Life is full of ups and downs, and when we encounter the downs, we often find ourselves facing difficult situations that may involve someone else’s actions. It could be a betrayal by a friend, a partner’s infidelity, or even a colleague’s dishonesty. Whatever it may be, it can be challenging to forgive and forget when someone hurts us. This is where the art of letting go comes in. Learning how to forgive someone who continually hurts you can be difficult, but it is essential for our emotional well-being and growth.
Forgiving others allows us to move forward and release ourselves from the pain and anger that can hold us back. In this guide, we will explore the steps you can take to let go of the hurt and anger, forgive the person who hurt you, and move on with your life. So, let’s dive in and learn how to find peace and healing in letting go.
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The Importance of Letting Go
I believe wholeheartedly that forgiveness is more for you than for the other person. Someone who continually hurts you may not even ask for forgiveness, but you must find a way to forgive so that you can live life to the fullest. There is no need for you to keep experiencing the agony associated with bottled-up feelings and emotions. Forgiving people is important for your own healing and happiness.
Today, we will walk through the steps of forgiving someone who continually causes you pain. If this is something that you struggle with, you’ll want to keep reading. These steps will be useful while you’re on your journey to forgive someone who continually hurts you.
What It Means to Forgive (& What It Is Not)
Forgiving someone that has caused you pain means making a conscious effort to release the feelings of resentment or vengeance toward someone who has wronged you. Now, don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that you become a doormat and let people walk all over you or treat you badly. It also doesn’t mean forgetting, condoning, or excusing those wrongful actions. This can be especially difficult when you’re forgiving someone who hurts you continuously, but it is necessary and very possible.
The Science Behind Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a complex and deeply personal process that has garnered significant attention from researchers in the field of psychology. Numerous studies have explored the science behind forgiveness, shedding light on its psychological and physiological effects. When we forgive, our brain undergoes a series of changes that contribute to our emotional well-being and overall health.
Research has shown that forgiveness is associated with reduced stress levels. Holding onto grudges and harboring resentment can lead to chronic stress, which has detrimental effects on both our mental and physical health. When we choose to forgive, our brain releases feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which promote relaxation and a sense of emotional relief. Additionally, forgiveness has been linked to lower blood pressure, improved immune function, and reduced risk of cardiovascular problems. The act of forgiveness not only benefits our emotional state but also positively impacts our physiological well-being.
Is It Possible to Forgive and Forget When Someone Hurts You Repeatedly?
Is it even possible to forgive someone who hurts you repeatedly? We’ve all heard the phrase “forgive and forget” and if you’re like me, you’ll admit that it’s much easier said than done. I believe that we can forgive, but it’s nearly impossible to forget, especially if an offense happens multiple times. How realistic is it for us to move on with our lives without ever thinking of that hurt again? With that being said, instead of forgetting (which is nearly impossible), you need to focus on how to deal with someone who hurt you emotionally.
Let’s think about what it truly means to forgive and forget. It’s very different from getting mad and getting even. When you forgive and forget, you decide not to be angry with someone for hurting you and not to let your memory of their action(s) influence your future relationship with that person. Both of those things have to happen in order to forgive and forget effectively. And both of these things should happen whether or not you decide to continue the relationship.
What to Do When Someone Hurts You Over and Over
Now that we have talked about what forgiveness means, I want to share some actionable items that you can use when you make the decision to forgive someone. It is important when you are thinking about how to forgive someone who continually hurts you that you have a plan so that you can intentionally take the steps necessary for true forgiveness to take place.
These things do not have to occur in this order. Keep in mind that you may reach the point of forgiveness without using all of these steps.
1. Remain Calm and Clear-Headed
When you are dealing with someone who has hurt you over and over, you should try to remain calm. Do not talk to or engage with the person until you are able to do so rationally. You may need to take some time to clear your head so that you are able to carry on a mature conversation about the situation at hand. If tension rises as you are engaged in the conversation, end the conversation until you are able to take control of your emotions. The conversation will not be productive if both parties are not calm.
2. See If There Is Anything You Can Do to Keep the Peace
When you are hurt, it may be very difficult for you to keep the peace, but try your very best to do so. You can only control your own actions, so don’t stress yourself out even more by trying to control the other person’s response or reactions to your statements. Do everything you can to keep the conversation as peaceful as possible.
3. Admit Your Role in the Issue (If It Exists)
Oftentimes, issues between people are two-sided, meaning that both parties play a part in the disagreement. If that is the case, admit your role and own your actions. But recognize that sometimes it really is just the other person and voice that if need be. It is important that you both understand your roles in the issue.
4. Analyze All Sides of the Issue Before Passing Judgment
Make sure that you look at the entire situation from every perspective before you pass judgment. It’s easy to pass judgment when you’re angry, so make sure you thoughtfully analyze the situation.
5. Choose Kindness
It will be difficult, but try to choose kindness. Again, this is for you, not the other person. You may not feel like the other person deserves your kindness, but try your best to remain civil and refrain from making statements that you might regret later.
6. Don’t Grow Bitter
As badly as you may have been hurt, try not to harbor bitterness in your heart. That resentment and deep anger towards another person is not healthy for you physically or emotionally. Being bitter may cause you to act negatively toward other people or things in your life and that can be problematic if you are truly trying to forgive someone.
7. Develop Tough Skin
Try not to take things personally and don’t be easily offended. Sometimes, when people hurt you, it’s really not all about you. So develop tough skin when you’re dealing with hurtful situations.
8. Live in the Present; Don’t Dwell on the Past
When someone has hurt you, try to focus on the present. As hard as it is, try not to revisit that hurtful place and don’t dwell on the past for too long. When you dwell on the past, you are simply reopening wounds, making it even more difficult to move forward.
9. Reaffirm Your Love for Them But Still Stand Up for Yourself
As I stated earlier, the expectation is not for you to be a doormat. But, if you truly love the person who hurt you, you should reaffirm your love for them. That is important for you and for the other person, too. It is, however, important that you stand up for yourself so that you make it clear to the other person that their behavior will not be tolerated. You need to candidly let the person who hurt you know that you demand to be respected if you are going to continue the relationship. When you calmly stand up for yourself, you maintain your personal dignity, self confidence, and self respect.
10. Learn to Let It Go
While it is difficult (I’d even argue impossible) to forget when someone has hurt you, it is important to learn to let it go. It is not healthy to harp on the same issue over and over again. It’s important that if you decide to forgive someone that you make an intentional effort not to continue bringing up the situation. After you decide how you will move forward with the person who hurt you, it’s best to let go of whatever caused you to be upset in the first place.
11. Seek Help if Needed
If you don’t know where to start with the forgiveness process, don’t be afraid to seek help. There is no shame in needing help. Sometimes, the hurt may be too deep or too fresh for you to logically think through how to move forward in forgiveness. Therefore, you may need to reach out to a counselor or therapist to help you work through the process.
12. Choose to Forgive
Forgiving someone who keeps hurting you can be hard. It may take some time. But ultimately, you have to choose to forgive the person if you truly want to forgive them and move forward with your life. You have to put in the effort and work to forgive. I know it seems so unfair that you have to do so much when the other person is the one who “messed up,” but for your own sanity and health, go ahead and make a choice to forgive.
What are the long-term benefits of forgiveness?
Forgiveness offers numerous long-term benefits that can positively impact various aspects of our lives. Here are some of the long-term benefits of forgiveness:
Forgiveness helps in reducing negative emotions such as anger, resentment, and bitterness. By letting go of these emotions, we experience emotional relief, inner peace, and an improved overall mood. It allows us to free ourselves from the burden of carrying grudges, which can lead to greater happiness and contentment.
Forgiveness can contribute to healthier and more fulfilling relationships. When we forgive others, we open the door for reconciliation and the possibility of rebuilding trust. It fosters empathy, understanding, and compassion, which can enhance communication and deepen connections with others.
Holding onto grudges and harboring resentment can lead to chronic stress. When we choose to forgive, we release ourselves from the stress associated with negative emotions and interpersonal conflicts. This can have a significant impact on our physical and mental well-being, reducing the risk of stress-related health problems.
Enhanced Mental Health
Forgiveness has been linked to improved mental health outcomes. It can decrease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. By letting go of negative emotions and adopting a more positive outlook, forgiveness promotes psychological healing and resilience.
Physical Health Benefits
Research suggests that forgiveness is associated with improved physical health. Chronic anger and resentment can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health issues. Forgiveness, on the other hand, has been shown to lower blood pressure, boost immune function, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems, leading to better overall physical health.
Forgiveness is a transformative process that promotes personal growth and self-reflection. It allows us to develop greater self-awareness, empathy, and compassion. Through forgiveness, we learn valuable lessons about ourselves, others, and the complexities of human nature, which can lead to personal development and a deeper understanding of forgiveness itself.
For many individuals, forgiveness is deeply tied to spiritual beliefs and practices. It can be a means of spiritual growth, fostering a sense of connection, forgiveness towards oneself, and a greater alignment with personal values and beliefs.
Release of Resentment
Holding onto resentment can be emotionally draining and hinder our ability to fully engage with life. Forgiveness offers a release from the burden of resentment, allowing us to focus our energy on more positive and fulfilling endeavors.
It is important to note that forgiveness is a personal journey, and the benefits may vary from person to person. However, practicing forgiveness and letting go of grudges can have profound and lasting effects on our well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life.
Tips for Forgiving Someone Who Isn’t Sorry
Let’s talk about those people who hurt us intentionally and those who aren’t truly sorry for doing you wrong. I also want to add this: forgiving and reconciling are two separate things. You can forgive someone and not reconcile with them. It’s okay. And, you can also choose to forgive someone who isn’t sorry. Let’s talk about how:
1. Tell Them Things Need to Change and State Clear Consequences if They Don’t
Make it very clear to the person who hurt you that things need to change. Also, tell them specific consequences that will occur if they don’t change. Take time to think this through carefully before you have the conversation. It is very important that when you have this conversation that you say what you mean and mean what you say. If you set specific consequences (and make sure that the other person clearly understands those consequences), you need to make sure to follow through.
2. Set Boundaries and Enforce Them
Set boundaries with the person who hurt you, and make sure to stick to those boundaries. Everyone must understand what is and what is not acceptable in the relationship. This is true in any relationship, whether it be family, friends, or a significant other. Setting boundaries helps you to protect yourself and it sets the tone for what will and will not be tolerated in your relationship.
3. Know When It’s Time to Walk Away
Unfortunately, you can follow all of these steps, do all of the hard work, and still not be able to get through to the other person. They may not ever see things your way and you may never be able to agree on how to move forward with your relationship. The other person may not change his or her behavior and may continue hurting you. If this happens, you may need to consider walking away.
When you can’t trust someone or if you don’t believe the person will stop hurting you over and over again, it isn’t easy to make a relationship work. It may just be time to walk away. Ultimately, you want to save yourself from continuous heartbreak and you don’t want to continue wasting your time and energy on someone who frequently puts you in a dark place.
When that person and relationship no longer serves you and no longer contributes positively to your life, it may be time to walk away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you forgive someone and still be hurt?
Absolutely. Remember, forgiveness is the foundation, the start of the journey, if you will. The forgiveness releases you to begin working on your own feelings. Forgiveness is a form of self-care.
Is it okay to tell someone they hurt you?
It would be best if you let people know they hurt you. If somebody does you wrong, don’t feel bad about letting them know. Ignoring or denying those feelings won’t make them go away. That’s why you must express your feelings. Only then can you begin to heal.
Should you forgive a cheater?
This is a complicated question that has lots of layers to it. While I do believe that you should forgive a cheater (remember, you need to forgive in order to heal), the ultimate decision about whether to stay or go will depend on different factors that you will need to be very thoughtful about.
Can you forgive someone and not want them in your life?
Yes. Not every instance of forgiveness will end in reconciliation. Sometimes, one or both parties may agree that it is best to go their separate ways. In this case, you should still choose to forgive the person. That allows you to let go of any hatred or bitterness that you might be holding in your heart due to unforgiveness.
What do I say to someone who hurts me again and again?
Please note that there is nothing that you can say that will fix the situation. However, it is well within reason for you to fully voice your feelings. Say exactly how you feel.
Forgiveness is a multi-step process that takes lots of time and intentional effort. I want to remind you that it is possible to forgive someone, even someone who has hurt you multiple times. You have to look past the pain and focus on doing the things mentioned above. Every situation is unique, and ultimately you have to make the decision that is best for you. I will end by saying that there is so much freedom in forgiveness. Take control of your feelings and take the steps necessary to give you the freedom to move forward in a healthy way.
What does the Bible say about someone who continually hurts you?
It’s stated multiple times in the Bible that God wants us to forgive others, even those who hurt us over and over. There are multiple examples of betrayal and ridicule in the Bible that end in forgiveness.
Bible verses about forgiving others who hurt you
There are verses throughout the Bible that reference forgiving those who hurt you. Here are some of those verses.
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
BibleStudyTools.com lists some additional Bible verses about forgiveness.
More FAQs-How to forgive someone who hurt you Bible
Here’s a frequently asked questions section about how to forgive someone who hurt you, based on biblical principles:
Why is forgiveness important according to the Bible?
The Bible teaches that forgiveness is essential for our own spiritual and emotional well-being. Jesus emphasized the importance of forgiveness and demonstrated it through His own life. Holding onto grudges and refusing to forgive can lead to bitterness, and resentment, and hinder our relationship with God and others.
How can I find the strength to forgive someone who hurt me deeply?
Forgiveness can be challenging, especially in difficult situations. In the Bible, we are encouraged to rely on God’s strength and grace to forgive others. By seeking His guidance, praying for a changed heart, and trusting in His healing power, we can find the strength to forgive even the most painful offenses.
Does forgiving mean forgetting the offense?
Forgiving does not necessarily mean forgetting the offense or pretending it never happened. It acknowledges the hurt and wrongdoing but chooses to release the offender from the burden of punishment or resentment. While we may remember the event, forgiveness allows us to let go of the negative emotions associated with it.
Can I forgive someone without receiving an apology?
Yes, forgiveness is a personal choice that doesn’t always require an apology from the offender. Jesus taught us to forgive others unconditionally, just as God forgives us. While reconciliation and a genuine apology are ideal, forgiving someone is primarily about freeing ourselves from the weight of anger and resentment.
How can I forgive someone who continues to hurt me?
Forgiving someone who repeatedly hurts you can be challenging. It’s important to establish healthy boundaries and seek protection from further harm. Forgiveness doesn’t mean subjecting yourself to ongoing abuse or allowing someone to continue their harmful behavior. Seek support from trusted individuals, such as counselors, pastors, or support groups, to navigate these complex situations.
Does forgiveness mean I have to trust the person again?
Forgiveness and trust are separate matters. While forgiveness is an act of letting go, rebuilding trust is a process that depends on the actions and consistency of the person who hurt you. Forgiveness can be extended without automatically restoring the same level of trust. Rebuilding trust requires evidence of genuine change and a willingness to repair the relationship.
What if I struggle to forgive even after trying?
Forgiveness can be a journey, and it may take time and intentional effort. If you find it difficult to forgive, consider seeking guidance from God, praying for a compassionate heart, and seeking counsel from wise and trusted individuals. Sometimes professional help, such as therapy or counseling, can provide additional support and guidance.
Remember, forgiveness is a personal choice, and each situation is unique. The Bible offers principles and guidance, but it’s important to seek wisdom, pray for discernment, and find healing in your own personal journey toward forgiveness.