Try Forgiving Yourself If You Are Angry At Someone Else

Self HelpWhen we feel hurt or angry, it’s easy to fault someone else. “You’re to blame,” we insist. “You made me feel this way.”

But the fact that we feel upset at someone doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is guilty.

Sometimes our rage is our own, forged in our own hearts and minds, fed by our personalities, our provocations, our exaggerated response to conflict.

Yes, this other person may have done something to offend us, but perhaps not to the degree that our intense response would suggest. Our reaction may be completely improper or even dangerously misguided.

Owning up to your issues – tearing down your defenses and looking honestly at yourself—can be painful work. The process may teach you that you were more than just a victim, and that, maybe, there is no one to forgive but yourself.

External Factors

The same factors that influenced the way the offender treated you may have influenced the way you treated him. Again, some of these factors may be external.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               You might ask yourself, “What was going on in my world at the time of the injury that may have affected me emotionally, making me feel more vulnerable, less in control, less resilient, so that I reacted improperly? Did these life events throw me off-balance and lead me to act in ways that were callous or otherwise offensive?”

Internal Factors

Internal factors may also shape your response. It helps to ask such questions as, “How did my personality affect my reaction? How did it influence the way I was treated?” If you’re innately shy, say, and the offender took this personally and assumed you didn’t like him, that was his mistake, not yours. You didn’t hurt him; his mistaken assumptions about you hurt him.

But if you’re shy and didn’t speak up and then felt offended that someone didn’t show interest in you or respect your position, you need to confront how you contributed to your own pain. It may be that your own silence – not his behavior – set a trap for you.

Dysfunctional Ideas

What about your dysfunctional ideas about yourself and the world, ideas that may have been based on damaging early life experiences? Did they play a role in your mistreatment?

These fixed ideas often pre-date the offense and even your relationship with the offender, and create what what are called “channels” of psychological vulnerability. What happens is that your heightened sensitivity – to being abandoned or ridiculed, for example 0 leads you to misperceive or mis-react to events today.

What to Do When a Person Refuses to Make Amends

The following are four sensible, healthy reasons why you may decide to accept, forgive, and reconcile with the person whom has offended you, even though he or she refuses to make amends:

  • You have to interact with this person regularly and find that it takes too much energy to remain cold and distant.
  • When you act cold toward them, you feel cold inside, alienated both from him and from yourself. The rupture between you compromises the quality of your life. Having no relationship with this person feels worse than having some, no matter how limited or superficial.
  • You benefit strategically from an ongoing relationship. For instance, you decide to get along with your boss to protect your job, even though you may not respect him.
  • You hope to have new, corrective experiences that might repair the relationship.


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