Your Guide To Doctors, Health Information, and Better Health!
Your Health Magazine Logo
The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Robert A. Fontana, L.C.S.W
Robert A. Fontana Marriage Therapist


There has been much written about forgiveness. The topic frequently asks us to consider questions like, “When is it appropriate to forgive, or when it is unnecessary?” How do we forgive someone who is dead, how to forgive yourself, or how can we forgive without minimizing the offense? All of these concerns are very important and should be taken seriously. Forgiveness is often a way we come to terms with some very deep hurts and helps us to move forward.

Initially, when we chose to forgive, a feeling of relief and resolve often occurs. Yet over time the memory of the hurtfulness may reoccur. Some would interpret this as a failure of forgiveness, that somehow the forgiving was inadequate if your hurt still periodically prevails.

You may question if there is more to resolve and may feel back where you started. Sometimes this is an accurate assessment if you rushed into forgiving the one who hurt you without an in-depth assessment of the benefits to you some things cannot be forgiven.

But, even in cases where the offender was truly remorseful and forgiveness was appropriate there will be times the unpredictability of our vulnerable emotions may continue to exist even after we have decided to forgive. This is not an indicator of an inadequate act of forgiveness but rather a reminder to revisit the comforting power of your decision.

Forgiveness reminds us of our grief. The pain you were subjected to and how it left you different. How your innocence may have been altered as you were forced by another into accommodating an unwanted and unprepared for experience. Even when the apologies have been convincing in their sincerity, our forgiveness cannot always buffer us from feeling these losses.

Anger will victimize you again when this grief is not recognized or acknowledged. If someone you once admired and love dearly betrayed you either through infidelity, abuse or some other cruel treatment, there is a part of yourself that naturally resists the required accommodation of that complex memory even when the offender has humbled him or herself and you have forgiven them.

Periodically experiencing your loss, grief and your hurt does not mean the offense has not been forgiven. Those feelings are normal and a reminder to accept that our forgiveness is not just a gift to the one who hurt you but also a gift to yourself to help you to live more peacefully with your memory.

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130