How to forgive someone for an apology you never got – Part 1

Certain things can never be forgiven; but what about the things we should forgive but are struggling to? This is especially true when we never get a full apology or explanation.

No one is perfect, and people say things all the time that were in the heat of the moment or that they will come to regret. [**Disclaimer at the end of article.**]

When it comes to family members or close friends, we can all recall things that they have said, either intentionally or unintentionally, that caused us pain. They may be the person we have the strongest connection with within the whole world and, whilst having that bond is wonderful, it also comes with its downfalls. One of which is that they have the power to hit you where it hurts, metaphorically speaking. Perhaps during an argument with a sibling or parent, where one of you has made a statement that’s stuck with the other despite it not being intended to cause lasting distress, or perhaps it was an offhand comment made by a friend or colleague that still angers you today.

You may have the most loving and decent person in your life who deeply cares for you and is a great positive force in your life, but, if you think about it too long, a single sentence said in anger, exhaustion, or flippancy years ago can haunt you for decades.

A warm acquaintance stated that when she and her ex-husband were going through their divorce, her mother told her to wake up earlier than him and put on makeup to keep him. This woman is in her eighties, and yet this comment has stuck with her. Did this comment affect her at the time? We cannot be sure. Although it could easily be presumed that, whilst going through a failed relationship, being told to look prettier in the morning by your mother would be upsetting.

Was this lady’s mother evil or nasty? No. Does this mean that she cannot still love her mother? Of course not! It was a different time back then, and one comment does not erase a lifetime of love – even if it was a brutal one. Did she ever get an apology from her mother? Probably not, but did she move on from the comment despite its hurtful sentiment that stuck with her? Yes.

One of the worst realisations of being a human being is finally realising that everyone you admire, such as teachers, lecturers, celebrities, relatives, or parents, are all human too. They are not the infallible people that we unintentionally build up in our heads on a pedestal so high it wobbles like Jenga. They are unable to provide emotional comfort for every situation we face in life.

We all need someone to talk to sometimes, but unfortunately, we don’t always have access to counselling or mental health care, and in that state of limbo, we have to be our own emotional support.

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We are only humans, as the saying goes. Even if you’re well aware of the context and motive behind words said in anger, you can still feel bitter and upset. Especially when bringing the argument up again would only cause further conflict during a time of peace. No one wants to be that one soldier who shoots down the white flag of surrender, and no one wants to have another war in a conflict that may have already been nipped in the bud or happened years prior. This lack of closure on certain things said can make the process of moving on very difficult.

So what do you do with those leftover resentments and feelings? If your mother tells you to look more attractive in the morning to ensure you keep your husband, you either have to express those emotions to the loved one or you have to accept the words for what they were—unintentionally bad, angry, and ignorant comments from a good person on a bad day.

Ruminating about past conversations is neither healthy nor productive. If you obsess over the past, you end up completely missing the present. By being focused on a vacuous comment said by a parent or close friend years ago you can end up jeprodisring the friendship you have now. There is a difference between being a doormat and acknowledging your feelings (and their flaws) and moving on.

Whatever hurtful thing was said by a loved one be it intentionally or not is understandably disappointing and upsetting. You have every right to feel angry, upset or let down but sometimes moving forward with a new perspective is the only way to heal. Know that they were wrong and from then on know your own self worth. They will likely never know or understand that a phrase said by them during a fight has caused this much upset and frustration but maybe that’s okay as long as you let go too.

One of the hardest things to do is forgive someone, whether it’s a loved one or even yourself. Another is to take one’s own advice.

[**Now to reiterate, this article is about the little things that people you love have said on the off but if anyone is being abusive, violent, harassing you or causing you distress, this is not the same, so please contact support lines such as Childline for under 18’s, National DA helpline, Samaritans and many more free charities and services.**]

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