When They Won’t Forgive You

There is someone in my life who won’t forgive me.
“Forgive you for what,” you ask. I wish I knew.
I’m referring to my oldest friend. We met in elementary school, and we’ve been together through thick and thin. There were times I felt closer to her than I felt to my own sister.
But a few years ago there was a shift in our relationship. I don’t know what happened. We didn’t have a falling out, at least not that I’m aware of, and there were no bitter words that can’t be taken back.
All I know is that we fell out of touch {we live in different areas of the country}, which wasn’t all that unusual because we always had the kind of relationship where we could go months – sometimes even a year – without contact, but then we’d get together and pick up right where we’d left off.
Not this time. She stopped contacting me. She didn’t reply to my emails and texts, and she didn’t answer when I called. Before I realized it, it had literally been years since our last conversation.
On Facebook we have many mutual friends, so I sent her a friend request. She declined. I finally summoned the courage to send her a message. I told her that I wasn’t sure what I’d done, but that I was sorry if I’d hurt or offended her, and I hoped we could make amends.
It was a week before she replied. She said she was offended by my sudden, out of the blue message. She said she couldn’t believe that I didn’t even know what had happened between us.
{How could something that was obviously so incredibly offensive to her, be completely unknown to me? That just doesn’t seem possible. Am I that clueless? That out of touch? How could I offend someone to that degree, and not even be aware of it?}
I messaged her back, citing what I thought might be the issue… a situation I felt was more of a simple misunderstanding than a reason to end a friendship that had endured more than a quarter of a century. A friendship that had seen marriages, babies, divorces, and great distance.
I sent that message almost 18 months ago. She has still not responded.
I know I wasn’t always the world’s best friend to her. At a time when she was going through a rough period, I wasn’t the support system she needed {although in my defense, I was going through my own thing at the time, and honestly, I barely had the energy to carry my own load, let alone someone else’s}.
I’m sure I let her down many times. Perhaps she finally reached the point where she simply decided she wouldn’t allow herself to be let down again, and that meant ending the friendship entirely.
I get that. I firmly believe that if a relationship is bad for you, sometimes you have to let it go. I get it.
What I don’t get is withholding forgiveness from someone. Forgiveness doesn’t mean everything’s fine and we’ll be best friends again. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the hurt and pain can be swept under a rug. In my opinion, forgiveness doesn’t even mean forgetting.
It simply means showing someone else the same grace that Christ showed you. If God is willing to forgive us no matter what our sin is, no matter how many times we sin against Him, how can a mere mortal refuse to forgive? 
God forgives the liars, the thieves, the child murderers, the rapists, the animal abusers, and even those who blaspheme Him. It’s pretty humbling to realize there’s someone who believes I am not even deserving of that.
For a while, my friend’s lack of forgiveness really bothered me. Nowadays I think about her often, but I don’t dwell on the turn our friendship has taken. Instead, I remember the good times we shared over many years, and I pray for her happiness, her health, and her children.
What do YOU do when someone you care about withholds forgiveness? How do you deal with it when they won’t forgive you? I’d love it if you’d share in comments below.
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  1. AlexCS says

    I have recently gone through exactly this with a friend from school. I went through a rough time with my current partner and she was there for me, although I didn’t feel I made an excessive demand on her. She always asked me questions about my situation and I answered them. A few months later she hit some family crises and had a lot of problems with stress, almost a mid-life breakdown, and I called and texted her every week or so. I used to go and see her in person and ask her questions but a lot of the time she said she’d rather not talk about it, so eventually I stopped asking questions. Then we had a big blow up because she said she felt that I wasn’t being very caring, even though I honestly had been trying my best to text and talk to her as often as I could. We had a huge argument where she accused me of being very self-centred and uncaring because I didn’t contact her (as much as she wanted me to). That drove me further and further away but I apologised and eventually she said she’d forgiven me. A few months after that there was another blowup about her wedding: my partner’s  brother is getting married next year at the same time as her and I said I’d try and go to both. She assumed this to mean I wasn’t coming to hers and had another go at me at not caring. At this time I was so stressed at work and couldn’t eat or sleep properly because I was so worried about how I’d offended her. Things went back to normal and I do remember apologising again. This year I left the city to go to university up north and I went to see her at her flat a few times before I went and everything was fine, we were even laughing and joking together. Once I got to uni I was absolutely bombarded with work and couldn’t stay in touch as often as I’d liked with any of my friends. A few weeks ago I texted her again but I could tell things weren’t right, and again she told me that she was disappointed that it took me so long to get in touch with her, and now she’d assumed I wasn’t coming to her wedding at all because I hadn’t been in touch. I was so hurt by this that I got angry and admittedly a bit aggressive in my texts, but I couldn’t believe it. We ended the conversation with her saying I clearly don’t care about anyone except my partner and myself. I sent her an email asking her to confirm whether or not she wanted me at her wedding and have not yet received a reply. This was 2 weeks ago. I can’t make her forgive or forget and I’m grieving for our friendship, however I feel that she is an emotional manipulator and a very negative person to be around, it takes a lot of work to maintain this friendship. So after advice from many I have decided to end this friendship, i feel like it is damaged beyond repair now. I am a Christian and so is she, but I am finding it hard to forgive her and she clearly has not forgiven me. I am handing it over to God, there is nothing else I can do now.

    • Carolyn says

      Dear AlexCS,
      You mentioned you’re a Christian. Just because your friend doesn’t want to forgive, it’s something you can’t control. The only thing you can control is yourself to forgive. God forgives over and over and over. He doesn’t stop forgiving. We all need to forgive and carry on. If your friend doesn’t want to forgive, it’s now okay for you to not forgive also? Two wrongs doesn’t make it right. Love thy neighbor. Keep loving her and continue to forgive and forget. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lizzie says

    Thank you for this post. I have been feeling great heartache over not being forgiven for harsh words said to my Mother. It’s especially difficult for me because I said harsh words following a conflict she initiated. Hurtful things were said to me as well, but it’s no excuse to disrespect your mother. I felt angry and attacked, and called her a Jerk and said we were done. Immediately that night I tried to call her about ten times. I left her two voicemails, sent long text messages. I’ve done just about everything but show up at her house (she wouldn’t like that). I’m working really hard to let her know how sorry I am for hurting her despite the fact that she hurt me first. And she is really dragging me through the mud. Its as if I don’t exist to her. And around the holidays, I’m taking it especially hard.

    • Carolyn says

      Dear Lizzie,

      After reading your comment, I can understand why your mother is still upset. First of all my motto is, it doesn’t matter who’s right, or wrong. It’s about being the better person. We need to apologize when we’re wrong, and sometimes just to make peace. When you apologized to your mother, you added she hurt you first. I feel, by letting her know this showed your mother she started the whole thing. I feel this is probably why she still isn’t talking to you. It doesn’t matter who started or ended it. What matters is to forgive completely without adding who did what. It’s not her dragging you in the mud, it’s your ego. Let it go, and find a place in your heart to apologize in a manner of only you being wrong. Perhaps if she should ever forgive you, she may surprise you with her apologies. Focus on whats real. God is real. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Blnjms says

    I have a cousin who’s wife stopped speaking to me because I inadvertently got too nosy on Facebook–she called me a troublemaker–and she poisoned her family against me so that they (she and her two grown children) blocked me. Her husband, my cousin, didn’t block me but after the threatening voice mail he left me, I don’t want to message him for fear of being blasted again. I hadn’t been close to my cousin since childhood, but I wanted to get to know his wife and kids better. I guess that’s out of the question now. I’m working on forgiveness.

  4. sam says

    I am in a similar situation. I tried, and the friend was never there for me. I was all alone in a situation and needed her support and she wasn’t there. Then she severed ties when I tried to contact her, expressing my hurt at leaving me to deal with things myself. I don’t know…….she was a good friend, but it seemed only when it was convenient. :( I would like to talk with her, but she won’t give me the chance. How do I get out of this hurt?

    • Carolyn says

      Dear Sam,

      First of all the only person to be needy to is God and Jesus Christ. We shouldn’t always expect our friends to be there for us as we need them. Friends come and go and when you build a strong spiritual bond with a friend, if they or you fall off the path, it’s back to the come and go in life. If you’re not a believer, seek a counselor. It’s not healthy to be hurt. Know people can, and will hurt us time and time again. It’s when we become strong through the body, mind and soul through Jesus is when the pain goes away. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Susan Pardoe says

    I too have had this happen. At the time of this writing, I have a friend (cousin) who simply won’t respond to anything I send and I can’t get her to talk to me at all. I do believe I know why she isn’t talking to me and I’ve expressed that I want to ask her forgiveness, but she won’t respond, no matter what I say or do. This has been going on for nearly 18 years. I keep praying about it, that’s all I can do.

    Excellent post.

    • The J Man says

      Susan, 18 years, huh? Wow. Just…WOW! Oh, sweetheart, you have my sympathy. I know that pain. My former friend won’t forgive me, and it’s been close to 5 years. 5 years since I did what I did and have since apologized for. I’ve spent the last four years asking for her forgiveness. Even her own mother has told her how ridiculous it is that she will hold on to something like this and actually withhold forgiveness. But, 18 years. Wow. I can’t imagine. You know, it’s really depressing to think that there are people out there who hold on to things that long. I guess they aren’t planning on having very happy lives.

  6. Diane Ronzino says

    Chrissy, I know how you feel. I’ve been there. Unfortunately. My situatuion involves a then, my pastor’s wife. No forgiveness. Bitterness.

    I chose to only remember the good years as well. And I told her so. That’s when her venom was released.

    That has been a part of my LONG seven-year wilderness walk.

    Finally. FINALLY…I let her go into God’s Hand. There is nothing else I can do. It’s really between her and The LORD at this point.

    But, I know the loss. The ache. The frustration.

    Thanks for sharing so openly a very important topic – especially within the Body of Christ.

  7. Wendy says

    I’ve been in this situation too.
    I just have to accept their decision and move on with life. I’m not saying that it doesn’t hurt because it does. I’ve felt loss and sadness over the ending of a friendship but I refuse to beg for forgiveness. If they get to that point on their own terms, then great. Otherwise, I wish them well.

  8. says

    This is a powerful post! My situation is a bit different in that the person who won’t forgive me does stay in touch. But we are no longer close like we were. When she blasted me a few years ago, out of the blue, she let loose with stuff from our youth, decades ago. I acknowledged the truth of what she was saying, but I was dismayed at how little all the time since mattered. Yes, I was a self centered teenager, but really, I think I got better as I got older! Doesn’t matter. I learned a lot from that in terms of how unresolved anger can fester in us for years and years. I am sad that she can’t relate to me as we are today.

  9. says

    Kerri, it’s obviously been MONTHS since you left this comment, and I apologize that somehow I overlooked it and never responded. I hope that just maybe your ex-husband has had a change of heart since you wrote this… and if not, I guess all we can do is continue to pray.

    I have not had any contact from my friend, but I’ve considered making a last ditch effort to bridge the gap with her. If I finally decide to do it, I’ll let you know the outcome!

    Hope you’re well!

  10. says

    I hear you! My situation is a little different in that the one who will not forgive is my ex-husband. Neither one of us were Christians when our marriage broke and after I became a Christian, it took many years to come to a place where I could forgive myself, let alone him for the pain and hurt that happened between us. It was last year when I asked him for forgiveness and he denied me. He used the words that he was not “pure” enough to forgive me and that according to him, God wouldn’t forgive me either. I was brought to tears….not because I believed God wouldn’t forgive me but because he was so blind to who God truly is. I have prayed for him a few times since….not an easy thing for me. I don’t pray that he will forgive me, I pray he one day sees God for the wonderful, loving and forgiving Saviour that He is.
    Blessings, my friend. I believe that you are doing exactly what God has called us to do….Pray! A dear friend once told me….”we need to storm the Heaven’s with prayer”…not just for those near and dear but for strangers and even enemies!
    Just keep praying, girl!

    • Carolyn says

      Dear Kerri,
      Thank you for sharing your story. Praise God for all the love you were given to forgive your ex. Continue to pray for all the non believers. It’s our job to help others get to know who the lord is, by sharing your experiences. God blessed all of us.

  11. says

    Not easy but you have to let it go! You have done what “is possible for you to be at peace with all men” and now you have to step back and wait for the Holy Spirit to speak to her. Not really any other options! But I am so sorry!

    I do understand because we are in a very similar situation with our oldest son. For whatever reason … letting it go is easier for me than for my husband. But every holiday, birthday, family moment … I see that look on his face and know he is recounting regrets. Wishing we could bridge the gap. But for now … it’s out of our hands!

  12. says

    Cyn, I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your comment long ago. I’ll pray for you, that you might be able to find it in your heart to forgive your mother… although I can see that it would be difficult to do so.

    Hope you’re doing well! :)

  13. cynthia chapman says

    I am having a hard time forgiving my mother. Long story BUT she let me grandparents raise me while she did “her thing” BUT does your friend NOT know, it says in the bible..if you can’t forgive others, God CAN NOT forgive you?? That alone scares me..God NOT forgiving me!!! I am working on completley forgiving my mom. I pray someday your friend forgives you, and tells you what she forgave you for.

  14. says

    Can’t believe I never replied to this comment, Beth. I’m so sorry.

    Are things ANY better now with your son? Nothing has changed with my friend, but I’d like to try again. I’m thinking of sending her one last attempt at reconciliation. All we can do is pray, right?

  15. Sally says

    This post just spoke to me. I’m in a similar situation with an opposite arc friend I’ve known for decades. He unleashed a litany of complaints he never brought yo my attention before and to this day don’t think they’re insurmountable issues. At least not enough to end a friendship over. But he did and it still hurts like crazy. I tried a few times over the past year and hit no response. We’ve had a couple benign run ins and mail exchanges. I’ve thought about trying again but don’t want the rejection. What is it about human nature that prevents forgiveness?? I find it sad and tragic. Perhaps it’s ego.

  16. Annie says

    I feel the same way you do. I have a slightly different situation though. My friend asked me if I needed glasses and I said I don’t want glasses because people can get marks near their eyes. My friend wore glasses and she thought I was talking about her. She got really mad and now she won’t forgive me no matter what. I said sorry a lot of times but she was really mad. She told my other friends that I called her ugly but they didn’t believe her. She’s been telling people that I think I’m awesome and smart and that I think everyone is ugly but me. I never said that though. She stopped talking about me to people but she hates me. It’s been 4 months since this happened. I stopped apologizing after 1 week. She is friendly and I feel depressed every time I see her. I am always thinking about it and when people say move on, it makes me feel even worse. My friends told me that she doesn’t even want to see my face. Somehow, her happiness make me sad and everyday for the past 4 months, I have been thinking about it. I told people my problem but they are not helping. I feel like one of my other friends are rubbing it in my face that we got a fight because my friend keeps on saying she is best friends with the girl who is mad at me and she always talks about her to me. She doesn’t rub it in to the girl who is mad at me though. It makes me mad but I never say I am mad because I don’t want another fight. I have been very depressed lately and I don’t have a best friend to talk it over with. The girl who is mad at me has a best friend who cheers her up. I always feel sad and my goal was to never have a argument with anyone but that goal is gone now.

  17. says

    What a great post – I loved reading it and am sorry you are dealing with that situation. I think we all in some ways can relate, which makes is such a great piece of work!

    I fell out of touch with a best friend as well. It wasn’t my fault – and it wasn’t hers. We were just in very different places in our lives – I was married, with a child – she was still working on school, etc. Life moves people in different directions. I wish her no ill will and I hope she feels the same way. I did try to contact her a few times to let her know I was thinking of her – no response. I realize I can’t control that – or the past – so choose to just do the best I can each day.
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  18. Dee says

    My friend won’t forgive me. She says she does, but she does not. I misunderstood something that happened. I have tried to apologize and it has been a year since we have been friends. The worst thing is that our daughters were best friends as well. As punishment for my mistake, which did not in ANY way involve the girls, she has refused to let her daughter see mine. Even at church if my daughter went up to talk to her, she would take her daughter away…ushering her away from my daughter! My daughter was clueless. I, for many months, didn’t say anything to her bc I didn’t want to make my friend look bad and hoped for reconciliation. She refused all phone calls. Refused to let her daughter come over. After six months we finally spoke, but it was clear that she still can’t forgive. Says she Has, but will not let our daughters be friends. It’s CRAZY! When I finally told my daughter, apologetic and in tears for hurting her as well, she said, “Well, she must not have ever really been your friend if she can’t forgive you for this.” It was just a big misunderstanding. My feelings were hurt. No amount of apologies have helped. And I am done begging for forgiveness. They moved to a new city, which we knew was happening before the incident, but didn’t even let my daughter say goodbye! Now I feel like I need to forgive. My daughter will NEVER get over this. This has scarred her for life. Before I even told her what happened she was having nightmares about why her friend wasn’t allowed to speak to her. Having nightmares about the mom hating her. I’m just not sure where to go from here. We sent the daughter bday presents. Haven’t heard back. I know the daughter must be upset as well. I pray when she is old enough, she will contact my daughter on her own.

  19. says

    Really appreciated all the comments and the original blog, “When They Won’t Forgive You.” It has been one week since I have been disowned by my oldest child. I thought that we were working toward a healthier relationship but another request came for me to go into the past with her and discuss things, and this time I emailed her and said no. A few days later I received a horrendous email saying how bad I was and that unless I could learn to be a real Mama she would have nothing to do with me. Thankfully I have been told by my other three adult children that she is the problem and not me. They know that I have apologized many times. They believe that she doesn’t want to take responsibility for her poor choices so she must blame someone. I pray good things for her and will continue to do so. She has asked me not to contact her and I will honor that. In a way, she has freed me. That relationship was very hard work, and although I will always love her and hope for reconciliation, I appreciate the break.

    • says

      Lucy, thanks for the comment. I’m sorry about the situation with your daughter, and I hope it works out how ever you would like it to. I completely understand what you mean about feeling freed from her. It’s sad when a relationship takes that kind of turn, but I think it’s probably more common than any of us would care to admit.

    • Erinsfire says

      Lucy, why not discuss your past with your daughter? Just with your daughter–not your other children–siblings can be so cruel and jealous. Besides it’s really none of their business, is it? This can be a special intimate wonderful moment between your daughter and your.

      As long as the discussion is open, honest, loving and constructive–I do not see why you have refused your daughter’s requests. You can bring up your concern over her poor choices but you do NOT know that she wants to blame you for anything. Unless you have the conversation, it’s possible you’re making a wrong assumption because of your own guilt feelings or the negative gossip influence of her siblings. Why not give your daughter a chance–she may have some valid issues from which she seeks to heal. Your refusal can feel as though you just don’t care enough about her feelings and needs–like a door slamming in her face. Unless you try it–you will never know how constructive and positive it might be. A lost opportunity for no real reasons except you and her siblings preconceived judgment.

      It sounds to me like YOU are the one who disowned your daughter when all she wanted was to talk with you about very important and private things. I’m afraid bringing the siblings into it just for “back up” was a big mistake and terribly wrong. However, you can still correct that mistake.

      Why not call her and see her privately? Do NOT discuss your private conversation with her siblings. You can set rules and boundaries to protect against hurt, anger or destructive dialog. It’s possible that by refusing to even talk with her you have hurt not only your daughter–but yourself–and made it impossible for your relationship to heal and grow.

      What are you afraid of?

  20. Nicola says

    I’d like to say thank you for your honest account in this. I have been searching all over the internet for answers to a questions such as this.
    My story is with my first, now ex, boyfriend. I’m Christian and at 24 moved to a new city. I had prayed for so long for God to bring me a partner to share my life with. Within 3 weeks of being in the new city, I met this lovely gentleman who bonus was also a Christian. We were both starting on the same training course which was a year long. I didn’t rush things but he eventually asked me out on a date, which went relatively well. Then everything was going great, it was the honeymoon phase and he told me he loved me very early on. He also wanted to become physically intimate quite soon on, but I said we should wait. After 4 weeks of feeling on a cloud and the excitement of finally being in a relationship, it all began to go down hill. He began to treat me badly and speak to me like dirt. But I loved him and sometimes there was a glimmer of the man I fell in love with so I stayed. Over time he began to resent me, started speaking to his ex girlfriend and compared me to Christian girls in his Church. He started saying I wasn’t Christian and didn’t dress well and would some times call me an idiot.
    It was a hard year, so I put some of it down to stress, but when it ended he still put other people before me. I still think he genuinely loved me and I treated him so well. I cuddled him and cared for him when he cried, I treated him even if I could not afford it. Valentines day, he didn’t even get me a card.
    As it was I grew tired of his treatment and decided to end things. He begged for me not to and begged me to stay friends because he considered me his best friend. I agreed, but said I needed time to get over us. 4 weeks later he got a new girlfriend and I was devastated, it was like I meant nothing to him. I started to get over it and a few months just text him to see how he was. He ignored me. A few months after that I was not looking for reconciliation, but I apologised for the way I broke up with him and asked his forgiveness. Again ignored me.

    I knew then I had done all I could that God asked of me. I had tried to apologise and ask for his forgiveness.

    In the end it showed me what kind of a person he really was, and if he can’t even accept an apology, that would not have been someone I could have spent the rest of my life with.

    Once you have done all you can, given a heart felt sincere apology and asked for forgiveness and they still refuse, it is time for you to move on, because that person clearly has a lot of issues to deal with.

  21. Nedda says

    Thank for sharing, Christina. I am in a similar position, only it has been going on for over seven years now.

    I grew up with a verbally abusive father who constantly belittled me and put me down (even publicly) and made me feel like I’m somehow deficient. As a result I have terrible feelings of inferiority and am extremely sensitive to all kinds of rejection. In high school I felt rejected by my best friend, who started dating a boy and basically forgot about me. My way of dealing with these feelings of rejection was by putting her down constantly, putting her new boyfriend down, putting her new friends down and generally treating her in a mean and almost abusive way. After high school, i went away to college and didn’t see her for several months. When I was back in town I called her at home and her mother , whom I have known since I was a child, picked up and without even returning my greeting, told me in the coldest and harshest tone, that my friend was not there. I asked her to please let my friend know that I was in town and would like to see her before I leave; my friend never called back. Next time I was back in town, I again called my friend and, to my great shock, she hung up as soon as she heard my voice. Not long after that I sent her a heartfelt email apologizing for my behavior in high school, trying to explain myself and hoping she would forgive me. It’s been seven years and I still haven’t heard back from her.

    I now feel like an abusive monster, whose own best friend wants nothing to do with her. I suffer incredibly from feelings of shame and cringe every time I think about her hanging up on me. I can’t get over these feelings of shame and mortification and it’s taking a serious toll on my mental health.

    I have thought of emailing her or calling her again, but am afraid she will just hang up again or think I am stalking her and I will end up feeling worse.

    If anyone has been through a similar situation, I would truly appreciate any advice.

    Thanks a lot

  22. Fiona says

    Thank you for your post. I too, am in a similar situation. My best friend from primary school is angry at me because she took the words of someone else who wants to sabotage our frdship. I cannot, for the life of me get her to forgive and see my perspective. I’ve apologised numerous times, not for what Was said but for the emotional trauma she had to go through from this. Sometimes she replies, sometimes not.

    I am aware that she is recently engaged to her long term boyfriend. I really want to be there and share the moment of joy in her life with her. Yet every attempt I try, I’m met with the coldness of her response. I’ve done nothing to deserve this, and yet losing this friendship has affected me most. She is still good friends with the girl who sabotaged our friendship. They have each other to talk to and I am all alone.

    I also do not understand why people cannot forgive. Especially when the apology came so genuinely. I’m so tired and strained by this emotional blackmail. I’m at a dilemma of whether to hold on or let go of this 20 yr friendship. Part of me still hopes that one day she will see the light of the situation, yet I cannot go on living my life waiting.

    If someone has any thoughts on insights into my situation I would much appreciate it so that I can see things more clearly.

    • The J Man says

      Nedda and Fiona-For what it is worth, you girls are SO not alone! I’m dealing with something similar. A former friend is choosing to let ONE tiny thing I did years ago be the ONLY thing she will EVER remember about me. I have now officially spent more time apologizing and BEGGING for her forgiveness than I spent in a friendship with her! Crazy! She flat out refuses forgiveness. She apparently has issues beyond anything I can imagine. It amazes me that there are people out there that just will NOT, under any circumstances, simply just forgive. But, here’s the thing. What goes around, comes around. All of the former friends of ours in all of these posts on this page have made a decision to live their lives this way. As the saying goes, “Live by the sword, die by the sword”. They are living by a double sided sword that they may end up falling on one day. If they don’t forgive and they refuse second chances to people who are sincere, then forgiveness will not be shown to them, nor will any second chances ever be granted to them. They will all get theirs in time.

  23. Nicholas says

    I once had these friends they were a married couple that I worked with. We were very close, they said I was like a brother to them. I saw their baby at the hospital and held her. Later we weren’t working together. I once wrote a letter and shared some pictures. I once wrote “Give me a picture.”out of excitement. I thought they would take it as a friendly voice. They said “Sometimes I really scare them” and they thought that that note was a threat and a demand. How could they all of a sudden think I turned evil? I loved them .I tried to explain that It wasn’t supposed to sound that way. They told my mother to tell me never to write or call again. A week ago, I wrote a letter to them and I said I was sorry and hope they would forgive me. They didn’t respond. (this happened twenty-one years ago) I am still crying and seeing a therapist. They used to be such a sweet couple.

  24. nancy says

    I unfortunately understand all too well this pain. My own daughter has not spoken to me in four years. She has blocked my email, phone calls, facebook, is unwilling to even tell me what i have done wrong. during this time period, i have cried a river of tears. Prayer is the only thing that has helped me through this difficult time. I have not been invited to her college graduation, her wedding, her babyshower, my grandsons birth and i have never even met my grandson. He just turned a year old and i did not get a invitation to that. my heart hurts. i pray everyday for her and her family. every day i hope that this will be the day she calls and says im sorry mom. but then another day just goes by…

  25. rianna says

    Hi, I just found your blog post when Googling “when a friend won’t forgive you.” I’m such a wreck right now over a friend of 18 years who refuses to speak to me over an infraction I committed via text (I sent a text to her that was meant for another of our friends). It was an accident, and I made amends immediately. I apologized and apologized. I’ve been frozen out. The text wasn’t even that bad! Everyone’s telling me to stop feeling so bad, that she’s being immature (we’re in our late 30s), she’s being unreasonably angry. It’s just so stunning to see someone’s true colors. It’s like, was this friendship all a lie? If I don’t “perform” to her standards and am not perfect 100% of the time, I’m out. Done. No more. It’s infuriating and maddening and sad. I guess she hasn’t discovered the power of forgiveness yet. Another friend of mine, someone totally objective, put it to me that I have to decide if I want to be friends with someone who is so limited in compassion and forgiveness. And that’s true. I no longer feel “safe” with this friend. And no one can function in a friendship in which he/she has to be expected to be perfect. The whole thing is just sad. Thanks for your blog post. It was helpful.

  26. kelsie says

    Hello, something similar is happening with me. I need some sort closure, I am a good person and always try to make the right choices…. also I treat ppl the way I hope to be treated. So my best friend of 13 years, we will call her Ashley, she moved to Indianapolis to be with her boyfriend after our highschool graduation and eventually started a life there going to college and working. We always stayed in touch, I am very close to her family and she comes to visit at least once a year and ive gone to visit her a couple of times to. So earlier this month she graduated from college. I brought my flight ticket in February mot realizing that it fell on mother’s day weekend. I work at a restaurant with a small staff and that day is a blackout date that I agreed to work when I got hired. So with the graduation on Saturday, and I had to work late sunday afternoon I was still determined to go. I couldn’t get my money back on my first flight so I thought id keep that one to get to Indianapolis and get a one way back home early early sunday morning to get home in time. Ashley knew I didnt have a lot of options for my returning flight and we agreed this was better than me not coming at all. But as the date got closer and she wanted my flight times she completely flipped and wax trying to figure out what they were goinf to do with me so she could celebrate on Saturday night.she was not willing to take me to the airport she said maybe that they could take me close enough to the airport on Saturday night and then I could juzt stay in a hotel. A hotel? I couldnt afford that, I had already bought that extra flight ticket. So I tried to tell her I coulnt make it and we celebrate anothef time…but she was pissed thinking I was putting work first. Also she couldnt understand why I coulnt get off wrk cause my boyfriends family ownes the resturaunt that I work at. But I do not get any special treatment working there, I wouldn’t even want that. I knew she was upset so I tried to find other ways to get to the airport, her sis said to ask her dad cause they were driving there with her family. I did ask him he was hesitant but her sis said he was going to take me. When I told ashley she said that she did not want her dad taking me cause he would have to drive home shortly after that. So I called the Indianapolis area to find a 24 hr cab service and thought if I saved up money I could do it. I told Ashley that and she said… I dont want you to come unless you can get off work on sunday. She explained that it was cutting it to close, with the flight and all it could have gotten delayed and what not. So at this point I gave up. Ashley had already said some pretty hurtful things and if that was a pre cursor to how the trip was going to be …by this time I didnt even want to go. I only had 12 days break from my spring semester in school and summer semester. So I made my decision I wasnt going to make it, I was nice about it told her im so proud of her and id make it up to her. I talked to her on the phone bout 2 weeks before… but just small talk. I texted her on her graduation day congratulations she texted back thanks. I called her that night no answer I called her the next day no answer. Tried calling her never really n answer and textx were always short and she would only text back once. I keep trying to call but she never answers. So I thought she needs time. I want to tell thd whole story… since I did not go o
    to Indianapolis by bf and I went on a cruise during my school break to celebrate my bday my bfs bday and our anniversary, it was his treat…he knew how upset I was about the ash situation. I just dont think this is all worth a friendship of 13 years. Although I am starting to think that maybe this whold time she was so far away from home she became a different person….no longer a sweet girl but a person who takes no crap with a tough skin. Sometimes I dream about this and its hard to get it off my mind. But why should I want to be friends with someone who doesnt want anything to do with me? I just horrible, but I feel this is so unfair. Am I the really the bad guy? :( :( :(

    • The J Man says

      Darling, you are NOT the bad guy here and I can empathize with you 110%! I have a former friend (her real name is Ashley, by the way!) who apparently enjoys making me pay for YEARS for something I did which A) I have apologized for on more than one occasion and B) it was not that bad. I’m not saying that what I did was okay, but dang, I can’t go back in time and undo it. All I can do is apologize and ask for forgiveness and start over with a new foundation. Forgiveness seems to be a foreign concept to her and she seems to enjoy being a spoiled brat about something that had little to no impact on her life back then, when it happened and has ZERO bearing on her life today. It is just plain childish to hold on to something for years like this, especially when the other person has asked for their forgiveness 8 or 9 different times. It sounds like both of our Ashleys are VERY immature people.

  27. The J Man says

    Oh man. It is going to be hard to get through this post without crying. As I read through the posts on here, sadly, everybody’s story is all too familiar. I have done everything I know to do trying to get a former friend to forgive me. I mean, I have cried, I have begged, I have explained in GREAT detail to her what was going on with me at the time that I messed up. We both messed up, but I messed up more and shouldered ALL of the blame. I have even offered to PAY the girl cash money to forgive me! No dice. She is, apparently, a VERY unforgiving individual with much anger and malice in her heart. Now, in no way am I attempting to say that what I did was okay, because it was not, by any means. But, consider this. What I did was NOT an unforgivable offense. And I say that because I have run this by several people, and including her own friends and family and even THEY say that she is being petty and that what I did was not that bad. Her own mother even said, and I quote “The two of you had some issues years ago. Both of you said and did things that you shouldn’t have. There is enough blame to go around. You did not harm her physically. You did not publicly embarrass her. You did not take away her ability to work. Your impact on her life was minimal at best. She has happily gotten on with her life, I don’t understand why she feels the need to hold on to something that happened so long ago and has ZERO bearing on today. She is being childish and I am ashamed of the way that she won’t find it in her heart to forgive you for something from years ago that amounted basically to hurt feelings. Especially considering that when you have apologized to her, YOU have taken all the responsibility and have not even mentioned her role in the whole thing”. Keep in mind, that is from her mother, with whom she is very close. Her mother even cried when I cried while I was asking for forgiveness. And still, nothing. And her mother even told her, “I guess this means that when you screw up, you shouldn’t ever be forgiven no matter how sorry you are, huh?”. Still, nothing. And you know, maybe I have been looking at it all wrong. Maybe she just isn’t who I thought she was. Maybe she has issues to the point that she can’t show forgiveness. Maybe we were just never friends to start with. I met her in late 2008 and we were friends (I guess, who really knows) for about a year. In late 2009, everything fell part and I have been attempting to make amends with her since 2010 and the closest I have gotten to any type of acceptance (of my apology) or even a hint of forgiveness from her is “well, let’s put it this way, you and me are a LONG way from being okay”. That was the most recent thing that she said to me a few months ago after my most recent apology attempt. I took that as a sign that MAYBE things were looking up. At least that time, she hinted that there MAY be a time when we could be kind of sort of okay. Sheesh….. Anyway, I am not kidding, I have apologized to this brat 8 or 9 different times over a four plus year period. And I hate to call her a brat, but that is what she is and has been for some time now. I used to say I still loved her, but how I can I keep loving someone who is so cold and unforgiving?

  28. The J Man says

    I come to this blog entry every day. I guess, in a way, I’m just fascinated by it. I am truly fascinated by the fact that so many of us are in the same boat. You know, I honestly thought that people did, by and large, show forgiveness and those who withheld it were less common. And when my former friend refused to forgive me for one screw up years ago that wasn’t even that bad, I thought that she was more of the exception rather than the rule. But, you know, that is simply NOT the case! As the poster Sally put it “What is it about human nature that prevents forgiveness”. That is so true. People, for some reason, are inclined NOT to forgive. For close to 5 years now, I have been scratching my head wondering what the deal was with my former friend. Wondering how she could hold something against me for so long. Wondering how she has not managed to at least lose a little steam over a something that has happened, is long in the past, and has ZERO effect on today. I mean, people have made me angry before, sure, but if NOTHING ELSE, the passage of time always makes me lose the steam I once had.

    But, I have come to realize something. I have been thinking about this all wrong. I have had it backwards all this time. It is the people who actually FORGIVE who are in the minority. Those who are cold and show no forgiveness are in the majority. If you come across someone who actually forgives you, hold on tight to them, because it is a rare find. Human nature is, for the most part, bad bad news. It is encoded in DNA to not forgive. For, most people anyway. You know, I could honestly see certain situations where someone might not be deserving of forgiveness. Take me and my former friend, for instance. If I had harmed her physically, or stolen a large sum of money from her. If I had taken away her ability to work. I could honestly see her saying “no, what you did was just too horrific. I can’t trust you.” I would, in that case, be undeserving of forgiveness. But, what I did years ago was nowhere near that bad. One more chance with her would not be asking too much. But, she’ll never give that.

    I could even see her saying “okay. Here is the deal. I have reluctantly decided to forgive you. However, PLEASE don’t make me regret it. You need to be aware that this is a second chance for you, but it is also your final chance. If you do anything even remotely close to what you did years ago, you and I will be done for good. That means that I won’t even listen to one word of an apology. It will just be over. Are we clear on this?”. If she even offered that much, I would totally understand. That would be fair. But, think of this for a moment. People like her and the others who have been mentioned in these posts had better be ready to live life with NO margin for error! See, if they aren’t willing to accept apologies and give second chances to people, then they better not EVER expect any of that to be given to them. They can not be unforgiving and expect forgiveness for themselves. So, I say to ALL of us, breathe a little easier. Smile a lot more. Let’s enjoy our lives as forgiving individuals. Because, at the end of the day, tell me, WHO IS HAPPIER?? Us? Or them? There will come a day when one of these people who have been cold and withheld forgiveness will actually need forgiveness and a second chance themselves!! And guess what? They won’t bet getting it either! I’m not saying I will revel in someone’s misery, but I will say that it will be ironic that they will end up getting eaten by the very monster that they created. Amen.

  29. Jeff says

    Going through this with some family right now. Terrific post, I only hope that both of our relationships can find forgiveness, and hopefully reconciliation!

  30. The J Man says

    September will be 5 years since I made the one fatal mistake that made Miss Perfect cease talking to me forever. Just recently, I spoke to her closest friend. She truly had no idea that Ashley and I were no longer friends. She was even more shocked to hear that we had not been friends in nearly five years. To be honest, the “friendship” (if you can call it that with a straight face) lasted less than a year. It took awhile to catch Ashley’s friend up on everything. The how, the why and what not. But, when I did, she shook her head in total disbelief. She said that she was appalled by the fact that Ashley would be so childish as to not let something go after all this time. She also said that Ashley needs to agree to bury the hatchet, if for no other reason than for her own sake. She summed it up this way: “At this point, she is only hurting her own mental health by continuing to be angry after 5 years”. She was even more blown away when I told her that I had apologized to Ashley at least 8 different times over these last few years. She concluded by telling me “Tonight, I have lost a ton of respect for her”. It is very telling when her own friends and family even think that she could, at the very least, just let the whole thing go and move on.

  31. says

    It was so refreshing to read this & amazing that people have been updating and commenting for 2 years!! I stumbled upon this out of a deep, painful hurt of my own. My mentor and second family that I grew up with for 11 years (!) basically disowned me when I married a person of a different color. I can’t even get them to barely speak to me, especially their daughter who was like a sister to me & who I miss deeply. I did nothing wrong but I feel so rejected.

  32. Vickie Clarke says

    Hi all, I wondered if anyone had any advice or insight into obsessions, or had experienced similar situations any of their family or friends.
    I was very close to a young man, but it never really developed outside the friend stage. We were very affectionate but never sexual. We met because we had the same interests, he was a member of a forum I was on, tho I don’t think he still is. Anyway, he suffered with ME which I was very understanding and sympathetic about. I don’t know what his state of mind was, because of all the painkillers he was on. It was actually very sad.
    He had been in a long term relationship with a woman from Romania on Facebook, she came over two years back and spent the week with him, but she said she wasn’t going to come back. They did not even have a week of passion, she stayed with him and his mum, and didn’t even sleep with him. However, he has continued to constantly obsess over her, who to go into facts, already has a partner in her own country. His mother even told me that he had built his whole life around her, he started learning Romanian, and he gets upset if she doesn’t Skype him or chat on Facebook every day. He even planned to leave to country to go live with her, but because of his illness, he couldn’t go, and that made him angry. He told me that he envisioned him and her as a family unit, and the mother of his children! His mum was upset because of all the money he’d been spending on presents for her, and that whenever she had tried to talk sense into him, she always got the same answer.
    I fell out with him, because I told him he was being stupid, and that I would always be there for him. We were close, remember, and he had told me that we were friends for life and I was very precious to him. Because of this he made me public enemy number one, accused me of trying to ruin his life, and told all his friends I was a psychopath and I was seeking my revenge against his family. He actually became very emotionally abusive, accused me of things which downright were untrue, and even had me accosted at my own front door by his brother and his bouncer friend! I very nearly went to court over this, because the slander against me simply wasn’t true, he was just hitting out at me because I told him what a lot of rot his Romania obsession was.
    Now he sees me as his enemy, which I am not, I am his friend, but trying to have a proper conversion with him is like trying to play chess with a monkey, he’ll just shit all over the board and tell you he’s won ! He loves to play the victim, and make out I am bullying him, but in actual fact it was me who was victimised, I was really hurt, and I lost someone I cared about who I thought was my friend. In fact, I am not the only friend he has lost over this, several of his friends were disgusted with him, and of course he blamed me for turning them against him!
    This situation is really dumb, because at heart he is a good person, I know this because I saw him two week ago and was nice and friendly to him, and gave him a hug. The only reason we are not speaking, is because he knows I don’t approve of his obsession, and he is scared I will tell him off. He’d rather keep his obsession, and have me as his enemy, than have me as a friend and quit the bullshit. It has been eighteen months since this happened, and last month I even wrote too him and said I was deeply sorry for anything I had done that had hurt him, but I couldn’t apologise for things I hadn’t done! I think the problem now is that his family hold a grudge against me. I want to let this go, but we live in the same vicinity and have common friends, so that all adds up to feeling uncomfortable.

  33. says

    I came across this post when I was googling “when they won’t forgive you” because I am struggling with the same issue with my sister and her family. Four years ago I left some hurtful voice mails on my sisters phone when I was going through some serious hurt myself. I was looking to reach out to her for help and my cries went ignored.

    Since then I left numerous voice mails, sent gifts, sent letters. Nothing has worked. My father died 90 days ago and it was the first time I had seen her in over 5 years. You could cut the air with a knife but we seemed to get along pretty well. I spoke to her husband and he told me the letter was “a start.” Well the holidays are rolling around and the entire family is getting together for Thanksgiving and I am still not invited.

    I have asked for forgiveness. I said I was in the wrong, even though I was hurting by their actions, I took complete responsibility. How do you take back hurtful words? If it was money, it would easy to pay her back. I am at a loss. Her kids are now 15 and 9 and they barely know me. That is what is hurting me the most, is that she won’t let me have anything to do with her kids. Soon they won’t be kids anymore and they have no idea why I am not in their life.

    So now I am grieving the loss of my father. I feel so alone. The rest of the family has bonded together and I am still over here all by myself suffering alone. I feel like they know how much it hurts me and that’s why they continue to shut me out. It’s a horrible horrible thought, but I feel like I am being punished.

    My mother wants me to come home and help her clean out all my fathers stuff. I have been called up to help throw away my dad but then they all gather to go to Thanksgiving at my sisters house .

    I got sober a year ago to prove I am a different person. None of it matters I feel like. I have forgiven myself, which was hard enough. I have been crying all day. I want this pain to end.

  34. Alex says

    Yeah, same boat here as well. A girl I once loved got mad at me a VERY long time ago and is still pissed at me to this day. And to be honest, I don’t want her forgiveness at this point. Why would I? Why let her put me through all of this just so she will talk to me again, one day down the road. If even that! To hell with her. This girl quit talking to me back in 2003. Get that? 2003 was over a decade ago, to be certain. I used to love this girl, but because of her stupidity and complete unwillingness to accept my repeated apologies, that love eventually turned to hate. As much as I don’t like the word hate, unfortunately, it applies here. I hate her now, even if she did decide to forgive me for something SO minor that happened more than a friggin decade ago, I’d probably tell her to get lost. Sheesh, now I sound like her! I guess that’s what these people want. For us to become like their hateful selves. Well, mission just about accomplished. In this case anyway.

    So, in 2003, her and I have a bit of a falling out. She was angry to a point that I don’t think I have ever seen in a person. I gave us a good span of 4-5 months away from each other to hopefully cool things off. Those months did NOTHING to calm her down. I made a reach out attempt, and she shut me down quick. We had a very uncivilized conversation where she did nothing but contradict herself all throughout the whole thing. Now, tell me how much sense this makes. Of course, I’m paraphrasing here. I look at her with tears in my eyes and say to her “Look, I am sorry for what I did. Is there any way that we can put this whole thing behind us and move forward? I do not want to lose you. You mean way too much to me. I promise, if I EVER screw up again, I’ll walk away for good”. Her reply was something like. “Are YOU f’n kidding me?? Why should I show you any forgiveness?? I don’t want to know you EVER AGAIN! Lose all of my contact info right f’n now! I wish I never met you. You were no damn friend to me. I mean, I liked you, but that is no more, you can rest assured.” So, I ask her if there is anything I can do to make this up to her. She curses some more, and I turn and walk away telling to to just forget it. Then she says “you never meant a damn thing to me anyway”. So, I ask, if I “never meant a damn thing” to her then why did she say just a moment earlier “I used to like you”? Is that not two completely different things? Also, if I never meant anything to her, then why was she so hurt and offended by what I did, especially to a point that she can’t get over it? If someone you never liked anyway did something to you, then why be so mad? Why hold onto that anger if you “never liked” them?

    The whole conversation went like that. And when I’d point out the contradictions, surprise, surprise, she had no answers! Well fast forward to now, more than a decade later. I figure, “hey, it’s been SO long ago, maybe now we can make up and who knows, maybe even laugh about it”. The decade plus that has passed since then hasn’t calmed this person down ONE TINY BIT. She treated me to a nice little stroll down memory lane. She started to curse and scream all over again, just like she did all those years ago WAY back in 2003! Well, I refused to stand there and listen to it. I don’t know what to say for someone that doesn’t know how to move on with their life. That denotes a serious mental problem. It is hard to believe that I once loved this girl. She is nothing but a childish, judgmental, angry, individual. Not to mention, crazy. I don’t know why anybody feels the need to hold on to anger for so long. What does it accomplish? I mean, do they plan on going to the graves still bitter over such insignificant, minor things? Who knows.

  35. Annonymous Joe says

    I don’t have an answer for you, but I am glad that I found your post, because there is some comfort knowing I am not alone: I am going through this right now for the first time in my life. And I am surprised at how difficult it is.

    I lost contact with one of my all-time best friends when I left home and went to college, and since this person has an extremely common name, I had a very difficult time finding him, because whenever I searched online, I would get thousands of results.

    After continuing to search for nearly 25 years, I finally found him, sent him a friend invite of Facebook, he accepted, and we quickly got reacquainted. This included a couple of very enjoyable phone calls where we laughed and talked about the “good old day,” and it almost seemed as if we had picked up right where we left off.

    After the initial phone calls, we continued to keep in touch on Facebook, but only for a few brief months, and then all of a sudden, he became unresponsive for no apparent reason. No harsh words were ever spoken. All of our interaction seem friendly and nothing was ever said by either one of us that could easily have been construed as offensive.

    What happened?!!! I just don’t get it. I have reached out a few times (only a few because I don’t want to be a pest) via e-mail and via Facebook, but I have received nothing in return but silence for over a year and a half. And this is not because he has unplugged himself from the internet: He is logged in every day, my notes have been marked as seen, he continues to interact with all of his other Facebook friends, and regularly leaves comments for other people, but not me.

    And it’s not only hurtful, it’s maddening! Really! What could I have possibly done that is so horrible that it warrants this sophomoric, passive-aggressive gamesmanship in the form of the silent treatment? It seems like such childish behavior, especially for a middle-aged man.

    He should have been flattered that I thought so highly of him that I was willing to continue to search for him for 25 years, not gone away offended without explaining why. 25+ years! What a let down. Why did I even bother?

    So, anyway, I do not consider myself to be insecure or emotionally fragile. (I’m actually not easily offended.) But I now understand why not being able to obtain forgiveness and set things right is so hurtful and frustrating.

    And it’s not really simply about losing a friend with me. I can get past that. I am actually very angry about this, and that’s what I don’t know how to handle. Hopefully, it will simply fade away as time rolls on.

  36. says

    thank you for sharing this blog
    i used to have a best friend, we were like brother and sister
    i made very foolish mistakes
    and i feel like ive done everything i could, but we still havent talked in almost 2years
    i try not to condemn myself, its hard forgiving myself
    i like the points u made about how forgiveness doesnt mean things will go back to how they were before, or that the pain jus disappears, but its about not holding it against us similar to the grace of our God

  37. SadFriend says

    Hello, I found this while searching for help on the same topic. A couple years ago, I was supposed to be a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding, but I got pregnant and had terrible nausea throughout the pregnancy. As her wedding drew closer, I had to decide that I couldn’t make it because I wouldn’t be able to fly or not be sick (We lived on opposite sides of the country). I felt terrible for putting her in an inconvenient position and apologised, to which she then took very well. After her wedding, she wrote me a nasty email accusing me of messing up her wedding plans and ruining the whole thing. I acknowledged her feelings, but was shocked at how she lacked any sympathy or understanding for my situation – and that the situation was out of my control. We had talked it through and now almost 2 years later, she emails me again to tell me that she wants me to acknowledge her feelings (again), and says she didn’t feel heard the last time. I find this upsetting, as I have acknowledged her feelings, but I don’t believe anything I say or do will satisfy her. We’re both believers, and I am trying to deal with her as compassionately and graciously as I can, but I’m saddened at how selfish she is behaving and that there is now a huge rift between us that I don’t believe will ever be repaired.

  38. says

    “What I don’t get is withholding forgiveness from someone. ”

    Really? Did you really write that? You think people OWE you forgiveness because you asked? Sorry, in your case, you meant “demanded”.

    What I don’t get is people who hurt others, then “ask” for forgiveness and dare use the “It simply means showing someone else the same grace that Christ showed you. If God is willing to forgive us no matter what our sin is, no matter how many times we sin against Him, how can a mere mortal refuse to forgive? “. Don’t you know you compound the pain of the person you offended when you’re nothing but centered on your guilt and your “pain”?

    Forgiveness is a process. A mere mortal cannot forgive on its own. It’s a grace from God. You can only forgive someone AFTER God had cleaned and healed your wound. It might take years in certain cases. You don’t need the person who hurt you, needling you about what a bad Christian you’re because you’re allegedly “refused” to forgive them. Come on! What about you? What about not hurting people in the first place? Besides, sometimes you’ve forgiven the person but you just don’t want anything to do with them… ever.

    You might only be expressing your pain about the loss of your friendship but when I read you, I don’t feel sorry for you because the only thing that seemingly matters to you is YOU. You DEMAND forgiveness.

    • says

      How do you figure I DEMAND forgiveness? I simply asked what I’d done wrong (and she didn’t even have the common courtesy to answer me, but rather to further admonish me because “how could I possibly not know?”), and when she refused to accept my apology, I let it go. I have not “compounded” her pain in any way. In fact, I have apologized when I don’t even know what I did wrong. How in the world can that possibly be viewed as DEMANDing?

      You say “what about not hurting people in the first place?” You know, I don’t even know how to respond to that statement because I have no idea what I did to her. How can I avoid hurting someone if I’ve got no clue what it is that hurt her so badly? I am not the kind of person who is rude and insensitive and makes a habit of treating others poorly, and in fact I work very hard NOT to do that.

      You end your comment saying again that I DEMAND forgiveness. Well, let’s get something straight. I wrote this post over 3 years ago. I am still estranged from this person. She has still never told me what I did so terribly wrong to her, and I have not asked again. I let it go because one thing I didn’t mention when I wrote this post is that this person makes a habit of severing relationships and withholding forgiveness, and I’m just one in a long line of people she’s discarded from her life. SHE’s the one carrying the burden of unforgiveness; I have made my peace with it because I know I’ve done all I can do and even if she can’t forgive me for whatever horrible thing I apparently did to her, I know that God has.

      • Anna says

        First of all, I owe you an apology FOR attacking you. I still have an issue with your statement about the person withholding forgiveness because I think, it is not your place, to say that. It’s your use of the word “withhold” that makes me write that you demand forgiveness. You’ve done your part, you asked for forgiveness and that person has the RIGHT to not forgive you. Lots of people do not understand that but it is the truth. Even Jesus understood that and implied that if the other person doesn’t want to forgive, so be it: from that point, if your apology was sincere, it’s between the person and God. Period. Why do you then have to write about how the person’s “withholding” forgiveness from you? You’re pointing fingers, you’re making a villain of the person, that’s what you’re doing! You’re saying ” Look, she’s a bad person, I’m the good one because I tried to make up for what I did. Proof of it? God forgave me.” Think hard and sleep on my words, you’ll know I’m right.
        You wrote your post because you were obviously hurt but your hurt didn’t give you the right to portray yourself as the sole or main victim. The fact that the person has this habit of “withholding forgiveness, severing relationships and discarding people” is irrelevant. She felt tremendously hurt by you (if she can’t talk about it, trust me, it was the last straw for her), you really don’t know what you did BUT asked for forgiveness in the hope of mending the relationships (THIS IS WHAT’S REALLY HURTING YOU, that you weren’t given the chance to save the relationship), leave it like that! You accept that in life, sometimes, certain things can’t be fixed but you don’t cast stones at people because they refused your apologies.

  39. says

    Wow, I cannot believe what I’ve been reading from adults. Relationships are based on TRUST, Sometimes, when you hurt someone by doing something which might have meant nothing to you, you destroy that trust it took years to build. How can you think that such foundation can be rebuilt with a few “I’m sorry”? Come on! Your actions prove that to some level, you were either untrustworthy or you didn’t care that much about the relationship. Besides, people are different: what means nothing to you might mean the world to someone else. Accept that, understand that! All the comments are so self-centered, self-involved; none of you, none has tried to put themselves in the hurt person’s shoes. Empathy, people! You people, confuse forgiveness and reconciliation. You want everything to be like before the fallout. How could it be? There’s no more trust. Instead of thinking “boohoo, they’re so heartless and hateful, they refuse to forgive my magnificent self”, why don’t you go: “Oh boy, did I really hurt him or her that badly?” Besides, asking for forgiveness doesn’t only mean spouting apologies, you also have to make amends and try to repair your wrongs. You wanna ask for forgiveness the right way? Pray God to show you how to ask and above all to prepare the heart of the other person so that she’ll be able to witness your genuineness. Geez, what’s wrong with you people? Forgiveness IS NOT a right.

    • Joyce Cote says

      Hi Chrissy,
      My story is a bit different from the ones I’ve read thusfar. I suffer from severe depression & anxiety. My dear parents & oldest sister have passed. There is only my one other older sister and one brother left. My sister & I have stayed close, talking on the phone a lot, her & her husband visiting us in Florida often. She has always been there to listen when I was going through a hard time due to my depression & anxiety. What I want you to know is that we come from a close, loving family. But this sister does have a cold streak in her that the whole family was aware of. She very rarely called my sister Ann when she was fighting for her life. She didn’t speak to my sisters husband or son. I never got involved in that. I just know if I mentioned them in conversation, she would adamantly say she did not want to talk about them. That’s all I want to say about that. Well I was in the ER on one occasion due to my anxiety and shortness of breath. I was very scared. I called this sister to let her know, hoping to hear some concern & to make me feel all would be OK. Her response after telling her what was going on was, well let me know how you make out. I should have just said OK. But with my anxiety & fathers irish temper I didn’t just leave it alone. I made a comment about her being cold, she made a comment, this went back & forth. I finally let her know, I guess wanting to hurt her, that my parents always thought she was cold too. She eventually hung up on me. When I was discharged, and went home I called her to apologize and talk. Her husband answered the phone & said she didn’t want to speak to me, that I had said some terrible things. I told him I agreed, & wanted to apologize to her, and said we were sisters, we should be talking this over. She would not get on the phone & has not spoken to me since. Initially I kept leaving her voicemails to please call me back to talk, that I was sorry.
      I then got angry. At the time, I didn’t realize I was going through severe withdrawal from Xanax which my Dr had prescribed to me about a year earlier. He had not warned me it was very addictive, & I was on a very high dose. Another Dr, my primary care Dr I followed up with after being in the ER, told me all of this, & admitted me to the hospital to take me off this terrible drug. I also had to go through a detox program. Here I am, a 60 year old woman, an RN, in a program with all young kids going off of heroin & drugs I’ve never even heard of. My sister still would not talk to me. Once in a while her husband would pick up his phone & I explained to him what was going on. I could not believe my family was reacting like this, even after hearing what I was going through. They knew me, that I would never take a medication that was not prescribed to me, but they were treating me with such hatred, no compassion. We weren’t raised this way.
      Now I was very hurt & angry & in no way tried to hide it & feel bad for them for how they were treating thier sister. I started leaving nasty voicemails for my sister, her husband, her 2 sons who I had always been so close to but were not talking to me either. I felt like I was losing my mind. I needed my parents so badly. my brother & his daughter still are close with me, don’t want to get involved, & have made it clear that they don’t agree with how I handled everything. I did eventually say some very hateful things on voicemail. I felt like I couldn’t get nasty enough. I could not control my actions at this point due to the withdrawaal symptoms. It has taken me a year, with lots of
      treatment to get through the nightmare.
      At this point I know I have lost half of my family & I have to live with the guilt, and the loss of family I thought was so close & loving. Now I’m reading a lot of self help books to get over the guilt & anger I feel I also pray a lot. I have a loving wonderful husband of 30 years that has helped me through this past year.
      What started out as a stupid argument has turned into a nightmare, mostly because I didn’t leave things be. Not making excuses, but the withdrawal problems didn’t help my moods, and my anger. I don’t know what I’m looking for in writing this book to you, lol, but it was therapeutic writing it all down. I don’t feel very good about myself & things I’ve done this past year, but I guess the love I thought was there, wasn’t I miss & love my sister. There comes a time that apologies don’t matter anymore.
      Thank You for listening,

    • Alex says

      Hey, Anna! Woah!! Back it down a notch, there. It is painfully obvious that you have ZERO clue what you are talking about! Apparently, you have always been forgiven. And don’t sit up on your high horse and claim that you have NEVER hurt anyone. Because baby, that would be a lie. You have. Admit it. By virute of being human, you have hurt someone at some point. You are partially correct about one thing. Forgiveness is not a right. However, the reason we are on here posting what we are posting is because of the simple fact that we are all dealing with the same kind of person her. We are dealing with people who have are, by and large, hypocritical. They are hypocritical in that they themselves want to be forgiven when they screw up, but if someone else does, they toss them out of their lives in the blink of an eye. We are dealing with people who hold us to extrememly high standards. Standards that they themselves could not begin to live up to. What is you answer for that?

      Scroll up and read my previous post about a former girlfriend who quit talking to me 12 years ago. Get that? 12 years! Tell me, who holds on to anger that long? Well, you apparently do, so maybe you can relate to these other types of people. But anyway, 12 years ago, we had a fallout. And let me tell you, we were both at fault. I forgave her, but she never forgave me. Shoot, I basically did as I was told to do, BY HER!! I just submitted myself to her. I shouldered ALL of the blame. I jumped through all kinds of hoops.. And still, she just couldn’t bring herself to forgive me. Yet, she expected me to forgive her. Get that? She expected that of me, yet I was not to expect anything of her? That’s crazy! Don’t get me wrong, I am FAR better off without her now, and even if she came up to me and told me that she was finally going to forgive me, then I would turn it down. It’s just funny to me that she, and people like her, love to live by double standards.

      Again, you are correct that forgiveness isn’t a right, per se. But, how can these individuals expect to be forgiven when they screw up, yet they don’t want to show any themselves? Explain that one to me. Also, these people do NOT have an unlimited time period on their hurt. None of us do. I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but unless someone did something SO unbelievably bad to you, then there needs to come a time when you just finally get over it. Somehow, some way. If nothing else, the passage of time SHOULD make it fade. Otherwise, what is the point of your life if all you are ever going to do is walk around being ticked off about some crap that happened SO long ago? Now, there are situations where forgiveness is out of the question. But, it has to be something REALLY messed up. As in the other person cost you your livelihood. Harmed you physically. Killed a relative. That sort of thing. People who want to walk around angry for the rest of their lives over petty crap (and yes, a lot of it is petty) are only hurting themselves.

  40. Donald says

    When my friend wouldn’t forgive me (and this has now lasted for 19 years), I had a series of dangerous psychotic breaks (often referred to, much too mildly, as “nervous breakdowns”). I realize now that I did the right thing by reaching out, and that Christ promises that if he continues to refuse to forgive me, Christ will not forgive even one single one of HIS sins.

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