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Dr. Irene Little, PsyD., MS, MA, LMFT-S, LCDC

Irene Little

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist- Supervisor |
CEO and Clinical Director, Access Counseling Group

We know that forgiveness is really about our own emotional well-being. Some people are too sick or too hurt themselves to even understand that what they have done is hurtful.

I work with people who have been hurt deeply by words said to and about them, or by being left behind or forgotten by people who promised to love them. The emotional wounds are deep, painful, and long-lasting. Some people are no longer alive or it is not safe to confront some people to even explore if the person is willing to ask for forgiveness.

Understand the reason behind the action

The suggestions I give on this topic come after helping the individual understand why people hurt us emotionally. It is important to realize that Hurt People, Hurt People. This could be from their own past issues of hurt, abuse, and learning within their own family system.

It can really help to understand that although the person who hurt you was in control of their own actions, and although it feels personal, it may not be.

A person may say and do things only because they learned the bad behavior in their own dysfunctional family. The goal is to understand how to see the hurt that was thrust upon us as not being about us as a person but about the hurt inside of the person who created the hurt.

Understand the reason behind the action

The suggestions I give on this topic come after helping the individual understand why people hurt us emotionally. It is important to realize that Hurt People, Hurt People. This could be from their own past issues of hurt, abuse, and learning within their own family system.

It can really help to understand that although the person who hurt you was in control of their own actions, and although it feels personal, it may not be.

A person may say and do things only because they learned the bad behavior in their own dysfunctional family. The goal is to understand how to see the hurt that was thrust upon us as not being about us as a person but about the hurt inside of the person who created the hurt.

Internalizing and believing negative messaging about the hurtful actions exacerbates the pain, thinking it must have been something I did or that I somehow deserved to be mistreated makes it hard to forgive. Once we have de-personalized it, then we can begin to focus on letting go of the pain.

I heard the word ‘forgiveness’ means ‘to cancel a debt’. This is such a freeing way to look at forgiveness because now, whether the person asks for it or not, I on my own accord can ‘cancel the debt’ and choose to no longer require that I hear an apology or see changed behavior. And this puts me back in control and with that, I receive the best gift of all – serenity!

https://upjourney.com/how-to-forgive-someone-who-hurt-you-emotionally