Psychologists Explain How to Truly Forgive Someone And Let Go

“When we’ve been treated deeply unfairly by others, we should have the tools to deal with that so the effects of that injustice don’t take hold in an unhealthy way.” ~ Dr. Robert Enright

We all know what it feels like to be wronged by someone.

We’ve all felt the pain of betrayal and the hurt of mistreatment.

Maybe your spouse cheated on you.

Maybe your parent(s) neglected you.

Maybe your friend lied to you.

Maybe somebody disowned you.

Maybe your peers made fun of you.

And the list goes on.

These things sucked then, and thinking of them sucks now, albeit to a lesser degree (hopefully.)

Emotions and wrongdoing

Our reactions to being wronged are different. Some rely on their resolve, “picking up the pieces” (or say so, anyway); some are neutral – perhaps numb; others find it difficult to move on.


The emotions created from maltreatment can be ingrained into the psyche. The reason for the long-lasting effects of maltreatment is this: our brains are wired to create a memory in proportion to the emotional arousal of the situation.

Memory champions the world over talk about arousal, which is our brain’s innate tendency to remember things that are emotionally impactful.

Unfortunately, this “brain rule” applies to adverse events – including abuse and trauma. The rule also helps to explain why the emotions associated with maltreatment – anxiety, depression, fear, isolation, insomnia, etc. – may be long-lasting.

When experiencing negative emotions – such as those mentioned above – it is essential to your psychological health to resolve them. To do so takes time, effort, and emotional capital; but, in the long-term, you’re much better off mentally.

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