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Forgivenss when I find it impossible


I had an extremely traumatic time being at home with a sibling who I considered to have some very defining narcissistic tendencies and traits.
He would always somehow justify himself, no matter how inexcusable his behavior may have been, yet expected the other person to fully account for themselves, if they had done the same thing. He caused complete fear and an enormous strain on me. For quite a while after those months that he had inflicted such pain and constant suffering on me, I had also many times flashbacks and painful memories.
It’s been a number of years since then and bh things have improved. I also have been for help and feel more empowered and confident and it seems he has matured as things have calmed down a lot and are much better.
However, he caused me such tremendous suffering and constantly stuck firmly to the fact that he was fully in the right no matter what he did.
Now, I find it’s been quite a long time, but I still find I cannot forgive him for what he has done to me. The amount of suffering he’s caused compounded with the fact that it has left some deep imprinted memories and also other issues that I am struggling still with (in other areas of life), as a result – make me feel really unable to forgive him .
He hasn’t approached me yet to ask but in case he does, I would like to hear what I should do.
I find it too hard to say I forgive him and I don’t feel like I ever can. Though I can try to move on, going forward.
However, if I say to him that I don’t forgive him, It might very possibly cause him to flare up again and start his abuse over as he feels then angry and upset with me etc.
But how can I say I will, if that would be a lie – is that considered for the sake of sholom? And secondly, perhaps it will show him that he can do whatever he likes as no matter what he does, it will be forgiven at some stage?
I don’t know which I’d rather, because both options are not ones that are comfortable for me to take. Is there otherwise a possible third alternative?
Thank you very much in advance.




From what you are describing, if he always thinks he is right, you have nothing to worry about, that he might approach you to ask you mechila, because he feels the he has nothing to ask for.

Just in case he does ask you for mechila, there are a few things to consider. First of all, since he has matured, he might just be past his immature behavior, and it is quite possible that if he is sorry for what he did, it might indeed be sincere. Secondly, if you don’t forgive him, at least at this point, you can tell him that you would like to forgive him but for the meantime, you still have to work on yourself, in order to sincerely forgive him, as he has caused you a lot of pain. Telling him this should not get him angry, because you are telling him that you do want to forgive him, therefore he won’t want to upset you anymore. Additionally, you are telling him the truth, at this point you are not up to forgiving him.

Another thing to consider, if he indeed does ask you for mechila after ten years, it would mean that he is somewhat sincere in his asking, as this shows that the issue is still on his mind. Much of the pain that you have, is because you feel that he has no remorse for what he did, and he isn’t taking your feelings into consideration. However, if he does ask you for mechila, that will be telling you in a certain way, that he is more mature now, and he is taking your feelings into consideration. Therefore, if he does ask you mechila it will make it easier for you to at least eventually be mochel him.

Have a gmar chasima tova


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1 Comment

  1. Wow, that’s really amazing! Thank you so so much! I so appreciate your insightful and helpful response!
    It’s definitely taken the headache off me, of knowing what to do, thank you!
    Gmar chasima tova!

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