THREE WORDS THAT HEAL; When you’re ready

by After Narcissistic Abuse – There is Light, Life & Love on Monday, March 19, 2012 at 11:41am ·


The parent who never praised but was quick to criticize. The unfair boss who handed out the pink slip. The spouse who was unfaithful. These are the people who inflicted hurts on us that may take years to overcome, if we ever do. We hold a grudge. We say the worst things to them – or brood over what we wish we had said. We want revenge.


Actually, the best way to feel better is the opposite of getting revenge. Saying the words “I forgive you” could be the most powerful thing you will ever do.


To forgive doesn’t mean to give in; it means to let go. Once you forgive, you are no longer emotionally handcuffed to the person who hurt you. Forgiveness extricates you from someone else’s nightmare and allows you to live in a state of grace.


If forgiveness feels so good, why do so many people lug around so much resentment ? One reason is that it may compensate for the powerlessness they experienced when they were hurt. People may feel more in charge when they are filled with anger; but forgiving instills a much greater sense of power. A rabbi who lost his family in the Holocaust said that he forgave because he chose not to bring Hitler with him to America. When you forgive, you reclaim your power to choose. It does not matter whether someone deserves forgiveness; you deserve to be free.


Another reason we may withhold forgiveness is it can feel like weakness or capitulation. Some think forgiving means saying they were wrong and someone else was right; but forgiveness is not about letting the other person off the hook. It is about pulling the knife out of your own gut. It can free the ex-wife who remains bitter towards her former spouse, the worker passed over for promotion, the relative not invited to a wedding.


In many cases the other person is not even aware of your misery, while you are turning yourself inside out with bitterness, the one who hurt you does not feel a thing.


Forgiving is good for the body as well as for the soul. Reliving past hurts over and over again is bad for your health. Simply remembering an incident that made a person angry has proved to be stressful for the heart. Negative feelings that cause stress have also been linked to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and increased susceptibility to other illnesses.


While terrible hurts may take only minutes to inflict, forgiving the perpetrator often requires some time. Initially you experience negative feelings such as anger, sadness and shame, then you try to make sense of what happened or take mitigating circumstances in to account.


Ultimately you learn to see the person who hurt you through new eyes. With greater perspective, the hurter becomes one who was flawed, weak, sick or ignorant.


Some people never reach the final stages of forgiveness. Those hurt in childhood by people who they loved and trusted may find the process particularly difficult. Yet, even partial forgiveness can be beneficial.


If you want to move toward a future of forgiving but don’t know how to start, follow these suggestions:



*** PRACTICE ON SMALL HURTS: Forgiving the slights inflicted by strangers – the clerk who shortchanges you or the driver who cuts you off – prepares you for the tougher task of forgiving major hurts.

*** FREE YOURSELF OF BAD FEELINGS: Vent your anger or disappointment with a trusted friend or counselor. This allows you the strengthening experience of being heard. You can let go of your feelings without the danger of saying or doing anything you will regret later. Anger releasing strategies, such as punching a pillow, can help. If you are not so much angry as sad, keep a journal. By all means avoid negative expressions of anger such as driving recklessly, slamming doors or breaking things.

*** WRITE A LETTER TO THE PERSON WHO HURT YOU: Spell out the truth of what happened as you experienced it, without blaming or judging. Use “I” statements: “I feel _____. I don’t understand ______.” Describe the impact the person’s behavior had on you, and express your desire to hear his or her feelings and get the issue resolved. Should you mail it ? If there is a chance for good, send it. If the person who caused your hurt is dead, however, or incapable to listening to what you have to say, some counselors suggest burning the letter, a symbolic way of letting anger go up in smoke.

*** DON’T FEEL CONFRONTATION IS NECESSARY: In cases of incest, assault and other criminal acts, victims may avoid forgiving the perpetrator because a confrontation is not safe. In fact, you need not face that person at all. Forgiveness can occur without anyone else’s involvement or awareness. The people you forgive may never realize they wronged you or never know you forgave them. They may be alcoholics who can not hear what you are trying to say. They may deny everything. What is important is that you let go of your anger.

*** MEDITATE OR PRAY: To err is human, to forgive divine. Turn to your spirituality or faith. The act of forgiving may be more than any of us can manage on our own.

*** DON’T THINK FORGIVING MEANS FORGETTING: It doesn’t. We can not forget hurts, nor should we. Those experiences teach us not to be victimized again and about not victimizing others.

*** LOOK FORWARD IN TIME: By peering into the future, you can benefit from the perspective time brings without having to wait years achieve it. Consider the two sisters who bickered over the care of their ailing mother. The sister living close by resented being burdened with her mom’s day-to-day care while the distant sister just sent checks. Finally the angry sister asked herself what she really wanted in the long run. The answer was “I want to have a good relationship with my sister. The only I could do that was to let go of my anger and forgive her.” Today they can discuss their mother without exchanging hurtful words. and the distant sister is more willing to telephone doctors and participate in decision-making.

Forgiveness leads to inner peace. Once you have forgiven you will laugh more, feel more deeply, become more connected to others. And the good feelings you generate will pave the way to even greater healing.

  1. My narc was not a boyfriend or a lover – it was a friend. I am still infuriated and I don’t know how I’m supposed to forgive him?
    He’s coercive and manipulative and best, and rapey at worst. I don’t know where to start, but he’s training for a job which will have him travel across the country and I’m terrified to think of what he will do to other girls around the country behind his current girlfriend’s back. (Also they started their sexual relationship before she hit the legal age of consent – and he’s 8 years older than her.)


  2. This is information I need!!!
    Thank you so much!!!

    I am a single Mom of three young boys who have a narc ‘dad’ they do not see , he ignores their existence.

    I finally after a little over a year felt ‘strong’ enough to go out and meet someone……. It took eight months , but I know for sure, he is a narc as well, and far more sick than the first!! I can’t believe this!!!
    He is a poet in the ‘love and light ‘ arena and I can’t even describe the emotionally mangled wreck I am.
    Getting back to me, slowly but surely . It’s a good thing I’ve had my heart broken a couple times bc I may not if made a recovery so quickly. I figured things out and he resented the Hell out if me , he had nothing to cling on to except to tell me I hadn’t leveled up spiritually or healed to his level!!! I was in pain physically (born with degenerative back) he went so far as to say he brought on pain bc he is such an enlightened being …omg! If I got a site throat, it was bc his energy was drawing out my pain… This guy is something I tell you… It goes on and on. You wouldn’t believe the stuff!!! I could write a book !!! Everyday it was something. He didn’t even do yoga or meditate come to find out and isn’t a vegan, nope, he just started getting high all day and eating oreo ice cream and Taco Bell!!! He picked at all of his friends and finally I realized he has a problem. I am terrified at what he really does as he takes lots if time to ‘spiritually wouldN’t himself, I honestly think he smokes Method and buys hookers… Not even kidding!!! I don’t want to know… And the scary part is he moved to my state and lives three miles away and works with a mutual friend . He has slithered his way into making friends with several of my friends and they think he us wonderful!!! I see them adoring his poetry it is sickening!!!


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