A Counterintuitive Approach to Narcissism: Empathy, Forgiveness, or Something Else?
Forgiving does not mean forgetting what happened. But coming to a place of forgiving can allow us to remember the incident without being at the mercy of our own anger, pain, anxiety and rage about it. Instead, the release of the emotions surrounding the incident (or pattern of incidences) actually strengthens us because we are no longer using our own energy to remember, relive and rehash the hurt. We actually want to remember the essence of what happened, so we don’t find ourselves making the same mistakes and getting stuck over and over again.
How do you forgive someone who has hurt you to the core?
The word forgiveness is laden with emotion. When someone has hurt us, the last thing we are eager to do is to forgive them even though, intellectually, we know that forgiveness does not mean condoning the hurt/pain/humiliation/devastation. Then we tell ourselves that we have a choice as to how we feel, that we need to think differently about it! But, alas, we can’t seem to see the situation any differently. We are still hurt, and mad.
Forgiveness too much? Start with this instead
Perhaps, for the moment, instead of trying so very hard to forgive, the key is to simply accept. Accept that the incident happened, the relationship happened, the pain happened. Acceptance (like forgiveness) doesn’t mean we like it, love it, want it, wished for it or approved of it (it being that which hurt us), but it does signal that we acknowledge that it happened.
Adapted from Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved