stable mother (who just wants the child to be safe and those people as far away as possible for good reasons!!) I forgot to mention that he took our acreage away from us, too, and left us with nothing, through the legal system with a corrupt lawyer. It was my sons home and I renovated it for my son with my income and then with his estate money! I had all the memories of my son turning into a teenager, my son’s sister, my daughter loved to sleep in his bedroom, we watched the little baby tree grow taller and taller every year, the one my son bought when he was at high school. We were forced to leave that all behind. He made us loose that intentionally, then he tells people he does not understand why I call him ass hole, spermdonor, etc. His cruelty is endless, he even got a restriction in place that we are not allowed to travel, we can’t even leave this ugly area, we can’t travel outside 50 kilometres from here! IWith his lies and manipulations he got everybody fooled!! Now we are back in his power and control games, instead of making him accountable for his actions. There is no justice in that, so I do not have to forgive somebody who wants to continue to destroy us, absolutely not. In fact I want justice instead!!!!

  • Gabriele

    That’s so right. They do not deserve to be forgiven. Especially when they keep destroying your life and keep taking and taking and taking and taking, even though there is nothing left to take, they keep taking and taking. That’s unforgivable and actually against the Law. But they cleverly outsmart the legal system to be allowed to keep taking and taking and taking!!! I need justice for what that psycho already took from both my children and me and he has to be stopped!!!

  • jhill11

    Grant and everyone else here who responded regarding sociopaths, thank you. That’s what led me to this article as well. I am a super sensitive empath, so compassion and forgiveness are things I crave to be able to embrace, but when it comes to sociopaths, I cannot get there. I was raised by a sociopath(biological father), and I also was in a relationship with one too, so I have a lifetime of knowing the darkness that is a sociopath. After years of desperately seeking the depths of my soul for a way to forgive them, I truly can’t find any other authentic conclusion than the exact same thing jeoihon says…

    “Some things cannot and should not be forgiven. I have left the matter
    of forgiveness to the person who wronged me and whatever god they
    believe in. It is not my job to relieve them of their guilt, nor absorb
    their guilt (if there is any) that is a burden of their creation.”

    Honestly jeoihon thank you. Today I’ve been searching for any last little tidbit of something that would finally unlock something in me that would make it make sense to forgive a sociopath, and I feel complete peace and relief in finally just accepting that I feel exactly how jeoihon describes.

    And I feel anyone who tries to convince a victim of a sociopath otherwise or tries to simplify the act of forgiving a sociopath has never been through the experience of a sociopath. It is literally coming face to face with evil. I’m not exaggerating how dark it is one bit when I say that.

    To me forgiveness is only possible if on some level there was a purpose behind the pain… like the offender truly didn’t know or mean the harm they caused, or they are still growing and evolving there is a catalyst for growth somewhere in the experience. In those causes, forgiveness can be part of the forward movement and growth for everyone involved. With a sociopath there just isn’t any purpose or growth to be found. Sociopaths know full well the harm they cause, they cause harm intentionally, and they get satisfaction from doing so. I’ve witnessed this behavior over and over since I was an infant, so I promise it’s the truth. Forgiveness of a sociopath is not just pointless, but it’s dangerous and detrimental because it is enabling for them. 100% of the time a forgiven sociopath is a repeat offender.

    Forgiveness is about empathy and compassion and those are energies that sociopaths do not experience, ever. I know some people may not agree with this, but I just do not believe sociopaths have souls, so there is no forgiving them, only forgiving yourself and allowing yourself to heal.

  • SandiYellow

    Forgiveness is overrated. There are things that are unforgivable; that’s just a fact. I won’t be pressured to go through the motions of forgiveness when I don’t feel it. That doesn’t mean I’m holding on to anger and resentment; it doesn’t mean I’m bitter or burdened. I’ve accepted what happened as just one part of my life story, and I’ve moved on.