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How To Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You

Originally published in 2006

A few days ago, I was flipping through an Oprah magazine that my wife borrowed from our public library when I came across a short piece on forgiveness by playwright and actor Tyler Perry.

Here's the part that I felt a strong connection to:

My father was a carpenter. He used his hands to pour concrete and hammer nails. He also used his hands to beat me.

I was a tall child, but sickly—I had asthma—and when I went to work with him, the sawdust made me cough. I preferred staying home, writing and drawing. I conjured up other worlds: worlds in which I didn't worry about being poor, in which I was someone else's child, a child who lived in a mansion and had a dog. My father—a man with a third-grade education who was orphaned at 2 and sent to work in the fields at 5—understood only the physical. He thought he could beat the softness out of me and make me hard like him.

When I was 21, I left my house in New Orleans and headed to Atlanta to be a playwright. I got a day job as a bill collector and scrimped and saved to put on my play I Know I've Been Changed— a musical about recovering from an abusive childhood. But even though I was writing about recovering, I wasn't doing it. Every day I felt angry and bitter and terribly lonely. I rarely dated, and if a woman told me she loved me, I headed for the door. My play bombed; 30 people came on opening weekend. I put it on the next year and the year after that, and each time, it bombed again. Finally, 28 years old, out of money and months behind on my rent, I started sleeping in my car. When the car broke down, I asked my father to cosign on a new one, as he had just done for my sister (the light-skinned sister he adored). When he refused, I forged his signature. And when the car got repossessed, he called me, yelling. Sitting in that little room I'd just scraped together enough money to rent, listening to him berate me, something snapped. Something dormant in me woke up, and I began to yell back.

I told him that he'd hated me since I was born, that I didn't deserve the things he'd done to me. Everything I'd ever felt or thought—even things I hadn't been aware of—came out. When I was done, the line was silent for a long time. And then, for the first time ever, my father said, "I love you."

After we hung up, I felt light, empty, and exhausted. I knew that I would never again look at my father in hurt or anger. But in a strange way, I also sensed that something had died. I sat crying for hours, as if I were in mourning. My energy source, my fight, the rage that had moved me every day—it was all gone.

Slowly but surely, I began to fuel my days with joy instead of fury. That year—call it coincidence, call it karma—my play sold out. Then it sold out again, and then again. I began to write new plays, and the theme of forgiveness runs through them all. It's simple: When you haven't forgiven those who've hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward.

I can't get over how powerful his last statement is:

When you haven't forgiven those who've hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward.

I understand and agree with the idea that forgiving others is more about your peace of mind then it is about their feelings. You don't have to make it known to those who have hurt you that you have forgiven them.

The issue is learning how to transcend the hurt, how to get to a place in your heart and mind where the hurt is no longer holding you back from fully caring for others and allowing yourself to be cared for by others.

Is it possible to truly forgive all transgressions?

How do you forgive someone who physically abused you when you were a child?

How do you forgive someone who raped you or a family member?

How do you forgive someone who spread vicious and humiliating lies about you?

How do you forgive parents who put their own needs and egos way ahead of your basic emotional needs as a child?

How do you forgive a parent who left you when you were young?

How do you forgive someone who has sucked the joy out of your life through his or her negative, hypocritical, phony, lazy, selfish, and ill-tempered behavior through decades of marriage?

Maybe complete forgiveness is impossible in some cases. Maybe hurt that you have encountered is so bad that you will suffer to some degree until you pass on because you will always be angry at the people who hurt you.

If you are determined to find a way to free yourself of the burden of chronic anger, no matter how badly you have been hurt, there is one powerful and effective exercise that I can recommend.

It's to sit or lie in a quiet place and imagine your tormentors as they were when they were babies or young children. Visualize these people one at a time, and really take time to feel the realities of their lives as toddlers.

Babies are not born with a distinct desire to hurt others physically or emotionally. They are born craving love and protection. Visualize what your tormentors were like when they did nothing but crave love and protection.

If you work at realizing how pure and innocent your tormentors once were, you may come to a point where it becomes clear that their hurtful acts as older children or adults likely stem from their own wounds.

If you know of another effective way of bringing yourself to forgive people who have hurt you badly, I would appreciate you sharing in the comments section below. Your thoughts on this topic may make a significant difference in another person's life.

Thank you.


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Rebekah Bartel said...

I agree with Dr. Ben Kim above. The people who have hurt us did not start out as bitter, aggressive, or neglectful of others. At some point, they all reached a crossroads where they had the choice to make some healing decisions themselves. And they chose the wrong choice. One wrong choice always leads to other wrongs choices and slowly turns you into someone you never wanted to be.

My parents hurt me very badly (emotionally) while I was growing up - compounded with religion. But, I have found, only through God's grace, His ability to forgive. I believe that God forgave us all much more than we could ever repay Him. When we think about can we in turn not forgive others? I know it is possible to forgive some things without God's help. But I truly believe that finding God and coming to know Him and His compassion, gives you the true power and ability to forgive that could never be found simply in yourself.

With regards,
Rebekah Bartel
Tilbury, Ontario
Monday, July 24, 2006 7:26:58 PM
DanEagle said...

A short comment on Forgiveness.

I agree with Dr. Kim's Blog on Forgiveness. I just want to state that not only do you have to find a way to forgive someone who has hurt you terribly, you also have to ask forgiveness from all the persons you have hurt. Only then can the healing process begin. I would like to recommend a wonderful organization which helped me a great deal with my terrible rage at people who hurt me. The name of the organization is: Emotions Anonymous. They have meetings everywhere. They also have wonderful literature to help an emotionally wounded person. Also a wonderful website for healing is: Good luck and best of health to all.

Monday, July 24, 2006 8:55:00 PM
Anonymous said...

What is forgiveness? When I say: "I forgive you" - do I really? I found the answer in "A Course in Miracles" in chapter 9, "The Holy Spirit,s Plan of Forgiveness." It says: "To forgive is to overlook. Look, then, beyond error and do not let your perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds." Let's not supress it within, no, picturing a person as an innocent child is great, but let,s try not to think about it. It is past, it happened, we cannot change it. Let,s erase it from our thoughts, let,s live in the PRESENT! Olga
Thursday, July 27, 2006 1:27:33 AM
Anonymous said...

I am no expert on forgiveness, but as someone who agrees with the concept and struggles with the practise, I have noticed one thing. Forgiveness doesn't seem to be a 'one time fix' and by that I mean (to quote Shrek!) it is like an onion. It consists of layers of forgiveness that can be undertaken, but on the resurfacing of anger or bitterness, there can be a need to forgive all over again, and again, and so on. My hope is that as the layers continue to be removed, the process becomes easier!

Good luck to all fellow forgivers-in-training :)
New Zealand
Sunday, July 30, 2006 11:13:06 PM
Sharon Lee-Auyang said...

Unforgiveness can be very demaging to the health. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness which causes many health problems. To forgive means not to hate but to love the person who deeply hurt us. It is not possible for human beings to truly and fully forgive and love an enemy becos our human's love is conditional. Only God's forgiveness and love is unconditional. A person who has received God's forgiveness and love through Jesus Christ can use God's forgiveness and love to competely forgive and love the enemy. Yet to successfully do so, the person has to submit to God, humble himself, remove the pride from his heart (deny himself), and says from his heart everyday (onion peeling with tears), "I forgive ______ ." He will pass the test when he is able to pray for his "enemy" positively and bless him, and able to get along with him. God bless, God is love!
Sunday, August 06, 2006 3:23:25 PM
trudy said...

I was raised in an abusive home. My parents were angry people and took it out on their children often. But the greatest harm wasn't the physical abuse, but the lack of nurturing, the neglect of caring for their children and giving them a sense of worth. I was sexually abused by some of my brothers and their friends. My opinion towards males in general is not very good although I do love them. I think of them as being base, lowly like animals, concerning sexual things. When I married my husband I trusted him and thought I'd found a man who was different from the others. He's proven me a fool and hurt me very badly. I'm still trying to recover. I feel I've forgiven him but cannot get myself to trust him and can't allow myself to truly love him again for fear he will hurt me again. Having been a child of neglect and always feeling worthless until I found some happiness with a man whom I believed made me worthwhile, then losing that feeling and being dumped back into feeling I deserved nothing good because I'm not a good person, has made a mess of me emotionally. If I didn't have children to care for I'd have checked out of this life. But I'm better now, somewhat. I don't believe I will ever trust and love anyone (aside from my children and grandchildren) and that makes me sad and lonely, but I don't know how to fix me. Anyone out there have any answers for me? Trudy Colorado
Monday, August 14, 2006 10:45:09 AM
Sandy said...

I agree with all that's been said regarding forgiveness. It's not a one time thing and voila you move past everything. My own experiences have taught me I have to repeat the forgiveness as often as anger surfaces. The repetition makes forgiveness a habit and one that is highly desirable. In forgiving others it's never failed that ulitmately I forgive meyself. It is also in forgiveness that the past is left exactly where it should be in the past and life in the present moment becomes possible.
Monday, August 21, 2006 12:49:29 PM
Anonymous said...

I definitely have not mastered forgiveness. I have spent the last two hours ragefully thinking about all the things I would like to say to someone who has hurt me. Then I finally keyed in "How do you forgive someone who has hurt you?" and came to this website. I appreciate the ideas.
One thing I try to do is say "God, show me when I have hurt someone else in that way." It may not be exactly the same way - but we have all hurt people. And sometimes if I can see an instance where I hurt someone it helps me to realize that without God's mercy we would all be lost. It can also help to just get the focus back on what needs to change in me rather than what needs to change in someone else, because I can't change anyone else. But that is so hard to learn. And I think it is very very hard to let go of hurt and anger. Espcially if you have alot of early wounds. Jesus Christ died for it all. Praise God for that!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006 8:45:15 PM
merci1216 said...

it is not as simple as saying, forgive so as to be forgiven. However, one method which worked for me was shelve aside the anger and bitterness. I moved on with my life after finding out that the friends whom so i thought were not true ones, that particularly one spread lies about me and she hasn't stopped...long after i have confronted her and explained my side. she kept on perpetuating her perceptions of me. I learned later than people who are insecure and have deeper hurts and resentments are those that tend to pick on others especially those they perceive to be better than them, altho this they will not admit. the key here is early on realizing that those who pester others with blatant lies, hopefully to destroy others, are the ones who are really problematic and unwittingly crying out for help. The normal reaction when one is a victim of such people is to retaliate, get angry and inflict as much or even more harm. It is not good though. In my case, i preferred to just brush aside the source of pain, moved on and created a world away from the person and as time heals all wounds so to speak, forgiving was easier. and was really feasible. It is bad to gloat at misfortunes of those who inflict pain on you,...but somehow it is a trend that the day of reckoning comes..especially for those who faults the innocent. Forgiving is possible but time is an ally.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006 12:44:56 AM
susan. said...

I was very emotionally hurt when I was young, and often found it hard to forgive others. But someone once told me that forgiveness wasn't about the other person or saying you absolve them of what they did, but instead, it is about me, and helping myself move forward, and saying "I won't let this prevent me from getting the best potential for my own future".

Put in that context, and as many have said - when we can move past what they did to us, then we help ourselves. It's still hard sometimes to move past it, but it does make it a bit easier.

Thank you Dr. Kim for such a great forum to learn and talk about a holistic view of our health. All these things play a part of how healthy and well we are.
Monday, September 04, 2006 11:36:31 PM
Anonymous said...

This is for Trudy, I have, am and will continue to pray for you and your pain, ask God and he will free you and heal you. May you feel the godly love and peace you deserve.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006 8:13:17 PM

I am a new subscriber to Dr. Kim's newsletter, and just this morning read the article about forgiveness.
My past has held it's share of hurtful and wrong things done to me. As a result, I was left with bitter and wrong attitudes toward those who hurt me. This was damaging to my family and to me as well. I was raised in a Christian home, so I knew about God's available forgiveness, and Christ's command to love our neighbor as ourselves. After several years of praying, receiving counselling, reading the Scripture, and talking with people who mentored me, I was truly able to forgive, and yes, love, those who were so unkind in my past. Healing begins when we let go of past hurts.
Since God has forgiven me all my sins, loves me with unconditional and everlasting love, has drawn me to Himself by His Holy Spirit's wooing through the Scriptures, has given me His Holy Spirit as my comforter and guide, since Christ has died as the sacrifice for my sins instead of my paying this awful price, how can I do less than forgive these people that God has forgiven? It is so freeing to truly forgive!
One thing important to remember: the saying "To forgive is to forget" is not true. We can forgive and still recall those painful memories. However, the power of forgiveness is that with the remembering, the sting and vindictiveness of holding on to the hurt is truly gone. We are really free from the control of unforgiveness!
Thank you, Dr. Kim, for your awareness of healthly lifestyles and food choices. I 'm grateful for the information you share with your subscribers.

God has nothing to do with forgiveness. People who are atheists, pagan, or any other belief forgive all the time. Forgiveness is something that is akin to all humans, and some people are better at moving on than others. But, I do understand people's desire to seek out a higher power when they are hurt, I have done the same.

The answer lies in psychology for myself.

All the best.

I agree about forgiveness being secular and appreciate you posting such. I have found forgiveness to be the key to being present in my life experience. It is sometimes hard to forgive those who won't or can't accept they have done something that needs forgiving. I've learned in my life that it is a part of being human and it really doesn't matter if someone knows they have hurt you or not. Forgiveness allows you to be present in your life. It frees you from a negative emotional response to an event that could be used as a "reason" you can or cannot participate possitively in your life experience. If you forgive with the expectation of the perpetrator of your insult/injury to thank you/say "I love you" or be a participant in the forgivness process, you may be dissapointed and not get what forgiving is all about.
Forgiveness is a process just like being human is an experience.
Best Regards

Howdy! Thhis post could not bbe written any better! Reading
through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
He always kept chatting about this. I wwill forward this post to him.
Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

This comment is for Trudy.

I can so relate to you and your situation. I am 43 years old, and I carried alot of hatred and bitterness around inside me for way too many years because the people who I thought were supposed to be always loving and faithful to me were not. My bitterness almost destroyed my marriage and my children and myself. I am so thankful today for where that struggle led me (I am not proud of how long I stayed in bondage to my hate and unforgiveness) - no human being or group of human beings will EVER be able to meet all your needs/desires. We are created with a inner yearning to be loved and cherished unconditionally and completely - that need can only be met by a relationship with God. God will NEVER fail me - in fact, He continues to astound me with HIS amazing love. He loves me when I do everything wrong - it is so freeing to be so wrapped up in a loved one who cannot fail you and who can't get enough of you.

The people who hurt me so badly are still very much in my life, and they haven't changed at all - I have. I just try to love them like God loves me.

Don't get me wrong - there are times when those feelings of hate and vengeance still struggle to get back in control. When that happens, I just go to my knees and tell God all about it, asking Him to help me and to forgive me for looking to people for what only He can give.

Share your heart and feelings with God. He wants to be found by you, and if you seek Him, He will show Himself to you!

Awesome, thanks for reminding me!

Yes, I thank you as well for leaving this message from God! I need God in my life. You know I have struggled for so long to feel like I can take a breath and I have ended up drowing many times in my sorrow. I suffer from depression and have had to take Zoloft so that I can keep together for my kids.

As I was growing up I used to tell myself that I loved myself. This was all I knew. I didn't know how to tell people that however. I kept quiet my whole life. I seek that voice inside that allows for me to be in tune with my lives purpose, all of the time.

I also want to say that I set very high expectations for myself and end up shooting myself in the foot and getting mad at myself when I do. So this is my perpectual battle. I see the battle clearly and I am also healing little by little.

I often practice being in the NOW......

Thank you so much, that is great advice on forgiveness, I just used it and sent my ex a txt message forgiving him after I sent him a really nasty one last night. Thanks a lot :)

Thank you for writing about the effects of unforgiveness in our life and others testimony. I totally agree with what happens when we hold a grudge against someone. I myself ran into problems with depression and had a lot of other problems. I finally released forgiveness and left it to my God when I came to the revelation of what Jesus Christ did for me at calvary. For Jesus went through life without a sin our anything that could warrant a reason for Him to be considered guilty to be crucified for. But because of His great love for me and anyone else. He chose to go to the cross for my sins. Even when I didn't deserve His mercy. This free forgiveness that comes through faith in Him and what He did for us, helped me to have a new heart and strength to release forgiveness. No matter what anybody does to me. I can only do this by faith in Him and what He did. I experienced a true peace that nothing can remove. I do not suffer anymore from depression and anxiety. And even now when I suffer from chronic pain from nerve damage in the chest from a accident from work. I still have peace by walking in faith in Jesus and what He did for me. I believe the more you study of what Christ did at the cross and walk in faith in Him you will experience peace and a healing. Even if you don't recieve healling right away you keep walking in faith in Jesus, and what he did for you. He will give you strengh as He gave to Paul to go through it. I hope you will be blessed and I will keep you in prayor.

Dear Dr. Kim,
I had to deal with a troublesome marriage now but it was great in the early years. We had two adopted children and gave the kids the best care and love as my own blood.
Sometimes as adults, we make mistakes, and the children grow up and take those against us. In my case, many times told to the children that I was nobody and that I was not their father. It hurts and make you feel like the bad guy.
Today I had to deal, after many years with situations, that make me think, "what is my position and my place... where do I belong?"

Here it is , I do not need pain and sorrow at my age of 48 and I do not need to make other people change, no matter who they are. So my life is mine and I am ready to delegate and to break away.

First to give me a better life and second to forgive me and forget others, it is simple, if one door closes many more will open in front of you.

I beleive that we must care for our own life and our own future and leave those problems behind by forgiving and continue forward.

Hope this will help others.

Thank you

It is easier said than done. It is sometimes hard for us to forgive, because the heart hurts and the flesh may want to get even. But, I fully understand why we must forgive. First, God forgave us when Jesus Christ lay down his life for our sins. Second, God loves us and wants to bless us. We block our blessings by holding onto unforgiveness. I ask for God's mercy and grace every day. I think the biggest part of why it's hard to forgive is not understanding why somenoe saw my love and trust as a way to get all their frustrations out. As a child, my father provided for his family, but he and my mom often put me down. They looked at my faults like bad grades and said I would never mount to anything and I would be nothing in life. My mom taught me all the wrong values about how to be in a relationship. I was looking for love and my biggest problems began each time I thought I had found the man of my dreams. A man who fathered my kids, got me to trust him. Then he treated me so badly, that I thought he was either the devil himself or demon possessed. I went thru episodes of rape and torture. I finally got out of it one day and moved on to raise my children alone. Each relationship after that has been one failure after another. I run into all kinds of issues. My recent hurt was from a man who used me both sexually and financially. I thought I could show him love and be loved back. To make a long story short, I have trouble forgiving those who seemed to get enjoyment out of hurting me. But, I long to let go of it and fully forgive. So, I just keep praying.

A woman in prayer
San Bernardino County

Your comments here drew me to respond. Sorry I'm 2 years late.

I have a belief that your struggles with men and relationships are partly because of what is in your subconscious on how you were raised, what you beleived to be true. It's likely that you believe you don't deserve to be with a man who cherishes and appreciates you, is a good man, based on how you were hypnotized in your childhood. Your parents said things and showed actions to you over and over again in repetition until you believed it to be true. I think what one expects out of life, they get out of life, and even if it's based on childhood programming.

Perhaps it's time to start being your own best friend. Care for yourself. Nurture yourself. Write in a journal what you expect to have out of life. The sky is the limit. Redefine yourself. If you find yourself second-guessing what you wish you could write down as your true expections, come up with a game plan to face that fear and overcome it. Prove it wrong that you can have what you want. Get some counseling, see an alternative healing practitioner, go to yoga, get a life coach, use hypnosis, just take steps to break the fear and start redefining who you wish to become.

When you get in touch with the real you, define the real you how you want to be, you will attract a man to you that carries a similar vibration. Like attracts like. A victim will attract an abuser. Don't be a victim. Take charge of your life and fall in love with yourself. When you fall in love with yourself, you will begin to notice those who really love you too.

Your advice really went straight to my heart. I am in the midst of fighting the anger, the frustration and the hurt inside me because someone I truly love lied to me from the beginning of our so called relationship. It breaks me into pieces and I did go for counselling, therapy, yoga and trying hard to let go and forgive but I hit the walls again and again. The memories of the good times keep coming back to me and the worst part is that I keep thinking of him and the girl and what are they doing now.

I gave everything I have to him and making sure he was happy and realized how much he means to me but I didn't know that he was playing around with me, taking advantage of me. I know he is not worth of my tears but I've fallen for him. There were moments that I felt he has the heart for me when we were together.

My friends taught me to start to pay to attention to myself, love myself more and do stuff only for myself, not for others. I am working hard on it but again and again I become weak, so weak because I still thinking of the memories and the crime he got away with. He is in the arms of his girlfriend now and it thorn me apart.

I made a choice few days ago. I choose to close my heart for any man from now on. I couldn't bear the hurt anymore and I couldn't trust any man anymore from now on. I trusted him by telling him my past relationship and he was very supportive of me and now he hits the replay button of what had happened to me previously.

Teach me please how to survive because I am weakening and I don't know how to love myself because I am angry with myself for letting this happened to me. :(

I Know exactly how you feel. I have had these same experiences as yourself for many years. I had the same treatment from family and ai had it from past partners and now from my own children. I get Angry with myself to as like you I allowed them to treat me that way and only because I thought one day it would get better. Always forgiving their dis-respect. One thing i have realised now though is that you cant make Anyone Love you neither can You expect those who should love you i.e your family. I am still trying to find out how to Not let there lack of Love OR YOUR TOO MUCH LOVE FOR THEM affect me. It hard to get the thought s out your mind cause they keep coming back to hurt you all over again. I know the day will come when it will go away and the Sun will shine again.
Faith will help us through and I know that in life those who hurt others even though it might seem that they are experiencing happiness it will be short lived and they will also feel the hurt they put others through. And even though i say that I dont want others to feel the way i have I JUST WANT TO LOOK AROUND AND SEE AND FEEL A WORLD THAT IS FULL OF LOVE AND PEACE and the only way to get that i believe is by us RESPECTNG EACH OTHER THEN WE WILL ONLY DO THE THINGS TO EACH OTHER THAT MAKES EACH ONE HAPPY. ..................

You, Deyna, your soul, and life itself are far too precious to give up and close up! Find your inner strength, it's there, and/or get some outside help through counseling or support groups, etc.
Nothing, including our relationships, are worth sacrificing ourselves at any level! Keep the faith, give it more time, feel your pain as you process and release it, but just know too that the help and relief you need await you within and without. But please, do all you can to seek it! And know God, as you perceive God, if you do perceive God, loves you, as do others! And your beautiful present and future gladly await you with greater ego-release and forgiveness of self and others! You and your soul are beautiful! You are loved and protected! "Believe and achieve!" "Seek and you will find!" "Remembrance of God is forgetfulness of ego."

So many good comments here. My own experience with learning to forgive (and it is always on-going) led me to understand that for ME, I first had to talk to God and say that I wanted to feel forgiveness; to make my wishes known (even though I was saying forgiving things, I was not feeling them). Once I asked for help in making my heart and soul forgiving, I kept practicing the forgiveness. It is true what someone else said that it is like peeling an onion. Many other emotions are the same by the way.

I can also say that until you forgive yourself and love yourself it is virtually impossible to forgive and love someone else. A book that was very helpful to me on that was by Louise Hay. It is titled "You can heal your life". When I first picked it up I read a little and then flung it across the room, labeling it a crock of ****. After a while I picked it back up and told myself "your life is not working the way you want it to and you've tried everything you know so you need to embrace this and try it whole-heartedly". I can say that I became a changed person and don't struggle as much with forgiveness and many other things now. But the journey is never over and that has actually become a joy, even when circumstances are not always happy. We can learn much from each other and from ourselves if we open to the possibility and embrace loving ourselves, not selfishly but as we are loved unconditionally by only one other that I know of!

Don't look too far ahead. Simply say, "for now" I will act in such and such a way, not forever. And the best thing I learned (and by the way I am happily married for 33 years) is not to count on someone else to provide my happiness. I alone am responsible for doing that and cannot count on any earthly being to be responsible for my happiness. They can contribute to it, but ultimately it is how I CHOOSE to react to things and situations that makes the difference. And, yes, I think we do choose. No one else has control of our minds and what we choose to think but us alone. It CAN be changed, but only by the one choosing the thoughts.

Sometimes when people hurt us they are doing the best they can with what they know and if they knew better, they would act better. We can only hope and pray that one day they will know better.

I recently found out how badly I acted with my children when they were little. I knew that when they were growing up, we had a lot of problems at home, but not until now, when they are 34 and 38 have they told me all they feel. I don't know what to do. It is true that sometimes we do things without knowing what to do, we do the best that we can with what we have. I need help in figuring out how to handle this awful situation where my son is extremely angry at me when he was always the one I thought did not feel bad.

You are not alone and this phase will pass.

No one is worth the diamond in u but you have
to recognize this first..........that is
you are precious and beautiful in the sight of God.

His actions are not his fault as we have all messed
up in life.

Know that God is always watching over you and
will give you the joy which you truly deserve.

Great post! The difficulty with forgiving someone is so hard, but there seems to be peace. I really enjoy your insight on this. I’d love to read more on this topic.

I recently stumbled upon another blog like I stumbled upon yours and I really appreciated their insight. I thought you might enjoy it:

I’d love to see more like it. Thanks!

Thank you for posting such a great article on forgiveness Dr Kim.

I have been in the process of rewriting my life and reality for decades now. I find that my biggest obstacle and my best friend is my mind. I can allow my mind to imprison me in the reality of my past, or I can allow myself to rewrite my present and future by creating a different reality.

I found the best way to free myself of the past is to be loving and compassionate with myself as a person. How I talk to myself in my head is very important. I had to first start by stopping the negative and abusive talk that I had learned from my parents. Then I had to forgive MYSELF before I could forgive anyone else. This was the hardest part for me, but once was able to do this, I was then able to forgive others. I continue to this day to talk to myself as I would a friend, with love and compassion.

If we continue to give love to others, it gets easier to also give love to ourselves. Practice makes perfect.

This is for Trudy Colorado. I have no idea if you will ever read this, Trudy, but I hope that you do.

There ARE people and creatures out here who love you! You have had an unfortunate lot in life, make no mistake. Not only is there a God in Heaven who loves you unconditionally, there are others out here who have experienced some of the same pain and sadness that you have experienced in life!

Pray to God for healing. God just may have the right man waiting out there who will give you the love and life that you so richly deserve! DREAMS DO COME TRUE! We have to help MAKE them come true, but they can be realized! Don't give up on yourself, and don't give up on happiness! May the Lord God richly bless you with every great gift from Above, always! Much love, Marla

You are so right. Forgiving someone else is easier when we realize our anger may be the thing God is waiting for us to let go of so he can help us move into the bright future he wants for us. I think of it this way: Would I send my child on a trip to Hawaii with a suitcase full of winter clothes? No. And Our Father will not send us on a trip to our paradise with a bunch of heavy baggage either...

This was a wonderful post and what I needed to read today. I know it is a long time since you wrote this but it helped 6 years later.

This is 6 years after Trudy's post but I hope she's still checking this site.

Trudy, self-worth must come from within. No one can define your worth except YOU. Once
you learn how to respect yourself and establish boundaries (think "lines in the sand") you can
Practice enforcing them. If you don't respect, or love, yourself you will not attract people who do. You will continue to put yourself in the position of being a "victim."

I hope you have already figured these things out in the years since your post.

Mr. Perry's statement that, until you forgive someone you are turning your back on your future, really hit me. I though about this, and how I have held on to anger I should have turned loose years ago. Life is a journey and you will continue down the road of life sometimes running and sometimes being dragged - but life will go on. When you choose to stay focused on some hurt or abuse then you, emotionally, turn your back to your future. You continue down the road of life but walking backwards focusing on what is behind you. In this state you are unable to see what is coming ahead of you. There may be great and beautiful things coming towards you. There may be dangers and more hurt, but you will not see it coming with your back to it! You will never be able to steer yourself toward the good things when you are turned around and watching what is behind you.

I sought professional help when trying to move forward with my life, because I knew that I was stuck in the past and that moving forward was never going to happen unless I came to some sort of understanding of why my father treated me the way he did. I knew that I had to forgive him but had no idea how to do that, nor if it was even possible. My help came in learning and understanding what my father had endured during the war. He left home as a 17 year old and came back having experienced more than any person should have. Because of the devastating upheaval this had on his life I understand now that, emotionally, my father never progressed past the age of 17. Understanding this has changed my life. I sympathise so much for my poor father. Everything has now fallen into place; the anger he always showed, the frustration, the jealousy, all the emotions one experiences as a teenager and young adult and the learning how to behave and manage these feelings; he was deprived of those years and emotionally has never been healed. I now have such a deep sympathy for my father and all the years he has suffered, and caused his family and friends to suffer right along with him, because he was never offered the help he and other war veterans should have received on returning home.

I am still pretty young, only 24. I am married and have been for 5 years now. I see myself as a forgiving person because God knows I have forgivin a lot. I was dating a guy when I was around 18 who was very controlling, jealous, and abusive. There were a lot of times where he would hold me down, drive me places in my car and try to push me out and leave me there, twice where he held a knife to my throat and threatened my life, you name it. That man is now my husband, it sounds crazy I know. I forgave him for those things and he has not put a finger on me since. He is just an angry person who takes his attutides out on me and what I want to know is how do I keep forgiving someone for hurting me? As time has went on I see now that it takes me longer to forgive and I do hold some resentment and sometimes I swear I hate him. I have asked God to be his judge and to help me forgive but I wonder if this is something I am going to have to do for the rest of my life or will I ever find peace in my heart for my husband, who I love very much. I think God brought us together cause my husband needed someone who he couldn't push away but how do I get back that abilitly to forgive that used to come so easily? I could take the easy way out and get a divorce but I don't believe in that (being a 14 year old child when my parents got divorced) and I don't think that is what God would want. Any advice would be great!

Don't have kids. He will do this to them and it will destroy you. Don't assume the kids will be able to "forgive" and cope with this as you do. it is not fair to them.

Please remember that God loves you and wants the best for you. Why would you think God wants you to be in an abusive relationship? Why do you think God puts his needs (to have you because you won't leave him) over what you need - to be in a loving and supportive relationship ? God wants a man to love and cherish his wife. Why can't you forgive him from a distance? And IF you decide to leave or divorce him, then time will give you a better perspective on this situation. Good luck and God bless.

It is trully difficult to forgive someone who does not think he did any wrong. Even I'm praying for help!

In the Lord's Prayer we pray, "forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us." If we fail to forgive those who hurt or abuse us, God will not forgive us when we sin. Sound harsh? Perhaps, but it's true. He forgave those who nailed him to the cross. He said, "forgive them for they know not what they do." It's taken me years to forgive the one who raped me and left me pregnant. I don't even know his name, and I often wonder about the baby I would have had, but didn't because I chose to have an abortion. I can tell you that if I had not found how to forgive myself as well as others, I would have died at my own hand long ago. Only when I let God take care of the anger and hurt was I able to find peace and the ability to pray for the person who violated me. It has taken years for me to forgive myself for taking another's life and fully realize that God has forgiven me. To forgive is not to forget, however, only God has the ability to forget. And He does forget as well as forgive when we pray to Him. And He helps us forgive ourselves and find peace.

Great topic to discuss as all of us need to forgive and to receive forgiveness.
The day that I received Jesus Christ as my personal saviour and realized the depth of His love and forgiveness for me was the day that made it so much easier for me to forgive others. I had to take responsibility for my own actions that day. I believe that Jesus has paid the price for my sin but I had to acknowledge that I was a sinner. The light was shed on my sin. So if I'm a sinner so is everyone else. If Jesus can forgive me, he will forgive everyone else. They just have to ask Him. We are all human therefore imperfect and all of us are capable of committing the worst of sins. Of course it is easier for us to forgive people who apologize to us but the ones I find hard are the ones that don't apologize. If someone has hurt me and does not acknowledge any wrong doing, I get down on my knees and ask God to help them. I ask Him to shed light on their wrong doing and to forgive them. I also pray that they will be saved someday and I pray that they will have a happy life, a good job, a happy marriage, good health, whatever their need is, I pray for that. Sometimes it's hard to pray for someone else's happiness if they have hurt you but if you ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray according to God's will for them, He will. Once you have prayed for someone, let go of any thoughts of them and get busy working on something to move you forward. Whenever the thought of them pops into your head again, just trust that God is taking care of the matter and thank Him.


I've been working through the childhood abuse I endured for years and the journey has led me to being held accountable for my own actions and emotions. I can't continue to be angry; it just isn't productive to me or my children.

So, I write and write and write to work through all the emotions. I take every thing I do and say apart to figure out my motives.

Here are some videos I've made to work through things. I think if we could all find artistic or productive ways to express these emotions, we could work through them with better results.

I was sexually abused under hypnosis by a grief counsellor many years ago. As a result, I suffered two decades of a reactive psychosis, was diagnosed schizoaffective, lost my career and lost all hope.

My abuser then insinuated herself into my family, befriending first my mother, then my sister.

Using knowledge gained by her counselling of me, from the hypnosis and from her contrived friendships with many of my family members, she falsified connections between us.

She divorced her husband, and after nine years of my not knowing who she truly was, we became engaged to marry.

The sexual relationship between us triggered memories, which arose in full bloom when I lost consciousness whilst driving my car. I wrote the car off in an accident.

Then I saw a neurologist, had every scan imaginable, and was about to be put under the knife for an exploratory to see what sort of tumour was causing this without showing itself in the scans.

It was then I overheard my 'fiancee' breaching my professional confidences with my sister that I learned who she really was.

I know she suffered terribly as a young child.

She has self-immolated, although she described her injuries as being the result of "an emergency gynacological operation".

She is an incredibly sad person.

My amazing therapist feels my abuser suffers from borderline personality disorder. There are also signs of sociopathy and clinical narcissism.

The need for my grief counselling with her all those years ago was that I was volunteering in a mental health organisation, and ran a group for mentally disturbed youth. A teenage girl who was forced to prostitute herself to earn a living for her father took her own life. I was trying to help her.

I had my own depressive history, following the death of my father when I was very young. My mother was overdependent upon him for her self-worth. She too had been prostitued at a very young age by her stepfather.

Sexual abuse, and indeed abuse of any type, is a communicable disease. One person's abuse motivates that of another, motivating that of another, motivating that of another... As Gandhiji said, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind".

To hate the abuser is to truly join them! It is to hand their abuse the final victory! To hate the abuser is to hate their abuser, and to hate the abuser who created them. Abusers are essentially people who have chosen to deify their own abusers, for they have chosen to be "created in their abuser's own image".

Forgiveness is a process. Every moment is a reminder to me of the aftermath of my abuser's chidish games and hateful pain.

The evidence is that my abuser was herself abused at a very young age. When I feel my anger rising up, I remind myself that that is indeed what she had to contend with.

I picture a bleeding, battered and bruised little girl, say two or three years old, and feeling my pain, my anger and my despair, imagine this little girl filled with the same.

Then I ponder to myself, "How could such feelings be held in such a tiny form without contorting her into the ugly shape she later assumed?"

Forgiveness is a process, and like the most important ones, it is a process in which there will inevitably be setbacks.

The secret is to never cease striving for it.

I don't view forgiveness as an end, but rather as a journey.

Maybe it'll end, maybe it won't, but the process of travelling and never giving up is the point.

"When someone, whom I have benefited, gives me terrible harm, I shall regard that person as my Holy Guru" - the Sixth Verse of Thought Transformation by Geshe Langhri Thangpa.

That was an amazing share, thank you! I have worked at forgiving my father all my life, most notably in the last few years. Now with our beloved mother gone, and him having cancer, we all feel the "urgency" to settle differences and relieve ourselves from this pain.
I used to use my imagination as a child, envisioning great calamity and suffering upon my father, while I was a powerful "ruler". LOL! But always...ALWAYS, by allowing the visualization to just flow, I would always forgive as he he'd pass my house in poverty and sadness, while I was standing triumphantly looking out the window at his just punishment. I would slowly feel so sorry for him, feel pity and would then want to invite him in and take care of him and then it was all happily ever after. This was a CHILDHOOD practice! I had forgotten I did this over the years and a few years ago, while praying for help to forgive him, my sudden memory of this came back! I was floored! Without understanding as a child, I was practicing a visualization process back then. I often use the same strategy that Dr Kim presents-in fact, in current time, my dad has helped unknowingly..came to his house with donuts and he was coming down the stairs without his front teeth in and with bright eyes, like a child. I almost cried. That was a for real experience and I use it now when the memories of the past swell up against me. I think we all know, in truth, that none of us are born to be "evil", no one is born desiring to inflict great pain and suffering on anyone. Man, your experience is just so powerful and I pray you the best healing and growth and enlightenment!

Thank you for re-sending this very timely article. As I am with my family for the holidays I have realized that the old hurts I am holding onto are preventing me from fully enjoying the present with my loved ones. The visualization exercise has already helped me, and I look forward to enjoying the remainder of the holidays with my relatives. Thank you!

People talk about forgiveness from a point of view of anger, hatred.
Those emotions are a follow up from the first which is fear.
Aren't we afraid of our abusers? It is that fear that motivates
us to stay away from the abuser so that we are not hurt anymore
as soon as we are able to get away from the abuser forever.

Then, from afar, we forgive, when we no longer need the fear
to save us.

What if we are asked to forgive by the abuser? I say, yes, then,

Forgive, when you are safe, forgive when the abuser sincerely
apologizes, but never forgive until you are permanently safe.
Then, there is no fear or hatred or anger to mess you up.


Hello, I loved your comment about first protecting yourself and then being able to forgive an abuser. That is so spot on for me. I have to first be able to know I am safe from further abuse. THEN, and only THEN can I start to heal and forgive. I came from an abusive home (mother) and I have fallen into some abusive traps as well. Betrayal is devastating to me, first because I thought the person was someone I could trust, and second because I feel foolish and stupid for not seeing the signs they were untrustworthy. So forgiving myself becomes a problem because then how do I open up and trust again? My spirituality saves me time and time again.
I hope you see this comment because it is December 2014 and I think your post was from years ago
Love and Light to all who are struggling with forgiveness like me.

There is an old saying that goes like this: "God always forgives, man sometimes forgives and nature never forgives." Think about that.

We all need to be able to forgive all of the wrongs done to us. It is essential to living a full happy life.

I like to think that if I fixate on and rehash anger about being hurt or treated unfairly that I am actually wasting my valuable energy and spirit giving power to the negative side of the Universe and perhaps even the person who hurt me.

The more we let it eat away at us, the more negative energy we bottle up until we are consumed by it and can't ever find the positive light at the end of the tunnel.

I believe out is better then in, in the sense that if someone is really hurting, they should make it known first "get it out", then work towards turning a negative into a positive. No that isn't ever easy, but if you talk it out or confront the situation you may feel better instantly, but you still have work to do afterward to release the bad energy and make it good again.

Remember how powerful you really are and remember that the person(s) who hurt you have their own list of reason why they are the way they are. You can't possibly know all they have been through, but remembering that they are only human and maybe sending them some positive energy despite your own pain will indeed help turn it around for your self.

If you are hurting...I wish you peace....

I just finished reading the book EAT PRAY LOVE, at the end of the book she talks about how she sat in silence and began to forgive all and everything negative in her life by allowing her self to first feel it, understand where it came from, then to ask it to enter her heart for the love that is always there and always has room for forgiving. Look at the word it self FOR GIVING... its about the love you give to yourself and to others who have touched your life in all ways.....
Dr kim is right...we all have from the start, a beautiful light inside us and what happens to us in life changes our perception about how we veiw life , but that light will always remain there. For some, the light is dim, for others very bright and it is up to all of us to help each other fill that light and it starts with forgiving with love......

Y'all talk as if anger and resentment are bad things. In my view they are just as valid as the sweet & loving emotions. They all have their place, having been given to us by God.

It is a matter of getting "mad" when the situation justifies it, and letting go when it is time.

It says in the Bible, there is "a time to love and a time to hate". No truer words were ever spoken. Folks who think they are bad or sinful because they just seem unable to let go of the resentment & anger are not bad or sinful at all. They just need time and the intervention of God Himself. God decides when to "let go", not us imperfect humans who try to force goodness onto ourselves. God's timing is perfect.

Thank you for this statement! I was beating myself up for not
being able to forgive two people who hurt me so badly. I've been so angry with myself for having these angry emotions. I've prayed for the grace to forgive the people who hurt me. I want to let go of my anger and hurt. I've asked God to forgive me for not being able to forgive them. I've been so frustrated with myself! But, you have helped me to see that I must have faith that God will answer my prayers. God will help me forgive them when He thinks the time is right. God will also help me forgive myself. I can't rush this process of finally being able to forgive. When I try to rush things, I end up feeling much worse.

Hey Jill,

Just want to let you know that your comments help me a lot. This particular part just puts my heart at ease and helps me to feel better about myself, life and GOD himself. "God will help me forgive them when He thinks the time is right. God will also help me forgive myself" and "when I try to rush things, I end up feeling worse". Thanks. The last part is exactly what I have been feeling lately. And the idea that God will help just soothes my soul because I have been having a hard time lately thinking that He would not help because why would I deserve such mercy and love from Him when all I do is to dissapoint and hurt. Thankfully I came across this website and your comment.

I was moved by your words as I too am going to a hard time trying to forgive someone. Especially at this time of year, old feelings and new feelings resurface. I keep getting hurt by the same person over and over. I know it's partly my fault because I allow it. But it's so hard to let go when feelings are still there and you want to believe that person will change. In reality we are the ones who need to change and not allow that person to continue to hurt us. Once we grasp that we have grown and we become better people. The timeless....Time heals all wounds" is so true. Take your time to heal, in the meantime surround yourself with people who show you the opposite of hurt....and that is Love!

Good Luck!

as i read your words i couldnt agree son took years to forgive his father for abandoning him as a baby. the day he did i wondered why now? i guess my son felt the time was right.his father sent him a letter every month and every month for 15years he sent his letters back un-opended.god answered his fathers prayers it brought great happiness.i guess my son grew to find the emotional strength but i also feel my son realised how much i forgave his father and to see that i wasnt bitter stengthened him to move on emotionally.i am happy my forgiviness made me a positive role model to my show forgiviness can heal the pain and create happiness once again.i prayed also for my sons happiness............

I am going through something very similar. My ex cheated on me while I was pregnant and then shortly after our son was born he took off to another state with another girl and soon married her after 5 months. I don't know how to forgive. I don't know how to let go of this anger that I am feeling inside and the complete sadness, loneliness and low feeling of self-worth.I don't want to contaminate my 9 month old son b/c I can not imagine that beautiful smile extinguishing. How do you forgive? How do you move on when the man you loved - the one you wanted to marry is gone? It took me years to be able to trust someone. In my early twenties I was beaten and raped. Cheated on. I have been humilated and hurt. Molested by an uncle and couple of cousins. So how do I let go? Reading these posts show all those that have forgiven but can someone tell me how?

Refuse to continue to be a victim anymore. We tend to develop 'stories' about who we are, based on 'what happened to me.' Who YOU are is defined by your actions and words, by your own approach and attitude. Do not allow an abuser to define you. Rise above. It is hard work, but it is the only worthwhile work you can do to transform and grow in this life.

I would like to pick up on your point about the emotions of anger and resentment:
Our emotions are God-given, and they are given to us to help us to live healthy lives. This is true of anger. Anger is the emotion with which we should react to injustice - and any form of abuse is unjust! And our anger should provoke us into correct the injustice, or to escape from it if this is possible. But if we hang on to our anger and brood on it, that leads to resentment, and I think that this is a negative emotion which we do well to recognise and avoid. Brooding on our pain just makes it worse, and anger is very bad for the digestion and for all our bodily systems, which is why it is so often referred to as a "cancer", and even connected with certain forms of cancer. Pain hurts, but if we are to grow we have to acknowledge and accept it - and then ask for God's help to put it aside, overcome it and move on. It is hard to do this on our own, which is why most of us need the help of counsellors or friends as well as of prayer and understaanding. It is also true, I think, that as well as learning to fogive others we have to learn to forgive ourselves, and to accept the forgiveness which God offers us - for if we have never learned to do that, how can we go about forgiving others? May you, and all of us who struggle with forgiveness, be ever open to God's healing forgiveness and thus enabled to continue to seek - and find! - life.

This comment really resonated with me because it helped me to see that I am not perfect and in time when God can help me forgive, He will. Yes, being human means to be imperfect, no matter how much pressure I put on myself to be "forgiving," I feel worse when I cannot live up to my own expectations! You have helped me to see my anger and resentment, for now, has a purpose and in time I will let it go.
Thankyou so much for your comment!
Love and Light

Forgiving a hurt is when you accept the person does not owe you anything because you have forgiven the debt. However, that is the easy part. The hard part is having a quality relationship with this same person if they were once close to you and now you cannot be super human and trust them the same anymore. The hard part comes after the forgiveness is given.

Amen Evelyn! That's the truth, but we aren't going to be friends with everyone, it's impossible, some folks are to damaged to respond positively to kindness. Even though we forgive and forget when someone wrongs us it doesn't mean that we have to continue in relationship with them. We are called to peace.

Thanks, Evelyn and Anonymous. I feel the need to cut out certain family members from my life, at least for the foreseeable future, but my fiance thinks that's cruel. I try to explain that it doesn't make sense for my emotional well-being for me to continue in certain relationships. Holidays, weddings, and funerals turn into major drama zones, but if we don't attend we can contribute to the creation of more drama and bad feelings. Where's the middle ground?

I believe the keys to forgiving others are as follows:
1. Realize that we also hurt others and we are not necessarily better or much better than those who have hurt us (we are all sinners and all fail to live up to Gods standard of holiness which is his own nature)
2. Realize that forgiveness is available to us, for all the wrongs (sins)we have done - this is through Jesus Christ who died for our sins so we do not reap the just reward for our own wrongs
3. We can unconditionally love others (and forgive them) because we are loved unconditionally
4. We need to accept the gift of forgiveness from God by trusting in Jesus sacrifice for us and our worthiness is then based on this and not on our own goodness (or rather, the lack of it)
5. We can then choose tpo forgive despite the feelings of hurt, knowing that our forgiving opens the door for God to then begin the process of healing us from the sting of those hurts (it may be instant but often not)
6. Jesus said "forgive them because they dont know what they are doing" - this is often the case (not always) with those who hurt us eg parents who didnt love us enough because of their own shortage of knowing love
7. We can then choose to forgive anyone (without exception)
8. We were all born sinners, originally manifested by some degree of selfishness that is evident in early life
9. Jesus was the only one not born a sinner due to his virgin birth and divine linerage - for this reason his sacrifice for our sins is all sufficient and we can add nothing to that

Forgiving your self for hurting

Happy New Year to Dr. Ben Kim and his readers.

I wish I can be of help with my views on HURT. No one wants to hurt and be hurt. We get hurt when we are vulnerable. It can be different reasons for this.
What is important is to see that we hate more our vulnerability than the person that hurt us.
If I am still vulnerable to be hurt I would not associate with people that hurt me, even if they are family. Mejor solo que en mala compania – Better alone than in bad company.
When strong enough. I would confront the people that hurt me and expect them to apologize. If they do not, forget them, forgive your self for having carried the memory of the hurt. Love your self, they do not deserve to dwell in your memory.
I can say “Forgive them God for they know not what they do”, so it is not my business. I can only feel God’s presence if I am still enough. This can only happen in the present, not living with the past memories. I have to ask my self why do I want to re-experience the past and hurt in the now. Why do I make my self vulnerable again to something that is not here now. Would an yell on the top of my lungs have stopped the assailant then? Maybe I can yell now until all hell freezes and let every one know that I will not take it any more from any one.
It is not an eye for an eye. Some people only can relay to their own “medicine”. It is up to us to make the judgment when needed. God wants us to be strong and not submissive. Allow your self to experience a hurt from the past fully and let go forever. As you take the trash out of your home to the dumpster, so do dump the past, remember only what you need to remember.
David Nakov,

I thought I already forgave my ex- boyfriend for hurting me but I've realized that although my I'm trying to this.. I still have some hatred and pains in my heart.

I will tell you my story. He was my first boyfriend although I am already 27 yrs old. I prayed to God that I want to marry my first boyfriend but It didn't happen because he cheated on me.

He broke up with me last January because he told me that I was suffocating him. I was really hurt and I kept on thinking why did it happenned? I've been a very understanding girlfriend. I was mad at myself at that time because I thought that everything was my fault. I did everything to win him back but he never replied to my text and emails.

After a month of our break up I found out that he is now living with a new girl and they are already expecting a child. I really don't know why, despite of my love for him, he did that to me.

We already had plan to get married this year and he promised a lot to me. I hope someday I can forgive them. He's a liar - he asked forgiveness but he did not tell the truth. He lied to me.

I can certainly relate to what your saying minus the marriage, my situation is exactly as yours. I trusted this person. He was my first love and I thought we would remain together. He cheated on me & got his ex-girlfriend pregnant and is with her now. I did everything I could for him. He of course professes the child isn't his but I know otherwise. I'm learning to let go and trust me when I say it's a process to forgive. But you will get there. Recognize first that it wasn't your fault, & it's true that some people hurt because they are not mentally, or emotionally in a good place themselves. I'll be keeping you in prayer and know that your not alone. But remember it won't happen overnite it will take some time but it will happen.

I've learned to forgive my parents for handling their divorce in an immature way that caused lifelong hurt to my sisters and I - including neglect that allowed one young sister to be sucked into drugs and eventually die of an overdose causing severe pain to our whole network of family, extended family and friends.

I don't know how to forgive in extreme circumstances - as a victim of violence, for example, but I do think I've found a path to forgiving those who hurt us emotionally.

You will achieve forgiveness once you understand that "other person" so well that you actually feel compassion and sympathy for them.

You don't have to like or accept what another person has done to you in order to forgive. You do need to understand as much as possible where that person was in life when they did whatever they did.

It's also good to take an honest look at our own selves, taking stock of our weaknesses and the ways in which we ourselves hurt other people (often without even realising it). The more we understand our own humanity, the more we understand the humanity of those who hurt us.

Forgiveness IS a path. It's important to be patient with ourselves and realise that forgiveness is NOT instantaneous. It is a process. It requires work, time and growth. It involves striving for insight and wisdom. It also requires love.

I like Scott Peck's (The Road Less Travelled) definition of love, which he narrows it down to time and attention. Observe where you spend your time and attention and you will find the object of your love.

When seeking to forgive, you must focus your time and your attention on the situation at hand - in other words, you must exercise love. As you do that, you will grow. That is when wisdom and understanding will start to flow into your life - love will bring that.

And as your love flows and you grow, you will start to feel the inner healing that comes with forgiveness. Then, believe it or not, there will come a time when you realise that the pain this other person caused you has made you grow so much that, if given the choice, you would never go back and undo that wrong.

That, my friend, will be your sign that you have achieved forgiveness.

a very beautiful way of putting it

Thank the almighty God for his love and the word LOVE. Good and very interesting one. Forgiveness is a path of Love, with love forgiveness will take place.

This is a very important part of good health. Thank you for this eamil. We should always remember that when we do not forgive the ones who hurt us we carry this cloud of gloom over our heads and have a nasty life. Meanwhile the ones who hurt us are going on with their lives happy as ever while we carry a load of hurt. Let it go and free yourself from these chains that are pulling you down is what I would say.

Lessons I've learned from Aristotle, Jesus, and Debi Pearl

I remember being in my early twenties and looking at women in their 30’s and 40’s who were crabby, bitter, and hateful, and saying, “I’ll never be like that!” And yet, somehow, at 35, the joy had slowly seeped out of my life and been replaced by a pervasive bitterness and apathy. In my search for answers, I found some very helpful concepts I’d like to share.

Like those I observed, I too have been hurt, abused, slandered, and cheated. In an attempt to prevent more damage, I tried to shield my heart and ended up hurting others. For instance, because of damage done to me by men in my past, my lack of trust carried over into my marriage, damaging my relationship with my husband. I have always operated under a “The best defense is a good offense” approach, keeping up a fighting stance. This angry posture in turn caused hurt and bitterness in him.

The first helpful concept is that of the proverbial “first stone.” Found in the Bible is the story of an adulterous woman. The penalty at that time was death by stoning. Jesus said to the crowd gathered, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” He was not condoning her sin, but rather showing us how to forgive. We don’t have to condone the actions of those who have hurt us, but we can forgive them because we want to be forgiven for our sins. Another time Jesus told an amazing parable on this subject in Matthew 18 if you want to look into this further.

Another resource of tremendous benefit to me was a book by Debi Pearl, “Created to be His Helpmeet.” The “unvarnished truth” presented in this book, geared toward wives, was the key to turning my marriage around, but would be worth buying just for the section titled, “Practice makes perfect.” We can practice bitterness, anger, and hurt, or we can practice thankfulness, joyfulness, peacefulness.

My husband was unfaithful to me years ago. Thoughts still pop into my head—when we’re having an argument and I feel attacked, I want to bring it up; during intimate times my mind wanders and I wonder about “her”; when I’m feeling guilty over something I’ve done, I want to bring it up to assuage my guilt… But like the woman who commented on forgiveness having layers like an onion, forgiveness is not a one time act. I forgave my husband when the truth finally came out, but I have to do it again each time it comes into my mind. Forgiving him means I don’t rub it in his face, use it to justify my actions, or to control him via guilt. I have hurt our relationship in many ways, chiefly with my anger, but I want him to forgive me and not keep bringing it up. In the same way, I choose to forgive and “forget” his faults.

As I learned from Debi Pearl, it’s like learning to play the piano: practicing to find the right notes to make beautiful music, I want to learn to find the notes of joy and peace in my heart and in my life. I can keep hitting the disharmonious notes of bitterness—it’s my right to keep sounding those notes, and no one will blame me if I’m hurt—but it will make an ugly song that everyone around me has to listen to. I can choose to practice the beautiful notes. I tend to rehearse hurtful scenes in my mind, making the script of my life a tragedy. But like Erma Bombek, Barbara Johnson, or Mary Roach, I’d rather make it a comedy!

Finally, a quote from Aristotle I have memorized says, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

May other readers of these words be blessed and encouraged on their path to wholeness!

My mother was a self centered person that did as she wanted to no matter what. She was wild and didn't care what others thought about what she did. She would fit right in these days but in the 50's, she didn't. We were put in foster care 3 different times because of things she did. I was unhappy for all the years that I lived with her.
After I married and found out just how bad some children have been treated, I realized that she could have been a lot worse. I also realized that she had a hard childhood. Something had to make her so mean and uncaring. It also made me a more caring and sensitive person towards others. It is best to look at a person's good points when you can.
I forgive her but it still bothers me when I hear of the abuse that some people do to their kids. I don't feel that authorities do as much as they can to prevent some of the torture and child abuse that goes on. I know that this is so in lots of cases. When there is a divorce, children should go to the parent that they want to live with, as long as they are decent responsible people. Living with an uncaring parent, can ruin a child's life.

Forgiveness emanates from humble admission and confession of our own failures, mistakes and sins. Without a sense of guilt (not self-incrimination) and whole-hearted willingness for reparation and reform, there shall not be peace in one's heart.

Let's not forget that our inability to forgive the wrongs done to us burden us physically, mentally and spiritually; and it puts a huge block between us and God, Who is all merciful. His pardon is based upon our ability to forgive and forget. And the grace and enlightenment are immeasurable.

It is also believed that safekeeping anger consumes our whole being. Imagine its toll on our body and mind. Let's throw it out and what ease and peace will it bring!


I think that when we are constant victims of abuse, it is because we received a message at a very young age maybe at an age that we can't even remember, when someone told us that we were either not worth it, there to serve others, unwanted, etc. Imagine if you were in another household raised by healthy people. You would not feel that way. Someone lied to you because they had severe problems of their own. I think that that you would have to see a professional to help you get rid of that message. I think what you CAN do right now and it has helped me is to eat right, primarily a vegetarian diet, stay away from alcohol cigarettes, and sugary/salty/fried foods. Exercise...even if you just have to start out exercising five minutes a day. And find something that you are afraid of doing, be it taking a public speaking course, swimming, anything healthy that you are afraid of doing. And only hang out with people who will make you feel good about you...even if it means having only one friend. Stay away from people who need an audience or who don't have the inner strength to be honest with themselves. I also am a firm believer in meditation, yoga, and the martial arts. I don't know if one could ever compeltely heal but you will go much, much further in your development if you follow the above advice. I also say stay away from negative and controlling people. They are too insecure to be around and have another set of problems. Be good to yourself and also put up boundaries and do not be afraid to get the life that YOU want.

My step-father beat my mother to death when I was a child, and got away with it..."She fell down the stairs". This happened in 1963 when spousal abuse was not discussed like it is today. My hatred, and anger, and perceived need for revenge made me a very difficult person to be around. Then one day, (I think I was about 32 years old), I woke up with a strong desire to find my step-father to tell him that I forgave him, that I loved him, and that Jesus loved him also. I did find him. My life changed 180 degrees that morning that I awoke with this miracle forgiveness in my heart. I am almost 60 years old now, and I can say for sure, that for me, forgiving my step-father was the greatest miracle in my life. If only the rest of the world could share the miracle of forgiveness, we would ALL be better off.

Hi Tom. I don't have such a heart-breaking experience like you had in your childhood. I often got and still get criticism from my family members for being diffierent from them. Now that I am here in the U.S. (I'm from Japan), I feel good about being 'me' and appreciate this country for giving me an opportunity to be 'me,' which is freedom to choose to be 'me.' However, after being descriminated as an Asian female and having an emotionally abusive marriage (which I got out of), I have become a person who cannot forgive anything or anyone. I used to have this big space in my heart which worked as 'cushion': When I had a bad experience, this 'cushion' absorbs all kinds of negativity I felt and so there was no bitter feelings left afterwards. Now that I no longer have this 'cushion', when my boyfriend did something unfair to me, I cannot forgive him. This heart of unforgiveness is destroying me now. I keep analyzing why he did it and trying to figure out what his action means to me as well as to our relationship.

After losing 'cushion,' I feel anger toward many things which didn't disturb my peace before. One of them is that I feel anger towards society that revictmizes the victims. Today, many of us embrace self-responsibility, however I feel that this virtue is often miused to justify or elminate responsibility of others. Your mother might have been revictimzed by others by irresponsible voices such as 'why she didn't get out her marriage sooner,' making it sounds like violence was her choice. We hear this type of comment very often.

Your forgiveness toward your step-father is manifestation of your courage, widsom and compassion toward human being. Your choice of forgiving him is manifestation of your strong determination that you choose and live with peace everyday. Your experience has inspired me that I want to make the same choice. Somehow, I feel I don't need to analyze anything anymore. Somehow, I feel the power of you empowering yourself by forgiveness. Thank you for sharing your miracle.

Midori Small
Lexington, KY

As a new member I am very interested in the topic of Forgiveness. As a 71-year old I know how difficult forgiving can be - I still get angry at people long since defunct & even when I convince myself I've thoroughly forgiven them, ten minutes later the old wrath comes boiling up & I realise once again my forgiveness proceeded from a shallower level than my anger. I note Dr Kim's remarks about visualising victimisers as very young children. This doesn't help me personally but a variant on this does - visualising victimisers as they will be when rehabilitated by God.
(Since I don't believe in a Hell - there's only Heaven! - everyone victimisers & victims alike end up in that place thoroughly rehabilitated). I welcome comments, criticisms.

I love some of the comments stated here on forgiveness. I too like many have many areas in my life of pain and rejection. I was raised in an abusive alcoholic home. Raped at age 11 and molested at age 15 by a high school teacher. I was beaten physically and mentally abused. Told I was worthless. I had tried to kill myself at age 15 1/2. These things had taken over my life, my thoughts and anything else. I hated people, but I longed to be loved by people. At age 18 I was introduced to God. desparate for some kind of love I had 2 choices. One was to believe everything God and His word said, and two to go on hating myself and anyone else that crossed my path. I either had to take control of my life by making choices to live or give control over to an enemy of hate and destruction.I chose to live and make choices. The road to forgiving all my offenders wasn't easy and I am now 30 something yrs into it. But I am free, free to love and be loved, free to give from myself the gifts the my creator has put inside of me. I believe there are 2 plans for my which is embracing God and His word or death, the plan of God's adversary on my life. I also had to look at the plans for my abusers life. They like me also have choices, but not all make the right one. Some are so blinded through the glasses of their own disfunction. They see nothing else. They chose not to forgive and trust. The choice keeps a legacy of death and destruction. I too many time have questioned if my forgiveness was valid. Was it just words I said to make myself feel better. I recently brought my children to the place I was raised. I had brought them down to a lake near my home as a child. While at the lake I suddenly realized this is where I had been raped. When I turned I noticed a man sitting in a truck, I thought what if that is him the man that raped me. I thought for a moment and said Lord if it was I would like to pray for him to know what I know about love and forgiveness. I would like him to be able to be emotionally healed and freed from the pain he feels. As I walked around I noticed something on his truck....a vanity plate....yes the mans name that raped me was on that plate. I smiled and thanked the Lord for setting me free from the hate I had once felt for this man. I smiled because that memory had no power over me. I had turned to my children and continued to show them the things I loved in my life like skipping rocks across the water. We have to forgive to set ourselves free. Our mind and our bodies knows the differance. Someday maybe my experience will breath life into someone else. I will not become a bitter and spiteful person then I am no differant then my abusers. This life is not easy but it is possible to live it full of life, inspite of it all.It's good to forgive. Kim

I don't know what to write....I never feel anger, just an immense sadness and sorrow regarding the emotional abuse( particularly at times of celebrations) I receive from the one person I should be able to trust( and do) with my life and thus all things connected with it and, therefore, with each other( my husband).We have a very deep spiritual connection and this causes me no end of pain in my heart and soul. after any such hsppening( I am always told about perceived things I have not done right, or haven't done).Maybe that is true, maybe not. BUT to spit it out at me on a special day of my birthday, two days ago, I cannot handle, nor should I have to. There is a time, place and manner for such things. I set such store on these special occasions and each time my heart plummets like a lead brick and I crawl off to bed until the next day comes... no celebration.My husband doesn't think he has done or said any thing wrong and said today that he would act just the same with anyone else wherever he was be it a wedding or a funeral! I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. No..not anger, never anger..but an immense sadness.Forgive? that is very difficult to answer...I have in the past, but nothing changes.

If and when you can visualize the innocence, as you mentioned in babies, that helps, but also to know most all people do the very best they can, with the hand of 'cards' they are dealt in this life. For various reasons, abuse suffered themselves, or whatever else they might have gone through that no one may even know about, they can only function in certain ways, but no more than that. I believe most all do the very best they can possibly do, given the factor that affect them. I believe if they could do any better, they would, also. We all want to be liked deep down inside, though some may act like they do not care.
Just a thought or two more to ponder . . .hope this will help someone.

After a painful divorce that left me depressed, tearful and hurt for a couple of years, I learned an easy method for forgiving. It sounds simplistic, but it works. It has worked miracles in my life. Here is all you do:

Take time every day for a week to write out "I forgive (name of person) for (name the hurtful deed)". Jesus taught us to forgive 70 times seven, so you must do this 70 times a day for a week. You can hand write it or type it. In the beginning you probably won't feel very forgiving. As the week goes along, a shift will happen and you will begin to feel lighter. By the end of the week, your burden will be lifted and you will be free. You may later find another layer of unforgiveness and have to go through this process again, so just do it.

I once had a situation where my finances were becoming dire and I sorely needed to forgive a woman who had lied to me about her income to buy a house I had on the market. The day before the sale was to close, after keeping it off the market for three months, I found out about the lie. I was angry, hurt and desperate for the money from the sale. A friend pointed out that I needed to forgive the woman. I didn't want to take a week, so I took my portable typewriter to the house and spent several hours typing away my forgiveness. After 70 x 7 (490 times) I did 10 more for good measure. I felt relief and peace in my heart. Early the next morning a real estate agent I'd never met called and said he wanted to show the house. His clients had been looking for several months, and they bought my house with no problems. I KNOW the forgiveness sold my house.

This is an excellent article that works well with yours. An excerpt: ""

"To those of you who are incapable of any kind of forgiveness, just remember that people aren't born with the intention to inflict pain. It's not how we're built, but rather what we become because of the choices we made in the past. And it was what we can cease to be in a moment if we so choose. In a moment, if we so choose. And when you don't forgive, you edge closer to a world of bitterness and greater pain and defensives. You build walls because you're too scared to be hurt again - but you will be hurt again, no matter what you do. It's a part of life and it's a part of the pleasure of this life because it's in those moments of pain and hurt and in the way you choose to overcome them that your character is defined. And here, you have a choice. You either face this life or you run from it. You either challenge it or you succumb to it. You either rule it or you are ruled by it."

Just cope and paste:

Thank you all for all of the encouraging comments about forgiveness. It wasn't easy , but I just recently decided to forgive others who have hurt me and to forgive myself as well. Holding on to anger, is like wearing shackles...forgiving really sets you free. Someone stated in a comment that you grow so much from the pain, and hurt that others inflict upon you that when you look back you don't regret a thing. I definetly agree with that and just being able to set aside pride and forgive is a positive change of heart. To those who have been may take time, but God will take the pain away. Pray for those who have hurt you. Ask God to enlighten their minds and lift their hearts so that they know their wrong doings.

I say Amen to that.......Bless your heart and
thank you for sharing such beautiful words.

My life growing up was really rough. My Dad and step mom verbally and mentally abused me regularly.
I was in so much self-pity about my family life. As an adult I would tell people all of the awful stories, replaying them over and over again and I just couldn't let the memories go. I became an alcoholic/addict and had to go to AA to get better. In AA I learned that we have to be free of resentments. I was advised to pray for everyone that I resented. I made a list of everyone that I had a resentment towards and every night I prayed for each person. After a week EVERY resentment was GONE. Sometimes a resentment will sneak up on me and I know that I hve to pray for them. The prayer in "the aa big book" goes something like this: God(or whatever you chose to beleive) "I pray for ______. This is a sick person. Help me have a kind and tolerant view of them. Show me how to be helpful to them. Save me from being angry." I swear this works! For once in my life I am free from anger. I wish my other family members were open to trying this. Give this a shot! When you let go of anger you have more room for love!

When an adult has hurt another - the hurtee may have to imagine the hurter as an innocent child to move through the pain. To be honest, it doesn't really help me in a heartfelt way; only intellectually. Can we imagine Hitler as a cute baby? Yes. Does that help us forgive him? No. The only thing I think that helps is the notion of "forgive them for they do not know." In other words, the person is just hurting another blindly and with no empathy or compassion. It's done out of narcissism or fear. You forgive their ignorance. Well, I'm one who's having a lot of trouble moving through abuse and even Tyler Perry's rant to his father didn't help me. Though maybe it helped him, I don't know how he accomplished that shift. Maybe his father's, "I love you," was the medicine. And what about the consequences, hurt and pain of war. It's not how much money we spent in Iraq that wasn't used for schools or hospitals that ultimately matters. It's all the innocent lives that have been lost. Human never seem to get this. War is all about humans killing other humans and acting numb about it. Heads in the sand. That's why the lesson of war is repeated. Once humans realize all lives are sacred, war would never happen.

After I left my last comment, I thought about what I had written. I thought about Tyler Perry's words to his father and his father's words to him. Maybe when Tyler spoke up to his father and let him know his true feelings and stood up for himself and his worth, he was able to shift into a better, more empowered place. His father's "I love you" simply reinforced this. When someone is being cruel to us, it's natural to take it personally and feel afraid and angry. But looking at the big picture, we might think that everything that happens is for our soul growth. It's not easy to do when at the receiving end of abuse. I do know love is the most powerful healer of all, and sometimes humans think they are coming from a place of love, but it's actually from a place of fear. Forgiveness always exists in the realm of love. We must never forget that love is always there for us, we just need to see to believe.

Like some of you, I've been abused physically and mentally as a child.
I've found that forgiveness is great for the smaller hurts in life, but not for the big stuff.

For the extreme hurts I've learned that the only thing that works is t first break down the walls you may have built up to protect yourself against further hurt. Once you break down these walls - with the help of loving people in your life - you can then release your pain and move on with your life. The person that hurt you isn't important anymore and you don't have to 'give' them anything of yourself.

What this meant for me: it took me years to figure out that I even had internal walls built up. Once I figured that out, I made sure I only opened up to very sensitive people I could absolutely trust. As my walls were coming down, I started crying periodically for apparently 'no reason' for about a month. I let it happen and it felt so good - I felt all that burden and stress melt away from me.

Yes, forgiveness is good for some things - often the person that hurts another has no idea anyway, how much damage they've caused - but I think it's not enough for the deep seated stuff.

Anyway, I wish all of you who are hurting that you can get rid of your pain and move on with your life. You're not lone.

Definitely agree that forgiveness is often more about freeing oneself from limiting, painful emotions than it is about releasing the person who hurt you from responsibility for their actions. Many times the people who hurt others are so unconscious of their own inner processes that they will continue to behave in the same or similar ways throughout their lives. They are simply too damaged and too ignorant to be able to do what it takes to recover and become sane, caring human beings.

What I have experienced also, is that most people have so many layers and characteristics, some of which may all tend in the same direction, while others seem to work at cross purposes. The same person who actually does love and respect and care about you may also harbor tremendous anger, condescension, frustration, etc., and they may at times believe that you are responsible for their unpleasant emotions, and treat you accordingly. Since you are also a human being with many layers and characteristics, your own inner fears and conflicts and unpleasant emotions may indeed have triggered their reactions toward you. While I would hesitate to say that all this emotional pain and confusion and unconsciousness is "normal", it is certainly so common that probably almost everyone experiences it at least to some degree.

So, what are the keys to unravelling this stuff so that we can all free ourselves from past trauma? I believe there are:
1)Commitment. Realize that you are important enough to deserve to recover and be free to give and receive affection and respect. Respect the pain and the power it has to teach you about yourself, about others, about life. And commit to not giving up to despair. Commit to inner honesty, commit to continue working to free yourself, to open yourself to life.
2)Listen to what your dreams are trying to tell you. Your organism constantly seeks to heal itself on all levels. Sometimes your dreams may speak of your anxiety, your grief. Contemplate the dream images on an emotional level and feel compassion toward yourself. Other times your dreams may show you a tremendous beauty, love, peace, joy. This type of dream indicates that you do indeed still have all of this inside of you, trying to manifest in your life. Acknowledge this message by consciously assisting your inner joy, love, peace, and beauty to find active expression in your waking life.
3. Forgive yourself and don't get caught up in remorse. Feel it, but don't be attached to it. Remorse should be your loving teacher--no matter how painful the memories--but not your slavemaster or torturer. By and by, as you learn to forgive yourself, the forgiveness towards others--and towards the hardships of life in general--will also develop.
4. Don't expect "perfection". Forgiveness usually isn't an all-or-nothing, once-and-forever phenomenon. The only real perfection lies in transcendence, in universal consciousness, toward which each being, through the power of life itself, unceasingly attempts to move. Every time an inner barrier dissolves, rejoice and breathe! You have passed a milestone, but the journey is not over!
5. Try to understand the personality and emotional components of your relationships with other people. Learn to be your own emotional detective. Your feelings can be valuable clues, both to your own inner self as well as to the personality and emotions of other people. Understood in this light, your relationships can teach you many valuable lessons. Sometimes the lesson might be, "I need to understand, love, and respect myself more". Other times it might be, "This is a person with whom I should not be in a close relationship." Respect your intuition and understanding and act accordingly, focusing on taking the best possible care of yourself--not on negative emotions or actions towards the other person.
6. Don't be in a hurry. If you tend to "fall in love at first sight" and then soon find that Mr. or Ms. Right isn't so right after all, even might be someone who is going to hurt you a lot, consciously try to slow it down! Why are you in such a big hurry? Is it because you are so desperate for affection that you are forgetting to first find out if this person is actually worthy of a close relationship with you? Respect your need for affection first of all by respecting your right to personal safety and well-being. If you love and respect yourself, you will know more about what to look for in others, and more apt to find relationships with people who truly love and respect you. So don't be in a hurry. Take your time, be observant, and choose your friends and "significant others" carefully and consciously.
7. Sometimes a sense of humor can come to the rescue! I know people who gush at me when they see me. These same people, however, do nothing to create or maintain a friendship with me. They never call me, never invite me to their house, do not return my phone calls or respond to my e-mails. Yes, I've felt angry at them sometimes. I resent their apparent shallowness. But hey, there's nothing that says I have to build my emotional satisfaction around these people! If that's how they are or how they want to be, who am I to try to change them? Essentially they are harmless, they are not out there killing and maiming, cheating and stealing; they are just a little flighty and insincere. They've just wounded my vanity a little bit. Big deal! And then I laugh at the absurdity of it all. It's like the James Thurber cartoon where it shows a zillion people all rushing to and fro along a busy street going past a cemetery. The only text is "Destinations". So I just appreciate myself a bit, and giggle. In the end, we're all going to the same place anyway!

I don't think that everyone's life can follow the same trajectory. It is okay that some forgive and some don't. I wonder about the motivations about those who scurry to "forgive" and are apparently fixated on everyone else doing the same as they. God made us all individuals, not clones of each other.

True forgiveness happens without any effort. One day you realize that you are no longer emotionally hitched to that person who hurt you like hell - THAT is real forgiveness. And you didn't do it yourself - God did it for you!

I have been searching for a definition of forgiveness for quite some time that resonated with me, and Ms. Helen Henie's response has finally given me the clarity that I have been looking for. Thank you so much, Helen! I truly believe you can't force yourself to forgive someone. So I am now turning my situation over to God, and I truly believe that one day I will wake up and the emotional attachment will be gone and it will happen when God feels it is the right time. What a relief!!

I enjoyed reading your article on forgivensss. Aa much as I have tried to understand the concept of "forgiveness", its just not the logical thing to do. The book of Leviticus has laid the laws down very detailed. How is my life going to change by forgiving someone who has wronged me????? What is that going to do for my life? I am the one who has been wronged here. The person that wronged me should be asking my forgiveness and God's forgiveness and then pay the penalty for their wrongdoing. Then, if I decide to extract mercy on them and say no, it is forgiven and I decide to forgive that person so he or she does not have to go through the punishment for the wrongs they committed against me. In other words it is left up to me to forgive them if I so choose, as to spare them punishment. I hope that I am explaining this in a clear enough way for you to understand because I am not a philosopher or a college graduate. I know about the Christian beliefs on forgiveness, however, it just does not sit right with me. And I know Christians who advocate the death penalty which goes against what Jesus said about turning the other cheek. So Christians dont go by forgivenesss or else they would not advocate the death penalty for certain crimes. You cannot have it both ways. So if you could I would like for you to explain to me the best way you can about this concept of "Forgiveness". I would like to know what your viewpoints are on this please. MY email address is

Thank you

Carrie Jackson

If one is very sensitive person its very much likely one will face situations that hurts her/him in life. This GOd love means love in generally. When you feel love or and loved the hate or pain dissapears and there can be acceptance. But this acceptance does not mean saying that wrong doing was okay or being "nice" no matter what. no, but something like you are not affected by it anymore. Its like ending up the story and open your eyes for present moment. its okay to feel and release whatever emotion but not to hang in them. One sentence is good to keep in mind= forgive not to forget.
you asked what this forgivenes will do to you and your life. It will give you peace and make you much stronger than before. Actually its often seen in history and present day that many remarkeble and good hearted people have went through a lot in life. And why why these people are respected is not because their great victory over 'enemies' but because of their victory make peace with 'enemies' . take example Mahatmta Gandhi. He was badly treaten like second class human being as being indian in westeners train and was kicked out from the train. this was the turning point in his life. What followed was that He led india to independence and remind his people and rest of the world by his own example about power of love and nonviolence.
So you are talking about forgiveness about concept its not a concept. You cannot lie to yourself. Like somebody said it set you free, yes it sets your mind free. But you dont 'give in to' anything, so to say.

This is a wonderful subject, and I am happy to see it being discussed. I have a little different twist, which the original article approaches but does not address. Everyone is doing their best all the time. At every moment, even the violently abusive parents described in some of the comments, everyone is making the best choice they can in those moments. If we can see that, we can perhaps see that they were not evil perpetrators, just humans caught in a bad dream of life, passing down the poison they had been fed.

These people that hurt us were not bad or evil. They were hurt, and so they hurt others. If we can truly see that they were doing their best, then we can perhaps realize that they are just as innocent as their victims. In a universe of action << >> reaction, many things happen that we don't like and we label then as "wrong." Humans label; the universe doesn't. Things eat each other. Humans hurt each other. The sun rises and sets. Novas explode. Worms die. The universe is at peace with all of it. It is all perfect.

If we can see the perfection, outside of our human labels, we can see that THERE IS NOTHING TO FORGIVE. That, for me, is the true meaning of forgiveness-- that we have experienced the perfection of God's universe and do not judge it. We accept it without perhaps understanding it. Therein lies the peace of true forgiveness.

Thanks for letting me share my dream.

I agree with Allan Hardman.

No rights, no wrongs. Only perceptions.
There are no victims, only creators.
We come into this world with a knowing which we learn to forget as we become conditioned by those around us.
We cannot be hurt without our permission.
If I you beat me. It is not about me, it is about you.
If I am hurt, it's about me. I can choose to give my power away to you, or I can become empowered and forgive--myself for accepting the beating, and you for giving it.
Either way, our paths have crossed for the lessons we both need to learn.

Even if its absolutely true what you are saying, many so called spiritual people become naive about this. "loving" all and suppressing their own natural feelings and needs and intution. But there is always possibility fot higher awareness.

My brother & myself, especially him; were terribly emotionally scared & beaten. We were not wanted children the way we see it looking back. We are both very hard workers & actually quite talented in & around our homes. The way we see it it is our families loss not ours as we some how 'rised' above the horrible emotional hurt & showed them that we were not the dumb & stupid individuals we were always told we were & that we would never amount to anything. I feel looking back that there was alot of envy on the parents part. We have never ever been home sick in our life, there wasn't anything there that we missed except a control issue. It was always be damned if you did & be damned if you didn't situation constantly going on in our lives. We could never do a darn thing right as it was always picked apart. My poor brother endured unbelieveable beatings like near death, since I can remember at about the age of one & a half I still can remember the horrors & I am 62 yrs & he is 64 yrs now. We have endured & worked hard all our lives over coming lack of self confidence, there is times when that comes back to haunt me over different situations & sort of with drawn. I have a lovely old friend who is 91 yrs in a few days who has been a very good mother to me & been supportive & very helpful with her way of dealing with these kind of things. We have learned to let go of a lot of baggage from our past as we realize that we cannot change what has happened to us as all that does is hold us back from going forward & we have been better people in our adult lives than our parents. Most of all we showed ourselves that there is much better way to live like treat others the way we would like to be treated & be sincere. Your page from Myra is excellent I made a copy for my brother & myself to be able to read from time to time. Thank you Ellen

Forgiving to heal is absolutely necessary. I have had the experience when I forgave my father. He was abusive, incestuous. The fear he brought into my young heart kept me bound for years. I could not receive or give love. It was so painful. When I forgave him a huge weight was lifted, I felt compassion, love. I don't know how it happened but do know that God was involved. My heart grew that day and since then much love has come my way. Open your heart to God and He will help you forgive and love again.

Several years ago, I purchased a weight loss tape that was quite good. After a lot of information about food choices, self-awareness, etc. at the end of the tape, was the suggestion that being overweight was tied to unforgiveness. It made sense to me. There was a beautiful verse that I still repeat when I think about it. No matter what your "religious" beliefs, if it is said everyday, it works on the subconscious as well as the conscious mind:

"All that has offended me, I forgive
Within and without, I forgive
Things past, things present and things future, I forgive
I forgive positively everything and everyone who could possibly need forgiveness
I am free...and they are free.

Forgiveness is very hard to do sometimes, but as many of the previous statements show there is no hard and fast rules. Yes I have been abused, in several different ways and I have fought to get over it. I have found that if I sit down and write all of my thoughts, my anger, my frustrations, my loneliness, anything that I am feeling towards someone and than lift it up to my higher power that I choose to call God or My Heavenly Father. Pray over it and tell God that as an act of my will I choose to forgive him or her and now work that forgiveness in me. I then either burn or bury the paper. It is like a cleaning and all the facts have been presented to my father God and he will handle it. If I do continue to think about it or another aspect of the problem or person comes up I do it again or I do think of and the feelings are still there I say no, Help me God it is in your hands and as I keep turning it over to God he takes it away sometimes when I don't realize it until later. God is the source of all forgiveness.

This is my first time reading your column and to my amazement I feel I was guided here because I have gone through a lot of hurt from others in the past year. I am realizing now how I have to forgive them and go on. I liked how you said we don't need to tell anyone but yourself - you are so right I feel like a large weight has lifted.

I've been working on forgiving lately; so this article is quite timely. I scanned the comments and noted that there was no mention of Colin Tippin's book/web site RADICAL FORGIVENESS. The tools he outlines are very effective.

Dear Dr. Kim,

Hello from Spain. I read as usual your most interesting articles and this one about forgiveness has attracted my attention because of my personal life. You do remember that I mentioned to you that I have been brought up in an extremely abusive (both physical and emotional) family. Both my parents and now including my eldest brother (who is a clonation of my father) behave in very abusive ways. And what I can say regarding "forgiveness" is that during 55 years I forgave all of them, all their deeds and acts and behaviours and every single wrong thing they did or said to me. And the result was that the more I forgave, the more perverse they became with me. They never changed. All the contrary, they reinforced their abusive behaviour and perversity even more. Therefore, I do not agree with you that we have to forgive everything and all the time. One thing is to forgive something which was done only once and a long time ago and never repeated again, and another thing is to keep forgeting someone`s abusive behaviour towards you constantly, no matter how perverse this person keeps behaving with you. this - in my opinion - would be called to be a "masoquist". You cannot show compassion to this kind of people, because they will never change, no matter how nice, kind, generous, compassionate, loving and caring you are to them. A perverse person (and I have read quite a lot of books regarding this matter) will never change his/her behaviour.

This is my opinion, which of course you do not have to agree with.

My kind regards to you from Spain and always looking forward to receiving your very interesting and most helpful news letters.

Vida Missaghian

Dear Vida. It is heartening to read what you have to say, namely, that you have figured this forgiveness thing out. That sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. It is better that we think for ourselves and act accordingly, than to permit others - who are in the majority - to goad us into thinking and feeling a certain way. I am sorry for your difficult life. My family was not nice to me, either, though not as bad as yours, I don't think. 15 years ago, I just lost it when they were cruelly badgering me for no good reason. They were in shock, they could not believe that cowardly little Helen talked back to them. Helen who was over 40 years old! They got the message. Best to you, Vida. But I think that some perverse people CAN change - they just need people to stand up to them. Deep inside, they will some day respect that.

agree with your opinion vida. forgiveness for me is optional. justice first and 'maybe' forgiveness afterwards. i can't understand why all the so called good and godly people always make the injured and abused people feel liable and guilty when they harbor unforgiveness in their hearts. why not talk about their tormentors first being made to pay and suffer for their wrongful acts before talking about forgiving them? let's talk about justice first and then 'maybe' forgiveness afterwards. imagining hitler and other criminals when they were babies... sorry abortion much better option for them then. just protecting myself and countless innocent lives from them.

Dr. Kim,

Thank you so much for sharing this article on forgiveness. Although it has been in my inbox for a few days, I didn't open it until now. Timing is everything. I am a small business owner and this week I had a very hurtful and unexpected exchange with someone who works with me. At first I wanted to cry, then I became angry, and then I calmed down and thought I had moved on. However, it wasn't until I read this article that I realized that I haven't forgiven her for the hurtful and inaccurate words. I just visualized her as a baby. Just that simple act allowed me to exhale and begin to work on forgiveness.

I also was raised in a baptist/christian household where church was a three day of seven experince. From those teaching and the Love and support of my parents I developed the GIFT of forgiveness,and patience. My philosophy is simple.When I find myself in a situation that requires forgiveness or just a simple ear or shoulder to lean on, I first consider this persons upbringing and background ,and try to put myself in their shoes.Looking at the situation from the other persons view (as best as you can) gives me the ability to allow the God in me to forgive and/or understand the problem.More than likely that person who is worthy of your forgiveness must first forgive themselves. And it is up to you to help them recognize their mistake and help them find the solution for their guilt. I find that Patience and Love are truly the essence to peace in my life and I thank God for these gifts.

I highly recommend Colin Tipping's book "Radical Forgiveness". This book changed my life. Years of hurt and resentment toward my ex-husband vanished after reading this book and doing the forgiveness worksheets. Thank you for your article Dr. Kim

I had heard that forgiving is not a feeling but a decision that one makes. Once the decision has been made in the mind then the heart/feeling will follow in due time. Could this be true?

Yes, I totally agree ! Forfiveness is a DECISION and a CHOICE each of us has to make . It comes from our heart and once we have verbalized and acted out the forgiveness, the heart and feeling follows!!!
Though there are times when we find it difficult to do, we can alwasy ask the Lord to give us the grace to forgive those who have hurt us,

After my marriage of 26 years ended I had a lot of time to reflect on all the things that went wrong. And every time I did so, the hurt of that situation came back again. I went to see a counsellor a few times so I could voice my previously unexpressed anger at an empty chair. That felt good - somebody came alongside and validated my feelings. Then I decided that all I needed to do was not think about these things anymore. However, choosing NOT to think something is harder than choosing TO think something. Random thoughts came and there I was - again - in that hurtful situation. At the same time I knew that I needed to forgive my ex in order for me to move on. But how could I forgive when the hurts were still there? (I wish we had been equipped with a button called "forgive, feel no more pain and get on with life".) As a Christian, I prayed for God's help in this, since He had forgiven me also. Then, one day, as I relived a hurtful experience, I heard myself saying "I need a hug". Much like when a small child skins her knee and wants her mommy to comfort her. The knee is not instantly healed, but the mother's tender caring makes a world of difference. It was as though God came into my bedroom and said "I'm here for you". I felt a warmth and tenderness that just melted away the hurts that were there a moment before. I learned from that experience that the pain sometimes keeps us from forgiving someone and it's okay for an adult to ask for a hug. I've gotten lots of hugs from God (and people) and can say that the ugly thoughts are few and far between these days and last shorter each time. Try it, and hopefully you'll be on the road to healing too.

I read somewhere about anger - this is a statement that caught my eye and is very true. If you are angry at someone the other person is in control.

A pleasant day to you.

The Lord said in His word (The Bible) that you should forgive anyone who has caused you hurt seventy times seven(70x7). He has forgiven us many more times than that.

God bless you.

If God can forgive us our many sins then who are we to not forgive each other. It only hurts us when we do not forgive.

LUKE 23 v 34 "And Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus did not say "I forgive you" He asked His Father to forgive them; what more perfect example could we be given.

I realized after years of torment, I came across the article below. It helped me to realize that the one thing standing in my way of being able to forgive was the fact that I'd never received an apology. It has been very helpful. Letting go is difficult, but considerably easier than holding on to the pain.

Wow! Great articles. Thanks to Dr. Kim for the article and Sue for the link.

I am 39 years old and started remembering a major traumatic event from my childhood just over 2 years ago that shed a flood light on who I am and why I behaved and felt the way I did. With a lot of core work, it took me about 2 years to acquire the strength to face my abuser and those who turned a blind eye. When I received denial instead of an apology, I made the decision to walk away. I have forgiven them for the past. But to continue to be around them, was to perpetuate the lie, and that was too toxic for me. This was NOT an easy thing to do, but I do feel much more at peace now.

Forgiving does not mean that you have to include the offenders in your future. Walking away is not running away. It can be the healthiest step you take in moving on.

Love and care for yourself and the rest will follow!

I think the forgiving comes with time and understanding that the other person just made a mistake....they were thoughtless and did not understand...they had probably been hurt and just retaliated. I think it is more difficult to forget than forgive.. As the memory of those powerful negative experience replay from time to time in our mind then reaching back into you heart and the hurt happens again and again. My daughter has taught me to have a shredder in my mind.. any information that does not really matter or need to be remembered send it straight to the shredder and watch it get shredded into nothing at all.. just let it go never to be retrieved again.. that is my mission in life NOW to shred the things I do not need to remember..

I have been through a reasonable amount of challenges and trials in life and recently feel betrayed by the one person who I truly thought I could trust entirely.

I put a random search on the internet and this website came up.

I am UK based and feel so happy that I have stumbled across this site.

I am not right at this minute in the right place for forgiveness but I love the comments on this site and know in time I will be.

I have strayed away from faith and no doubt caused hurt in my past.

I feel a beam of hope when reading everyones posts and I would like to thank everyone for these.

I will begin the process of forgiveness, not just for events now but learn to overcome the obstacles that have happened in my past.

I am putting my trust, hope and faith in the right place and hope that with effort and time, my problems will not disappear however be more manageable.

This article really made me wonder. I have never been able to forgive any of my tormentors. I have suffered every kind of abuse at the hands of my family and most of all my parents. Whether it was a beating from them or it was from my brothers who were angered by my parents. Often being hit until I blacked out. I have been raped and molested, beaten, and berated, starved, abandoned, and put down repeatedly in such cruel ways, as well as humiliated. I can never forgive, and it is destroying my marriage. I am angry too much and push everyone away. I don't know where to start other than just cutting my ties and moving away and pretending to not know them. Is there really a way to just say "oh yeah dad you said rape was just an assault with a friendly weapon that's all, okay i forgive you"...

My son was tormented much like you by his step mother, and his father never protected him. He was never allowed to go visit them again when I found out. But the damage is done. I have my anger towards her of course, and also towards his Dad... how can you let someone do that to your child and turn a blind eye? Especially when they are both in law enforcement, and look down on others- above the law type attitudes.
My son has survived it, and grown into a great guy. But when he gets leave and comes home, we always have a discussion and cry over this situation. The sad part is_- his father after knowing all the details has remained married, and that keeps the knife plunged into my sons heart. I just want the best for him, and his spiritual and emotional health... is it hard for a son to confront his father, did you?

Can you talk your spouse into moving away? If you can do that, I would get counsel right away in a new venue for the past issues and to keep your marriage going, if that is what you want. Then you should write a book so others can benefit from your triumph over such incredible selfishness. I would not give any of the family members that hurt you the time of day. A man said once at an AA meeting, "There are some things only God can forgive." His mother had beaten him comatose several times when he was six. Sounds like yours might be one of those cases. If it is any consolation, I had to run away to Alaska when I was 15 because my father tried to murder me with a fire axe. I have never forgiven him but I have learned not to think about the douche bag. Here's a big hug over the time and distance that separate us. Can you feel it?

Dear Dr. Kim,

I so enjoy your openness and warmth that translate from your articles. I am not an artistic gentle temperament like you are, and your method of forgiveness does not work for me. The only time I find relief from anger and unforgiveness is when I adhere to the prescription given in the Holy Bible. Forgiveness is a choice, one can forgive or live in pain. The way I forgive is by choosing too, praying for the offender, asking for their happiness and healing, and renouncing my judgments and resentment in Jesus name. I do this until my heart and thoughts toward the abuser change and I can love them more than I love my life. Well, that's my personal thoughts and experience you asked for at the end of this article.

Many blessings, you are a very appreciated,

Thank you for this article. I no longer see hurtful acts as hurtful acts. I now see them as a cry for love and protection that they never got as a child. No longer will I be hurt by these acts; instead I will be filled with compassion and understanding as to why the person behaves the way they do. Thank you Dr. Ben Kim. As usual, your newsletter has been extremely helpful. =]

Most of these comments are about fogiving someone who has hurt YOU. I have no problem with forgiving people who have hurt me. I do that every day and do not hold grudges. Where I am totally unable to forgive is when someone purposely hurts my CHILD or a family member that I love. Someone purposely and methodically went through a scheme to break up my daughter and her boyfriend. This person was very sneaky and evil in her efforts and even her mom was in on it!! These people were successful and has caused my daughter so much heartache. I am simply unable to forgive. Why is it so much different when it is my child as compared to if it was just me?? These people are now spreading lies about ME!! They hate me and my daughter so much and continue to torment us! How do you forgive someone for hurting someone you love???

When I ponder on all that the Lord Jesus Christ has forgiven me of - I can't possibly hold on to unforgiveness against another. He tells me to forgive others as He has forgiven me. That's not easy and sometimes I have to pray myself through an encounter with someone who has wronged me, but His Spirit within us will give us the strength if we will let Him.

People who have hurt me tell me that I am 'overly sensitive'. I view that as their way of justifying their behaviour because it is avoiding the impact of their behaviour on me. Maybe I am overly sensitive, but if I say, you hurt me, then surely if you care or love me, you will make some attempt to understand how you hurt me in order to know me better and avoid it happening again.

However, I think most people don't want to know, because they can't deal with facing their own short comings or the guilt they sometimes feel about their behaviour. That is the problem for me. If they cannot face the discomfort of being made aware of their own less than perfect behaviour, then I am likely to be hurt by them again.

In recent years I have been very hurt by the people closest to me who have let me down at the most traumatic time of my life. I became very bitter and angry and hated feeling that way.

Two things have helped me overcome the bitterness I felt I would never be able to shed.

Both ideas I found on the internet.

The first, 'Pray for the person who hurt you'. It shifts the focus from you being a victim, to pity for them that they have lost someone who cared deeply for them.

That was vital for me. Not feeling like a victim. I also had to accept that I will not feel the depth of care for them that I once did.

The other relates to me and how I behave. I must decide to put myself first and stop changing all my plans to accommodate selfish demands from other people, instead of caving in all the time and putting their needs first, because I love them and want to spend time with them. I am teaching them to treat me inconsiderately when I cave in all the time.

I have begun doing this and in some instances, it has led to further estrangement and seeing much less of the person concerned, but you know what? That's OK with me, because I don't want to spend time with someone who does not consider me and my needs at any time.

What I most needed was; not to feel like a victim and to take the risk that by putting myself first, I may lose some relationships and be OK with that. I am gradually losing my bitterness and hope that by this time next year, I will be leading a very happy and fulfilling life, free of bitterness and does hold us back from our future. Who wants to be around an angry bitter person and why make yourself that type of person, because of someone else's behaviour!

It's true that forgiving someone is more important for your own wellbeing than it is for the other person.But often I would feel handicapped as to how I should do it.It's easier to hold on to the past and mull over it.
You've shared a valuable tool with us.Thinking about the person's past and where his/her inconsiderate acts are stemming from would help us heal ourselves and let go.Thanks a million.

The only way,to truly forgive,is with the help of the Holy Spirit! There is not one human being that will forgive naturally. Only God can work in, and give a person a willing heart to forgive. Only when one realizes we will never measure up to God's perfect holiness, and God forgives our totally sinful selves, through Jesus Christ,(even when others may view us as most wonderful, loving people...),we have no choice but to forgive others who also don't measure up to "God's" standards. Hating and/or not forgiving a person who has hurt us, is just as wrong as the offense itself! Unforgiveness just puts one into one's own prison; unable to move anywhere, in love or joy, because the wall he/she has created by not forgiving allows absolutely NO freedom, only more pain, and loneliness! Let go...and let God!!!

Dear Dr. Kim:
The advice you give on your site and all your sources are excellent. You are better than Dear Abby. I have witnessed your coverage of all forms of health, physical, emotional, mental. This is awesome. I loved this article.

It hits home.
Thank you.

Yes, forgiving someone who has hurt us and who has caused us much pain is a difficult to do .... but it can be done. Forgiveness is a Choice - we have to make

This article was very helpful and enlighting. Once I thought about my tormentor as a toddler, I now understand the hurt he may have endured in his life before I became a part of his life. because hurt people hurt others. I really want to forgive my tormentor whom is now my ex-husband, I really want to walk forward and stop turning my back on my future. I will continue to pray for Gods guidence throughout this process.

That was truly powerful. Sometimes the gifts of people come from pain. Whether its writing,singing, dancing, etc. Pain does make you stronger when you learn how to overcome it. Forgiving people is the hardest thing in the world to do. No matter how many times you try and say "I forgive you", sometimes you still havent, and find more feelings, especially when you lock it up inside. It can take years. Some people can never fully accomplish it. I do know that if you take out the pain and face it and get it all out there, you have a better chance of getting over it and letting it go.

Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. Yes, it is hard to forgive someone who has hurt you. I have been trying for the past 2 years in forgiving techniques for my own well-being and progress in life. I am slowly learning. I wish I could use a teacher to go through this process quickly. I am using some of the techniques esp imagining my tormentor as a 3 or 4 year old. Also I am learning to forgive myself. But I have realised another truth that "When one door is shut another window is open", During the years of injustice by one person to me, I have gained other good things (relationships, career etc.). Maybe these were signs for me to move on and not to dwell on the past sorrow.

It is like I am reading my own story. I don't know why suddenly my tears started to fall...I remember my mom. Ever since I was young I always thought she hated me a lot and loved my sister more. But then as I was growing up I started realizing that I knew that she loved me more than anyone else. She cared for me a lot and showing it in a different way and I'm seeing it in a different way too. I grew up with hatred but as I realized it I thank God how precious am I to have a mother like her because I won't be me if not because of her. I love you so much mom.

I came to this site a earlier this morning with a sense of hope.
I have been holding on to resentment and deep anger (rage) for three years. The people who hurt me live in my neighborhood and I can not get away. This resentment has cost me tremendously, with my wife, kids, and my self. As I thought about the people who hurt me as kids wanting love and protection, i am able to understand and FORGIVE. I know God forgave me and that I must forgive these people. I am also going to check out Emotions Anonymus. This site has helped.... alot.

Franklin, TN

Thanks for the article. I agree that forgiveness is more benefit for the one who decides to forgive rather than the one being forgiven. The universe is made of love and we have to use love to resolve all problems and make things back to its good shape. Sometimes time will heal. I’ll remember that I won’t rush myself through it. I am just facing a sudden change of life which is about a different in expectations. The other person did not handle it very properly but I know there is responsibility lie in myself too. Right now I’m still a bit angry with him. We had been contacting long-d for half a year and I confessed my feelings over the internet. He said he felt the same too but then when we saw each other in real life. I felt that things were different. He seemed not the person I thought and I did not feel he liked me either. However, as I still wanted to try and there was still a bit of hope. I brought up the issue and he told me that he didn’t have the strong feeling. Things seem to be natural and it finally settles now. I do not have to guess. But I do not know why I am still angry with him. I do not have that feelings for him and he does not feel the same for me now. It sounds fair. So why am I still feeling angry? I should not blame him for his telling me he got feelings the other day because I did not have feelings now and I also told him I liked him. I am just not used to seeing the past fades. Anyway, after typing this, I feel more beautiful now. I got happy memory after all. ?

Every day I am filled with anger at my ex boyfriend. Throughout our relationship he had been unfaithful to me with many women and contracted HIV. He did not get tested for this and obviously did not care. He finally told me and I tested positive. I am filled with hatred and anger and feel like he must pay for his actions. But for my own peace of mind, sometimes I choose to believe that karma will come to get him. How do you fully forgive someone who supposedly loved you, but then handed you a death sentence?

My dear, I ran across your comment when I was reading an article posted by Dr. Kim. I can read your anger and understand that you are reaching out. It is horrible what your boyfriend has done. But one statement you made has stood out. And it must be addressed. You said he professed to love you. He did not love you He does not even love himself. He must be full of self-loathing, to behave in such a manner. To put his own body in jeopardy by having casual sex with virtual strangers, not to mention that he exposed you to. Even if he didn't love you, I am sure that you were good to him and if nothing else, he should have had, at the very least, a desire not to expose someone who had been so good to him. A person of integrity would not have done this to you. Integrity seems boring to many people today, but in fact, integrity is exactly what we need more of.
It is awful to say, but you cannot change what happened. But you must take your on responsibility into account. And that is the only way you can move on and heal, or take the steps you need to take in order to access the medical attention that you will need to stay alive and healthy. HIV is no longer a death sentence. You can lead a full life.
But you still have to own up to your contribution to this bad situation. If you cared about yourself, you would have waited before you got involved with this person. You would have waited long enough to find out if he had the capacity to be true to you or not.You would have waited to see if he had any integrity. You would have read the signs, that by now must be obvious, and if you think about it honestly, then you'll realize that many of them were there early on.
Many people would say that you need to forgive him so you can move on and heal. I am not an advocate of that, though I am also not an advocate of revenge. What I suggest you do is start to love yourself, take care of yourself, and never ever let anyone do that to you. Don't be so trusting. Don't let loneliness dictate your decisions. Wait for a man of integrity. And yes I believe that true love is out there for you. When you are self loving, that will attract the right man to you who will understand and will be your best advocate, and best friend.
It is not my intention to hurt your feelings. It is my intention to help you to believe that you are special, you are deserving of love, and you must be open to it, but closed to being used by people. Really take the time to get to know someone before you trust them with your most precious possessions....your heart, your soul, and your happiness. Please take care of yourself.
Michele L

Many years ago, at a Navigator's conference in Pennsylvania, I heard this definition of Forgiveness, which has never left me. It may seem a bit clinical or lacking depth, in terms of addressing the emotional, but here goes ... FORGIVENESS is a THREEFOLD Promise that:
1) I will not bring this issue up again, in my own mind, in an act of self-pity. 2) I will not bring this issue up again, to the offending person, in an act of cruelty. 3) I will not bring this issue up again, to a Third Party, in an act of gossip/slander. ... Now to unpack them a bit 1) doesn't mean you can't address it in prayer or other constructive ways, to yourself & with God. 2) doesn't mean that you & the offender don't ever discuss it, but just not in cruelty or as ammunition during a new situation. 3) doesn't mean you never speak to anyone about it, but keep it limited to ONLY those who are a part of the problem, &/or those who are a part of the solution.

I am working on this concept. My childhood consist of being placed in an orphanage at the tender age of three because my parents were financially and emotionally unable to take care of me. After a few years they forgot about me. Then I went into a foster home who used me as a house maid.

I will say I do have a wonderful life now, but I cannot say I have totally forgiven the very people who was supposed to love me unconditionally only to abandoned me. And then to have someone take full advantage of a child who has no one and use them.

I have a terrific husband and three wonderful children. And I try to put my past behind me. But I ask myself all the time how do people sleep at night when they know they have hurt someone deeply. And how does a parent put a child in an orphanage and don't come to visit. That is a mystery to me. I would die for my kids. Perhaps I will never solve the mystery!

I read your story in Dr. Kim's comments about being hurt. I was abused as a child but later as a teenager I did drugs- lsd - I had a bad trip. I was told I was no good, ugly, would never amount to anything, so I've had had resentments toward others and myself too. I've been sober 33 years in AA, but I can't let go of this deep rooted hurt and anger. Please all pray for me -this resentment is eating up.......mario, san jose, ca

I enjoyed with sadness, reading your story and I am very glad you found a peace with what you went through as a child and I am sorry. I have been hurt as a child too and with that came bad decisions as I grew to be an adult. I am older now and haved tried to move on from the pity parties I would have over how I was treated but have learned for me, that when I feel I have been so wronged, I focus on how Jesus Christ was so tormented and died for our sins and then I feel that my issues were so little in comparison...not that my issues were meaningless because some things children should never experience, but this world is cruel and have found after living a hard life in every way that God is really there and he is my only hope and peace and I feel so much better today and had to forgive myself first before moving on. Thank you and may you all find peace

Tyler's father would never have said "I love you" if Tyler hadn't spilled his guts the way he did. And then Tyler would never have spontaneously forgiven and moved into a wonderful life. The dominos effect.

There is nothing good or smart about pretending someone hasn't sh*t all over you. You do them a favour when you tell them just how you feel about their horrible treatment of you. In most cases, as in the case of Tyler's father, it also begins to change things for the oppressor, too. Our silence at severe abuse is like a plug; speak your mind, remove that plug - and you never know what will transpire!!!

The following may need to be considered:
- We need to reflect about how it came that- and when we ourselves had hurt somebody.
- There is of course always a reason for one hurting another.
- Understanding that reason may be a precondition to be able to forgive.
- To put oneself into the situation of the aggressor(s).
- Of course the most logical thing to do would be to confront the aggressors by saying something like this:
"You hurt me. You reacted inappropriately. Why did you do this? Tell me why you did this - it will help me to understand and forgive you, and thus will prevent tensions, pain and vindictive feelings."
- If the aggressors can be motivated to reflect about their inappropriate action, it may even help them to prevent to act in similar ways in the future.
- We need to communicate that we care about them and about an atmosphere free of unhealthy tensions.
- Unfortunately, in some cases, if, again for some reason, the aggressors are unable and unwilling to understand and to explain themselves, an announcement of the need for retaliation due to the reasons indicated above, or ultimately - and only if the previous steps have proven to be ineffective to resolve the issue - an appropriate retaliation may be the only way to open their eyes, to change their mind and to make them see reason.
- Our main objective needs to be, to think and learn to find long-term solutions again.

As an abused child, I carried bitterness, and anger foreward into my marriage. It has hurt others and myself so this article has certainly been a double blessing. Thank you. Jesus said to those that nailed Him to the cross in His prayer to God, "Forgive them" such a mighty example of love.

Thanks for your thoughtful article on forgiveness. I am 61 years old and still wrestling with my childhood and much of my adult life due to family issues and incidences of abuse--some of them deliberate, but many of them more like the product of what you describe in your article--done to me by people who were betrayed and forsaken in their own need as infants and children. What I have recently discovered is the rage that lay below the terror of those incidents. I have realized that the cries of an infant are experssions of their fear at what is happening, and if their needs are not met on that level, they progress on to rage at being treated thus, and then there can even be a progression on to a sort of terror of desertion, and in some instances, a final surrender brought on by exhaustion and infantile--but very real--feelings of hopelessness. I have come to regret every time I followed the experts' advice and let my first baby "cry it out." I didn't do that after the first child, and the rest of our children do not have the issues that she has had. There is more to it than that, I know, but still not recognizing the basic and perceived needs of babies and children is a key part to their growing up with underlying fear and anger that will be dealt with one way or the other. For instance, another thing I have learned is that chronic pain can be a way of the body's expressing remembered fear and rage, even trauma, that the mind is not able to consciously acknowledge. I was in my 30s and 40s before I remembered instances of rape and molestation in my childhood, but I was never able to "remember" the physical pain I felt at those times. However, my body has at last remembered, first through depression, and as my awareness increased, through back pain, leg pain and other types of chronic pain I have battled. My point is that whatever trauma we endure as children has occurred, it must be dealt with at some point or other or it will indeed be toxic to us our entire lives, perhaps bringing about the premature end of our lives through depression and/or the inflammatory response of our bodies, thus exposing us to disease.

I really want to work on my anger, resentment, bitterness, and the chip on my shoulder, but when I start thinking of the people I need to forgive, it just riles me up again. I'm reading several of these comments and I can totally understand the idea of having empathy for the pain in someone elses life that got them to the point of selfishly disregarding others. However, when I think about saying "well i forgive them because they've been hurt", I just think to myself "so it's ok that they get to act like that, but I have to pay the price?" or "well if I'm just going to justify their behavior by blaming somebody else (the hurt they endured), am I doing anything better or am I just being a sucker again and acting like the pain I endured has no blame but I still have to endure it?". And how does that benefit me? How do I benefit from saying "oh well, everybody else gets to hurt others because they've been hurt, but I just have to get shitted on and rise above". That just seems like I'm picking up the tab without eating any of the dinner. I just don't see where valuing myself comes into play if I just downplay every time somebody marginalizes me.

I understand believe me. It's been since jan 11/2006. I cannot forgive. I continue to deal with this ex spouse since we have children together. I suppose I forgive by being civil. I forgive by making sure my children have a relationship with their father. But by the same token I have been told what happened is my fault. I understand about rising above the situation; however, I am not able to lie to myself. So therefore I bypass the forgiveness factor by doing right by my children. This action is all I can take without exploding into angry bits. I took counselling immediately after; however my counsellor was focused on telling me how I felt about my ex partner. I felt like no one was listening. I was an awful person in an awful place I have healed but I am incomplete. There are some areas I simply cannot face. I feel ashamed to ask for help so many years later. Like I should be over it by now.

How To Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You? I have been through a tough time where I have to learn to accept the fact that my ex-bf has cheated on me after our 10 years relationship without marriage. I was chased out from his old house when he bought a new house and decided to start a new life with another woman whom he met less than 3 months.

I fell in love with a man whom I thought was the most kind hearted man on earth. Although he is not highly educated, he is poor and we have nothing in common. It was the kind heart I appreciate the most. Thus I chose to stay loyal in this long term relationship which led me to nowhere but heartbroken and it almost snatched my life once. I investigated and I found out all the truth by myself.

I realised the existence of God during my tough time because I believe in God. He shows me the truth behind all my doubts. All the truth surfaced just like what I prayed for. I cannot imagine how I was able to live my life if without the guidance from God.

I am a Buddhist who believes in karma. I thought all that had happened to me was a karma and I have to pay back but it hurts me to think it this way. Thus I got to know about Joel Osteen. I kept listening to all his video from youtube. I read lots of motivational books from him and some from Joyce Meyer.

I prayed a lot to God although I am not a Christian, I prayed so hard and asking God to give me the strengths to lead my life everyday. Everytime I heard a sad song or I see a sad movie my tears running down from my cheeks. It really hurts.

But now we are still friends. I should thanked him if he didn't leave me and chase me out from his life I wouldn't find God and I wouldn't have faith in God to help me through in all my difficulties. I tried to end my life but Buddhism has taught me not to as it is a sin to end our life.

Christianity taught me to stay positive and have faith in God. I am so proud to share my past experiences and I hope we all should learn to forgive and slowly learn to forget and move on with life and always have hope that a better things have yet to happen in our life.

I hope one day I can write a book about my past experiences and how I came across with all the unexplainable incidents from spiritual world that came to my rescue and that's how all the truth surfaced.

I truthfully thank God for this experience. I think everything happens for a reason. Everything happens has taught us a lesson in life that we will never forget but it will definitely make us a stronger and a better person. What does not kill you make you stronger.

Live life with hope, forgive those who have hurt us as they have taught us to be wiser and stronger. Life is a beautiful struggle but it is worth living.

Joyce from Malaysia

Forgiveness is not about healing others but ourselves. Thank you for you sharing.