How To Forgive Someone Who Traumatized You
It is quite common for people to say that in order to move on, you should try to forgive.
Though when it comes to forgiving someone who traumatized you, it can seem overwhelming.
It’s understandable why you might feel this way. After all, the person who hurt you was a part of your life and they had a lot of control over your emotions.
They were able to make you feel things that you didn’t want to feel.
This makes it difficult to trust anyone again.
However, if you are ready to let go of the past, then there are some steps that you need to take.
You will be surprised how much easier it becomes once you get started.
If you are interested in working on how to forgive someone who traumatized you then you’ve come to the right place.
We have put together a few tips in this guide to get you started on your journey on how to forgive someone who traumatized you.
Forgiving Them Does Not Mean Excusing It
The first important thing to remember when you are trying to forgive those who have traumatized you is that forgiveness does not mean excusing what happened.
Forgiveness means letting go of anger or resentment towards them. It doesn’t mean condoning their actions.
It doesn’t mean that you have to forget what they have done.
Instead, forgiveness is about you. It is about allowing yourself to live your life without holding onto any negativity.
In other words, it is about moving forward with your life. If you find it hard to forgive someone who has hurt you, then you may want to consider talking to a therapist.
A good therapist can help you understand why you hold on to certain feelings so tightly.
Once you do this, you will be better equipped to deal with these issues in the future.
Forgiving someone is sometimes about acceptance. It helps you to accept what happened to you so you can work on how to let go of the pain.
You can try by saying things such as acknowledging that this person traumatized you.
It is important that you think about what forgiveness means for you. Forgiveness could mean you let go of wanting to take revenge.
Accept That It Takes Time
Another important thing to keep in mind when you are trying to move on from something traumatic is that it takes time.
There is no set timeline for healing. Healing is an ongoing process.
The sooner you start, the more likely you are to heal quickly.
However, even though it may take time, you don’t have to wait until everything is perfect before you begin to heal.
You can start today. You can start by taking small steps toward forgiveness.
Start by not setting high expectations of yourself during this time of your life.
Write Down Your Thoughts
When it comes to forgiving someone who has traumatized you, it is important that you are able to clearly collect your thoughts and feelings.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you to organize your thoughts.
By writing down your thoughts, you are helping yourself to stay focused.
When you write down your thoughts, you will also be able to see patterns in your thinking.
These patterns can help you to identify where you are struggling with forgiving someone.
When you write down your thoughts and feelings, you may find it easier to let them go.
This is because instead of keeping them bottled up inside you, there was an outlet for these feelings.
Writing things down can allow you to see things clearly and allow you to reflect.
Talk It Out
It is also helpful to talk to people who have been through similar situations.
Talking to others who have gone through similar experiences can help you to gain insight into how you should handle the situation.
You may feel like you are alone in dealing with the trauma you experienced.
However, if you talk to others who have dealt with similar situations, you will learn that you aren’t alone.
They may give you advice on how you can work towards forgiving the person or people who traumatized you.
Empathize If Possible
Empathy is an important thing that helps us to understand others. Sometimes if you find a way to empathize with those who have traumatized you, it might be easier for you to forgive.
However, this is dependent on your specific situation.
Some people’s actions might not make it impossible to empathize with them, which is completely fine.
Remember that when you are empathizing with them, you are not excusing what they did to you.
For example, if someone suffers from addiction, they may do terrible things to others.
Their addiction is by no means an excuse for accepting what they did to you.
Instead, it is something you can look at and empathize with and see things from their perspectives. This can help you to let go and forgive them.
We really want to emphasize that if it is not possible to empathize with them, then don’t force yourself to.
Decide Whether You Want To Talk To Them
People often find it easier to forgive someone by having a conversation with them. This could be as a way to express your feelings or as a way to get closure.
If you decide to talk to them about the situation, remember that you are not obligated to tell them that you forgive them.
You can also choose whether to forgive them. If you decide to talk to the person then you may want to prepare what you are going to say to them beforehand.
When it comes to deciding whether you should talk to the person to tell them you forgive them, there are some things you may want to consider.
If talking to the person would cause you more stress and upset, then you don’t need to reach out to tell them you’ve forgiven them.
Put Yourself First
When you are able to forgive someone who has traumatized you, it is important that you are still putting yourself first.
What we mean by this is setting boundaries for yourself. Just because you have forgiven someone, doesn’t mean you have to include them in your life if you don’t want to.
Your forgiveness is about allowing you to be free from them. It doesn’t have to be to make amends with them.
You might be in a situation where they severely traumatized you. In these cases, it might be better to keep them out of your life.
This journey to forgiveness is not about making them feel better, it is about how you feel.
Seek Professional Help
If you are really struggling to forgive someone who traumatized you, then it might be time to seek professional help from a mental health specialist.
It might help you find a way to move on without having to forgive that person.
There are other ways of overcoming trauma and being able to let go of it, without forgiving the person responsible.
If you are intent on finding a way to forgive them, then speaking to a professional can help you with your specific case.
They will be able to review what it is you went through and give you specific advice relating to your case only.
This might make your journey to forgiveness a bit easier for you.
Forgiveness is one of those things that people struggle with. It’s hard to forgive someone who has hurt us. We all know that feeling. However, it is possible to overcome it.
The key is to allow yourself to forgive them. Don’t try to force yourself to do so.
Allow yourself to heal and move forward. You may find that forgiveness comes easier when you are not completely focusing on it.
Instead, working on making yourself happier might allow you to let go of any negative emotions and forgive the person who traumatized you.
We hope that this guide has helped you on your journey to forgiving someone who has hurt you.
Hopefully, you feel more comfortable and confident in starting this journey and feel prepared to begin to forgive.
If you found this guide useful, please share it with others who might also benefit from reading it. Thank you for reading!
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: February 28, 2024