8 thoughts on “Forgiveness: How to Express the Inexpressible and Forgive the Unforgivable

  • August 22, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Dan: Thanks for this beautiful blog – It has great meaning for anyone at any age who has suffered the unspeakable or blamed themselves for the unacceptable. Your suggestions of opening up the options of expression are the pathways of forgiveness – Thanks I will pass it on -Suzanne

    • August 25, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Thank you Suzanne. I appreciate your words, willingness to share, and the work you do! Thank you so much for the kind words.

  • August 24, 2016 at 2:00 pm


    I was emotionally and verbally abused by my wife for 20 years. We’ve been through couples therapy and individual therapy. I know she grew up in a dysfunctional family, suffered trauma as a child when her mother died, is addicted to alcohol like so many members of her family and likely has Borderline Personality Disorder. I’m also financially dependent upon her because I have severe untreatable bipolar illness which left me unable to work, several years ago.

    She never could apologize for her behavior nor does she seem to have any insight into herself and I have been emotionally stuck, as well as miserable, for the past six years. This isn’t good for me or for our marriage. I’m unable or unwilling to let myself get close to her, again, because the tapes keep running in my head. Is there a path to healing? Thank you.

    • August 25, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Sadly, Mark, I don’t know that the path to healing always involves the characters placed in our lives. I don’t want to give advice, per se, over the internet, but I will offer this insight: you are only responsible for you. Period. If she’s funding you financially, you should do everything possible to obtain some sort of disability (if possible in your country of residence) and take that power back in your life. Oftentimes, people will use dependence as power against us. You have to take back that power even if it means doing some things that make you very uncomfortable and life difficult. But remember, it’ll be temporary.

      I encourage you to read a book called “Codependent No More” by Melodie Beatty. It’s been a treasure for me in my own journey with recovery, codependency, and how to set healthy boundaries with others in my life.

      Finally, Mark, my grandma always taught me to “have hope”. I do think there’s hope for every person, but the reality is, there may not be hope for every partnership. My love and prayers are with you, sir.

      I would also encourage you to process with someone and decide if you are “unable” or “unwilling” because the answer to this question should give you clarity on how to move forward.

      Be well, sir.

      • August 25, 2016 at 6:34 pm

        Thank you Dan. I have yet to figure out, even with therapy, how to be independent of my wife. The times I’ve called her out, she’d give me an ultimatum of staying or leaving. Hard to do when my Social Security Disability, after health insurance, isn’t enough except for food and medicines. And she knows I can’t afford to leave. I’m 66 and I don’t want to be homeless; no one wants to be homeless regardless of age or gender. I agree; I have work to do on myself, in addition to working towards rebuilding my physical health. Your post came at the right time.

  • August 25, 2016 at 7:42 am

    I am still working on forgiving others and myself.
    This is beautiful.
    Thank you.

    • August 25, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Thank you for reading my work, Jan. It means the world to me.
      Best to you!

  • September 7, 2016 at 12:58 am

    The comments about creativity interest me. I’ve had writers block for about 6 months and have not been able to finish two stories that are about aspects of my personality that are saving or get me in trouble but are related to happenings in my early life that call for release of regret. If I let this “holding on” to ghosts dissipate I may be able to go on living without bonds that feel like loyalty and me forever protecting the other person from my anger about what they did to me or what I left myself open to.

    I need to unlearn the habit of dissolving like the wicked witch of the west when I face the fact that everyone is devoted to themselves first and not vice versa. I still uphold the notion that two people can be committed to one another throughout their whole lives. And I hold each friend up to that ideal.

    There is one friend who deliberately cut off her relationship with me in the past whom I be had several chances to reconnect with. Each time instead of allowing myself to be becone closer, a warning bell goes off and I pull back. I do not want to feel the love, vulnerability and cut off point again. If I totally forgave her, I would have no pull or push toward her. Frankly, I would have no interest in her because I know we fundamentally do not share the things that brought us and would keep us together. I do not forgive her.

    I do not understand except that she had a deep fear of our closeness which was a danger to her. Just as closeness to her now is a danger to me. In all this there is a third party: pain. How much pain is one able to sustain until friendship became work? When does a friendship become not worth it?

    Forgiveness means releasing the dove Like the codependent above, it means


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *