You don’t have to let anyone toxic know you’ve forgiven them. You don’t have to approach them and speak the words aloud in order for them to count. You can simply forgive them in your heart. As long as you know you forgive them, that’s the most important thing, because then you can start to move on from the pain they have caused.
Of course, forgiving them doesn’t mean you believe you were in the wrong after all. It doesn’t mean you believe their choices were justified after giving it some more thought. It doesn’t mean you believe you were originally overreacting when you got mad at them. It doesn’t mean you suddenly believe what they did to you was okay.
What they did was not okay. That hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is the way you’re allowing yourself to view the situation. The only thing that has changed is that you’re sick of carrying around so much anger in your heart. You want to feel better. You want this weight off your chest. You want a sense of peace, of closure.
Forgiveness isn’t for everyone, but it could be exactly what you need. It could help ease your pain. It could help you heal in the long-run.
Of course, forgiving a toxic person doesn’t mean you’re ever going to accept that type of treatment again. It doesn’t mean you’re comfortable allowing them back into your world. It doesn’t mean you’re completely free from resentment and anger and frustration. There are always going to be some lingering bad feelings. You cannot shut off your emotions. You cannot stop yourself from caring, even when you’ve chosen to forgive this person who has done you wrong.
Remember, you can forgive a toxic human while still recognizing that you’re better off without them. Even though you accept what they put you through in the past, you don’t have to open yourself up to the same type of treatment in the future. You don’t have to give them another shot, simply because they’ve sworn they’ve changed, simply because they’ve promised never to hurt you again. They had a chance to treat you right and they blew it.
Maybe they would do better in the future — but maybe they don’t deserve the chance to prove that to you. Maybe you’re better off without them. Maybe knowing they were okay with hurting you even once is enough to prove they don’t deserve a spot in your world. Maybe the best thing you can do for yourself is accept that you can have some good memories of a person without risking your well-being to create some more.
Remember, even once you’ve reached a place where you can forgive someone who has done you wrong, you aren’t obligated to allow them back into your world. You don’t have to return the key to your heart. You don’t have to give them another chance to hurt you. You don’t owe them anything. They’re lucky they’re getting your forgiveness. You don’t have to give them anything else.