Forgiveness Not Likely

I-hate-you-this-much

Well, not really. But I surely don’t forgive you.

I have a confession to make — I’m terrible at forgiving. Actually, I’m the Queen of Unforgiveness. The likelihood of me forgiving someone who has wronged me is very close to none, and II regularly hold grudges for years. It’s not that I purposely try not to forgive (or forget) wrongdoings, it’s just that I can’t. It seems that I’m simply not capable of forgiveness, in any real sense.

Now before you start wondering if you’ve ever done something wrong to me, I’ll add that it takes a bit of work for me to reach the point of not forgiving.  Some say three strikes and you’re out, but I probably give many more chances than that. A person would have to make a concerted effort to bother me enough to reach the point of being “out”. In fact that’s probably part of the reason I rarely forgive people — if someone has reached that point, the way I see it, they don’t deserve forgiveness.

Another reason I don’t and won’t forgive is that I simply don’t see how it would benefit anyone. I’ve observed that few of the people I’ve not forgiven have any wish to be forgiven by me– they don’t care. They don’t apologize, and usually believe they were somehow justified in what they did. This makes it even harder to feel the need to forgive them. And I wonder: can you actually forgive someone who is not sorry?

I know it’s commonly believed that holding a grudge only hurts you.  Maybe it does — if you constantly think about how you were wronged. But if you don’t think about it often it simply is. When or if you must face the person or situation again, the resentment might arise, but if in your daily life you don’t dwell on it, why let go? Grudges are rarely in the forefront of my mind, so they don’t hurt me.

Yet however my many reasons not to forgive, I still believe that forgiveness is theoretically a good thing. So I try to forgive, on a regular basis. But I can’t. Each time I think of forgiving, I remember what happened, and something in me says, “No, never.” Having a long memory works against forgiveness — I can’t forget a thing, so I can’t forgive. But maybe a person can only keep so much resentment in the back of their mind before space runs out and it becomes an issue for them. So I try to understand forgiveness and learn to forgive.

Does anyone else have trouble forgiving? Or have tips on how to forgive?

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20 thoughts on “Forgiveness Not Likely

  1. I think folks get hung up on forgiving because it feels like the person gets a free pass for doing you wrong. Instead of saying to yourself (or X) “I forgive you” say “I am now clear that we should part company”. That way you get the closure you need, which is the reason that counselors tell you do to it in the first place.

    I for one feel that there are things you don’t say to me, and lines you don’t cross with me. I am definitely capable of forgiveness, but when I’m not interested in forgiving someone, I have no problem with it.

  2. If you forgive, you are actually giving them a chance to hurt you once more….and that again is like- NO, Never !!!
    Better hold the grudge than forgive, that’s what I believe 🙂

  3. Sherry,

    ‘I think folks get hung up on forgiving because it feels like the person gets a free pass for doing you wrong. Instead of saying to yourself (or X) “I forgive you” say “I am now clear that we should part company”.’

    That sounds like a good strategy, really good. Although I can be clear about parting ways, and still not forgive. 😉

    “I for one feel that there are things you don’t say to me, and lines you don’t cross with me. I am definitely capable of forgiveness, but when I’m not interested in forgiving someone, I have no problem with it.”

    That is how I used to be, and sometimes still am — the not forgiving and not caring part. I’m just like “Whatever, see ya never.”

    Hi shimme,

    “If you forgive, you are actually giving them a chance to hurt you once more….and that again is like- NO, Never !!!
    Better hold the grudge than forgive, that’s what I believe”

    Lol, high-five! I see someone is like me in this aspect. I feel less alone. 😛

  4. This post is me to the letter. I am not good at forgiveness. I’ve come a long way in this but only in the feeling resentment part. When I let go of the person the resentment goes as well. It may seem cold but if someone has wronged me then I can just cut them out of my life like they never existed. I don’t have time to waste thinking about or feeling anything for people who don’t deserve it. I have too many amazing people in my life for that. Like you, I still think forgiveness is a good thing and I try to do it but I’m honest with myself and if I know it’s not going to happen no use in beating myself up over it.

  5. wanderlust,

    “When I let go of the person the resentment goes as well. It may seem cold but if someone has wronged me then I can just cut them out of my life like they never existed. I don’t have time to waste thinking about or feeling anything for people who don’t deserve it.”

    I can sometimes cross people out totally, but other times not. I don’t think about them all the time, but depending on how close we were, it may be hard to just drop them. I think it’s the memory thing — can’t forget.

    “Like you, I still think forgiveness is a good thing and I try to do it but I’m honest with myself and if I know it’s not going to happen no use in beating myself up over it.”

    I may reach that point one day. I’ve tried very hard at this, yet I still can’t get myself to forgive.

  6. I’m like you Alee. I don’t forgive easily. Now, I can move on with my life and even smile and be cordial when I see you again (you, being the person who wronged me), but you’re not forgiven. I just choose not to let your presence affect me.

    Also, like Wanderlust, I’m the type that easily cuts people out of my life like they never existed… particularly exes. (I’m more lenient with past female friends.) I think that’s why I’ve never been one to be in lengthy break-up/make-up periods with men (actually, not even short ones). If you wrong me, you’re gone. Don’t call, don’t write, don’t text, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200. It’s over.

    I like that I’ve always been able to move on like that. (Although there’s a part of me that would love to see some of these folks when I’m out and about with DH… tee hee.)

  7. LOL :), I agree with all of you…..

    I tried the forgiveness thing but it didn’t work out for me. Sometimes people made me feel bad for the way I felt, they would say “you are cruel or you giving that person the power over you” but that didn’t help me one bit….

    I decided to listen to myself, because I know myself best, I’m a very nice person and I give people a long wire but there are boundaries and things that someone doesn’t cross with me or else, I will cut all ties and it’s easy for me to do so…..

    I don’t like people who take advantage of my niceness and think I’m stupid…

    I respect others and I try so hard not to do something that would seem like I’m crossing their boundaries, so I expect others to do so..

    If I tell someone “I don’t like what you doing” and they laugh it of but still carry on, I cut all ties, that just shows me that person doesn’t respect nor care about me…..I move on

    Someone who cares about you would respect your boundaries and make sure not to cross them, so why should I keep people who don’t respect my boundaries……I don’t care If I appear weak or a coward….

  8. I don’t have this problem. In most of the cases, I can forgive way too easily. Not sure why.

    One of the reasons might be that it makes me feel bad, very bad, so it’s easier for me to forgive. Which basically makes this whole thing selfish in a way, because it seems like I’m doing it for myself.

    In other situations… I am one of those people who don’t know how to behave, and whose lack of tact and social awkwardness is a bad combination. A combination that can make you say the wrong thing, hurt the person or do something stupid. Most of the time, I don’t do it on purpose, so when I see people are ready to forget about me after such a mistake or never to forgive me, well, it makes me sad. This is why I try not to do the same thing to others.

    There are a few examples, though, where it was nearly impossible for me to forgive.

  9. Bunny,

    “Also, like Wanderlust, I’m the type that easily cuts people out of my life like they never existed… particularly exes. (I’m more lenient with past female friends.)”

    I’m not lenient with either, depending on how the relationship ended. But they tend to end badly. With female friends, I really just expect better. If I call you a friend, then I expect you not to purposely try to harm me.

    “If you wrong me, you’re gone. Don’t call, don’t write, don’t text, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200. It’s over.”

    You may even be worse than me! Lol. I’ll read the texts and messages, I just won’t respond to them, except to say something like, “whatever.” 🙂

    “Although there’s a part of me that would love to see some of these folks when I’m out and about with DH… tee hee.”

    I know! I would love to see ex-boyfriends when I’m with my new boyfriend, but it rarely happens.

    I’m contemplating accepting Facebook friend requests from two of my ex-boyfriends (after a year that they’ve been there, I think…), not because I forgive them, but just so they can see how well I’m doing without them.

  10. mkhululie,

    “LOL 🙂 , I agree with all of you…”

    Surprise, surprise! 😉

    “Sometimes people made me feel bad for the way I felt, they would say “you are cruel or you giving that person the power over you” but that didn’t help me one bit….”

    Yes, people tend to think you’re stone-hearted and mean if you don’t forgive others after a period of time. They expect you to be angry for weeks, maybe months, but when it gets to years, they start acting like something is wrong with you. Oftentimes with me it’s the people I don’t forgive that act like that (not that they are sorry anyway).

    “I respect others and I try so hard not to do something that would seem like I’m crossing their boundaries, so I expect others to do so..”

    Exactly. There are just boundaries you don’t cross, and I try to treat others like I would have them treat me.

    Mira,

    “I don’t have this problem. In most of the cases, I can forgive way too easily. Not sure why.

    One of the reasons might be that it makes me feel bad, very bad, so it’s easier for me to forgive.”

    I forgive easily the first and second mistake, and forgive slowly with the third mistake. When it gets to the fifth and sixth it’s just no, I can’t. It shows a pattern of misbehavior that I can’t live with.

    I will feel bad (once in a blue moon…), but that doesn’t make me forgive the person. All I have to do is remember what happened and my mind and heart locks up again.

  11. Of the topic a little, I want to thank everyone who participates on this blog(Alee, Mira, Wanderlust) all of you guys.You guys have changed my life, I get excited about the next topic or your comments. Here, I feel listened to and that is very rare in my AFK life(Away From Keyboard). LOL 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I’ve learnt sooo much from you guys and I appreciate you all or your contributions.

    Don’t worry this is not a suicidal note(he he he he), I’m just feeling grateful……

  12. mkhululie, I’m grateful to the participators as well. I know I haven’t been doing my part in participating (i.e. adding posts and responses in a timely fashion), but I’m working on it. I do read all the comments that are published though, and I mean allll of them, so I’m listening. 🙂

  13. mkhululie,

    I feel guilty now, because I just didn’t have time for commenting int he past weeks. But yes, I love Alee’s blog and I love reading her posts and comments people write. It’s nice to have a great online place to meet people (yes, I sound pathetic).

  14. Mkhululie, such kind words and likewise for you and regular contributors. I agree that this blog out of a lot that I read has really great comments and makes me contemplate things in way I may not have before. Alee no worries, inspiration to write regularly on a blog comes and goes. I remember one year having a huge break, so do it on your time but know that yes we are here and ready to read 🙂

  15. Mira,

    Yes, you need to get on the ball! You’re slacking.

    Just joking. 😉

    “It’s nice to have a great online place to meet people (yes, I sound pathetic).”

    You don’t sound pathetic. Meeting people online is great, just like meeting people offline is great.

    wanderlust,

    Thanks for your patience with me. 🙂

    I’m glad everyone likes the blog — really glad.

  16. Alee,

    I think with the female friends, our “beef” usually ended up being trivial or silly, and then as we’ve matured, the behavior has been different. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never had a female friend truly cross or betray me… which is why it’s been much easier to forgive. This is why I can’t understand those women who brag about not having female friends and only having male friends… usually though, those women are typically the most drama filled anyway and it’s no wonder they don’t usually have many female friends. (I know, that’s a whole other topic… didn’t you write on that once?)

    Now men on the other hand… if they’re male platonic friends, I treat them like my female friends. I have a whole different standard for men I’ve dated. I don’t know what it is, but maybe because I’ve felt that if we’ve dated (even just casually like going to dinner and hanging out here and there), you’ve received a special type of access to me that most people don’t get. (Don’t read into that too much, lol). I’m making special time for you and I might not know you all that well, or I’m becoming more vulnerable in getting to know you and letting my guard down around you, etc…. so if you betray that, you get no second chances!

    You may even be worse than me! Lol. I’ll read the texts and messages, I just won’t respond to them, except to say something like, “whatever.” 🙂
    I’ve actually called the phone company (or gone online) to block those guy’s numbers/email accounts… because I’ve usually told them to stop contacting me, so if they do it again, they’ve officially crossed my line!

    I’m contemplating accepting Facebook friend requests from two of my ex-boyfriends (after a year that they’ve been there, I think…), not because I forgive them, but just so they can see how well I’m doing without them.
    Ooh ooh, do it! As I mentioned to you before, there’s nothing I love better than the “check in” from the ex… and then you can say, “hey, thanks for the offer, but I’m engaged/married/pregnant now, so hey, sorry!” Tee hee!

  17. Bunny,

    “I can’t understand those women who brag about not having female friends and only having male friends… usually though, those women are typically the most drama filled anyway and it’s no wonder they don’t usually have many female friends. (I know, that’s a whole other topic… didn’t you write on that once?)”

    Oh yes. And all the no-female-friend-having women booed it, of course.

    “I have a whole different standard for men I’ve dated…I’m making special time for you and I might not know you all that well, or I’m becoming more vulnerable in getting to know you and letting my guard down around you, etc…. so if you betray that, you get no second chances!”

    Right. I think it’s particularly hurtful when you’ve opened up to someone, made yourself vulnerable with them, and then they betray you. It’s just like, “Why? What is so wrong with you?” I simply don’t get it and having to think about it builds pressure in my temples so I’ll just not.

    “Ooh ooh, do it! As I mentioned to you before, there’s nothing I love better than the “check in” from the ex… and then you can say, “hey, thanks for the offer, but I’m engaged/married/pregnant now, so hey, sorry!” Tee hee!”

    LOL. Can’t wait until I’m married and preggers. That would be the shock of the century for them. I’d be quite pleased with myself. 🙂

  18. The solution is to just let go. Everything is in your head and you’re only making things worse for YOU. Very few people actually change when you call them out on something. So after you do it, just let go, you have no power over them anyways…

  19. Io,

    That sounds so reasonable in theory. Yet it’s nearly impossible to do for people who have trouble forgiving! I just don’t forget anything someone’s ever said or done, so once in a blue moon, I’ll remember.

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