How Do You Forgive Someone Who Isn't Sorry?


Imagine a good friend gossiping about you to someone else and sharing something very personal; you're hurt that she broke your confidence. However, she says you never told her not to tell, so you shouldn't be mad! Or imagine a husband having what a wife calls an emotional affair. She feels disrespected and feels like he cheated on her, but he insists he never cheated so he has nothing to be sorry for! What about a family member who is an alcoholic and humiliated you by ruining a party or gathering and doesn't apologize because he or she doesn't even remember!

These few scenarios represent only a few examples of the difficulties we face in trying to forgive and move on. Others might feel it's no big deal, yet you are left reeling in pain. What do you do?

Why forgive someone who doesn't want or need to be forgiven?

Your Pain—You want to release your own pain and turmoil you feel as a result of feeling jaded, hurt, angry, foolish, dismissed, tossed aside, humiliated or disregarded.

Your health—Research also shows that people who hold onto chronic unforgiveness experience long-term stress, which affects your immune system, making it more difficult to fight off disease. Harmful thoughts have negative health ramifications. (For more information on forgiveness research see Forgiveness: Heal Your Past and Find the Peace You Deserve)

Your Peace—When you release the need to punish someone else, to be in control of the right/wrongness of the world, or to control how other's treat and respond to you, there is an inner peace. Forgiveness allows you to let go, not take things as personally and find true acceptance, even in the midst of chaos or trauma.

Forgiveness is not about condoning what the other person did, nor is it about being a doormat for continual abuse or poor treatment. It is 100 percent about giving up your "poor me" story. More importantly, it is about choosing to become responsible for your own happiness, rather than leaving the control over your happiness with the person who hurt you. 

If you want to live a life where continual anger, resentment, hurt or holding onto bad feelings or thoughts no longer control you, forgiveness is your get-out-of-pain-free card.

Lori S. Rubenstein, JD, PCC spent 18 years as a divorce attorney-mediator, however, her passion for helping others led her down the path of divorce, relationship and forgiveness coaching. She is the author of three transformational books and has a special gift of holding sacred space for people to transcend their “stories” and step into a new, more empowering life. Contact Lori now to set up a 15 minute consultation to learn how you can start to mend your own relationship hurts

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