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How Do You Forgive A Partner For Hurting You?
Here’s the first step to knowing how to forgive a partner for hurting you.
If you’ve been hurt by a partner you’re probably feeling a range of uncomfortable, even debilitating thoughts and emotions. At times, perhaps anxious and nauseous, heavy limbs, slowed thinking, sad, and confused as to why someone who loves you can still hurt you.
Sometimes, feelings rise up as bitter and vengeful anger. Why shouldn’t I hurt them back? Payback can be sweet, right? At times, these thoughts might bring microscopic joy and relief but it usually isn’t long-lasting. Take your focus off for a second and the feelings associated with being the victim surge up again.
Time to decide what to do when a partner hurts you
If you do nothing, the feelings and thoughts may slowly abate over time, but it’s likely to take quite some time. In the meantime, you’ll be sitting in the toxic swamp feeling like rubbish, wasting days, weeks or months that you’ll never get back. Some people even waste years sitting in this space.
Thoughts and questions go around and around in your head looking for the ‘why’ this happened, does he/she actually care about me etc etc. Ruminating isn’t going to give you answers but it will keep the pain in place. Sometimes going over and over thoughts only serves to keep the trauma in place rather than bringing peace.
What you can do to begin forgiving a partner for hurting you
The first step to resolving things and moving forward is to begin to embrace the idea that you can forgive. It’s not actually forgiving but it’s being open to the idea that human beings are blessed with an amazing capacity for change and psychological growth. We change all the time. We alter values, ideas and principles when it’s needed. It’s about accepting that you can. It’s believing that you have the capacity for forgiveness and have exercised it many times in your life before now.
Once you’ve achieved this, the next step is to open your heart enough to consider that the person who hurt you may not have intended this as the outcome. I work with couples every day where one has hurt the other deeply, yet it was unintentional – misguided and thoughtless actions, yes but intentional, no.
If your partner says they didn’t mean to hurt you or were unaware that what they did was going to hurt you, try and take this on as truth or even just be open to the idea. If your partner loves you, it’s unlikely they set out to hurt you. You can teach them to behave differently in the future but holding onto the hurt is unlikely to bring about anything beneficial for you or your partner.