How do I forgive another person?

I feel like I am caught in a quandary that has pretty much immobilized me and prevented me from moving on with my life.

I have been extremely angry with a person for some hurtful things he said and did shortly after the death of someone important to both of us several years ago. Other people involved in the situation agree that this person was wrong, even cruel. At the time I tried to make amends, but this person's attitude made that impossible. Eventually I stopped communicating with him because I just couldn't deal with him and needed to focus on myself.

However, distancing myself did not bring peace. Instead, I have found myself struggling with a sense of guilt and shame over the collapse of our relationship. I have almost irrational feelings that I should be a better person, that I am the bad person in this situation, that I don't deserve to enjoy life or be happy. Mind you, people who know me would be surprised to hear this as I keep it to myself. I am able to make it through the day at work and enjoy time with friends, but the instant I go through my front door I feel the weight of the world crushing down on me.

Much of the problem is that this person is a narcissist. True reconciliation would be impossible because there is no such thing as a two-way street in his mind. If I were to tell him I forgave him, he would act like he didn't know what I was talking about. After all, he could never admit to himself, let alone anyone else, that he had ever done anything wrong. Likewise, he would never forgive another person because that would mean admitting the other person actually affected him.

Another part of the problem is that this person is getting on in years and is ill. From all reports, his illness has not changed his personality or attitude. If anything, it has made him worse. Nevertheless, I dread thinking about how I would feel if I didn't forgive him before he died.

How do I go about forgiving this person and relieving myself of this burden when, every time I think about it, I become so angry? Is forgiveness a thing of the heart? Or must I tell him I forgive him in order to truly forgive him?

10 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Are you sure that this is the issue that's making you desperately un-happy? Anyway, I think forgiveness is a matter of the heart. You don't have to tell the person you forgive them, it doesn't sound like he'd much care anyways. Although, if you think you'd have regrets if this person died, you should send a note or card, expressing your feelings and forgiveness.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    My friend u and i are in the same boat. But the fact that u made an EFFORT counts.If the other person is showing u an attitude, then so be it.You don't have to feel gulity about the collapse of this relationship, at least u can say that u gave it your best shot. Go on, move on, there will be many more friends that u will come through. At least u know in ur heart that you had tried your very best, but if people don't want to change, there's nothing much that u and i can do about it. I think some people just don't have a heart to forgive and forget, their pride and ego just makes it impossible for them to learn to forget.

    Move on my friend, stop feeling gulity on urself, u haven't done any wrong, that's what i tell myself!

    I hope this makes a difference..

  • 1 decade ago

    Wow! Personally, I feel that you don't necessarily have to tell the other person that you forgive them. After all - in some instances, it is not easy to even get to that person.

    You could try and say "This isn't easy for me, but I need you to hear this" or write a letter -- their choice if they read it or not.

    Look to your heart and when the time is right, you can forgive.

    I was in a different situation, but yes, it was hard to forgive and move on. A friend had the most simple solution.... and it worked...

    Put the feelings in a bubble and blow it away... just let it float off into the wind.

    May you find peace.

  • 1 decade ago

    U can just forgive , that doesn't mean u have to be friends or hangout with this person. Plus u did say that u tried, u can ry to be strong, don't give him ur power, forgive and move on, forget him, just let go and u will feel better( he's the one whos' gonna suffer) so let him suffer alone. U can tell him u forgive him that way he will feel bad because he knows now that he has no power over u anymore. It's not always easy to forgive that why u have to be strong. So forgive and move on, don't hangout with him, don't do anything for him, if he comes around smile and kill him with kindest. If the others say he coming around u can either saty or go becasue like I said u don't have to hangout with him or around him. just excuse urself and say by with a smile.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Wow!!! Your story sounds familiar........let me just tell you what I did...a sort of example for you, because when it comes down to it, it will be your decision on how you want to handle the matter at hand.....So after 6 years I wanted to get in contact of some really special friends who when we parted we were all in bad terms.......(they are twin sisters!!!) I sat down and wrote a 3 page letter about how I felt from the heart(because in writing, your self tends to be more honest!!) and how we should look past the "Past" and start looking towards the future with a healthy relationship, then I gave them the opportunity to call or write back, but any way you look at it the ball is in their court! I also stated on the letter how important it was for me to know exactly how I felt because I had forgiven them and was willing to forget to move on, but at the same time understood that they would have to choose their decision.....BUT I noted that this would be the last attempt and if I were to leave this Earth tomorrow I would know that I had a clear conscious because I wanted reconciliation for all of basically just put it in writing ( a nice card with a really good letter); this is great because they have the opportunity to revisit it down the road, and one day when they do read it again they will realize that it was THEIR pride that stood in the way for reconciliation!!! BEST OF LUCK!!!!!

  • 1 decade ago

    I think that you need to resolve this for your own good. Going about it is not easy, obviously. First you need to let it go and do the best you can in asking his forgiveness, whether or not he accepts it, it is no longer on your hands. You do your part, you can't make anyone accept your forgiveness. Just know that you are no longer guilty of keeping it to yourself. It is only hurting you and will be with you for the rest of your life until you lay it down and walk away.

    Hope you feel better about this soon, no one should carry this guilt on their shoulders for very long. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

  • When you can truly let go of the anger they have caused you it will be a Godsend. Don't let the anger consume you. You don't have to physically tell the person you forgive them. You have to be strong and let your anger go so you can move forward, It is very hard when people hurt us and it can consume you and your life for many years and be a thorn in your side! every on makes mistakes and many cannot ever admit them. Just let go of your anger, they are controlling your life now. I tried to find a good example in the bible but I don't have too long. It is hard and confusing. Just release it. you don't have to say it to them, say it out loud in your room. But mean it. Talk to a pastor or look up forgiving in the Bible.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You needn't have that person in your life to forgive, it comes within yourself. It takes time, when you are ready pray hard to God, release the anger, hit a pillow, scream out and realize anger and resentment can only hurt you. You cannot change anyone else, control what they do. They will have to come to terms with their behavior in their own time. Do not let someone else control your life or emotions to that degree. Stand tall, proud and realize you are the better person, but release the anger. You don't have to forget, just will literally set you free!!!!!

  • 1 decade ago

    Tell him anyways. Although he may act like he doesn't know what you're talking aobut, he does. As long as you forgive him and he knows, that should take some weight off your shoulders.

    By telling him, you have left the ball in his court and its up to him to be a man and accept the apology.

  • 1 decade ago

    In order for you to not have a heavy heart or guilty feeling you need to forgive him and truely mean it, and move on. Sometimes in life for our own health and mind we need to remove certain people from our lives, and forgiving them and moving on is one way, and it will free you if you truely forgive him.

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