You may have done a lot of work in You may have done a lot of work in forgiveness. You are almost done.


But, there is that one person left. The one who has hurt you the most. No matter what you do, you can’t forgive the harm.

We all have that one. We are not saints. And yet, we know our lack of forgiveness is hurting us. Not the person. They may already be long gone from your life or even dead.

There are two steps before forgiveness that are the only way I have found to give relief.

No, it is not letting them off the hook.


Hard as it is to accept, most offenders are trying to make themselves feel better.

I heard someone say that even Jeffrey Dahmer killed all those boys (and ate them) because at some deep sick level, he thought it would make him feel better. Obviously, it didn’t because he kept it up until he was finally caught.

His pitiful apology to the parents at his trial told the world how sorry he was. It was too late but it indicated that his compulsion was out of his control.

The person who injured you so badly was not out to hurt you then. There may have been some terrible pain within them that they were trying to get rid of and you happened to be there. You were the target.

So, all the shame and resentment you have suffered all those years has nothing to do with you. It had to do with someone else’s pain.

Perhaps that person was mentally ill. Or, a drunk. Or desperate because he was unemployed. You know the person. What was the situation at that time? He was certainly not in his right mind. Perhaps, not for a long time. Maybe a lifetime.

If you were passing a mental hospital and a patient was screaming obscenities at you out of a window, would you take it personally? It might upset you, but does it have any basis in reality?

I am also not forgetting that there are some people who are evil – born mean.

That is no reflection on you.

The injury you suffered had nothing to do with your reality. And yet, secretly, those of us who have not been able to forgive continually ask the question, “What did I do wrong to provoke this? I must have been bad.”

This is particularly true of women who have been sexually abused. Especially, if the abuse came from a family member. We ask ourselves, over and over through the years, “If someone that important did this to me, I must have provoked it, in some way deserved it.”

You didn’t. In most cases, you were too young to even understand what was going on. You were innocent. It was not your fault.

Sometimes, the offense was someone you trusted cheating you. Why would they do that? Try to understand it. Were they so lacking in money or self esteem? Were they just greedy?

Again, you know them. Why would they do it? Look at them as though you were not involved. Step away. Pretend it happened to someone else. Why did they do it? Be an outside psychologist.

In all cases, it comes down to the basic answer. Whoever hurt you did it to make themselves feel better in some way. They probably did the same to others you don’t know. But, that is not your problem.

This introspection leads to the second point which is AWARENESS.

If you are truly aware of the motivation of the person who hurt you, you put a different spin on it for yourself. It separates you from the action.

It does not excuse them. What they did was wrong. They have to live with it, not you.

You are no longer entwined in what happened. They stand alone – individuals by themselves. With their own problem and motivation.

You had nothing to do with it. That person is a stranger who happened into your life. Not much different than someone you read about in the paper. A drive by shooting. Very sad but no one you know.

You now don’t have to forgive someone you hardly know and barely remember.

It is time to let it go and move on. If you can’t forgive – so be it. Forgive yourself for not forgiving.

Your work is done when you stop giving that person and their cruelty free rent and energy in your head.





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“He said he still loved me but he was not “in love” with me anymore.”

The house was listed for sale and we were looking for a new place, when he sent me an email telling me he wanted a divorce. Can you imagine? An email!

She was 30. Beautiful, smart, skinny, hip and “only his business assistant.” I’ve always been suspicious of the relationship. A woman always knows.

I was 50. Just a little overweight – but what do you expect after six children and catching food on the fly as I drove the kids to all their activities in the suburbs? A typical hockey mom who needed a haircut and who did not have “manicure and pedicure please” in her vocabulary.”

“We had been married 25 years and I had gone through all the bad times with him. Now, he was at the top of his game. Powerful, rich and still very attractive.

He was out of town. I called him immediately to see if this was some kind of a sick joke. He said he needed a change.

Obviously, the only antidote for this news is suicide.


We have no time for that kind of thinking. No one is worth your health or your life. No one. And if you think this will bring him back – you are wrong. He has probably already made up his mind.

It also gives him a wonderful excuse. Who could stay with such a “crazy lady?” You are not a crazy lady. Your strength at this point is he knows you very well and will underestimate your capability of playing hardball.

But you must. In spite of the SHOCK – there must be a stronger word but it will have to do – you have to act immediately. Speed is important.

Here is your initial plan.

You go to the bank. Go to your broker. Get certified checks – not cashiers – for half of any liquid assets available that include your name and have them made out to you. If anyone questions you, tell them it is for a real estate closing.

Then, you go to a different bank, open a new account in your name alone and deposit the checks.


Because men use money to control. And you don’t want to have start begging for money for groceries and your kid’s school trip. You thinkyour husband would never do this to you, but they do.

If the accounts are drained, you need to get an attorney immediately.

He doesn’t think you would do this. Just do it.

Next you go into his home office. All of his IRS, bank statements, stock market statements will probably be neatly stored. He does not give you credit for being clever so they are probably there.

If the drawers are locked, call a locksmith. You lost the keys.

Put all the records into a garbage bag and have everything copied. Every piece of financial paper you can find. Information on pensions, contracts with his employer. Take these copies to your mother’s house or your best friend’s and put them in their basement. Return his records to his files.

Sure, you can get these later but your having these records will save time and money later because your attorney will not have to subpoena for them. Attorneys charge you by the minute not the case.

You are not allowed the luxury of having a nervous breakdown yet. There is more to do.

Look at your credit cards. Are they in your name or are you a signature on your husband’s  account? If you are, call the credit card companies and have them issue cards in your individual name. Tell them it is easier for you when a store asks for an ID. Pay extra for FEDEX to get the cards immediately.

Next. Stay with me. I know this is hard.

You have several friends who have been divorced. Call them up. You don’t have to tell them this is for you. You want the names of the top divorce attorneys in the city – maybe for a good friend of yours. They may have been the lawyers who represented their former husbands. Gather three or four names and call their offices and make an appointment to see them. Right away. Divorce attorneys may not charge for an initial visit. If they do, pay the consultant fee. Your future is at stake.

It could also prevent your husband from using these top lawyers because they will now have a “conflict of interest.”

Listen to your intuitive gut. You will get a feeling of who you can work with in the future if you need to. This could be a long, drawn out process so you want someone you like – someone you feel is capable of protecting you and your children financially. You don’t have to hire anyone just yet but make a preliminary decision. It will make you feel more powerful and you need this now.

This is not a good time for you to move – so if your house or condo is for sale, cancel the listing.

Things are too unsettled right now to consider or even make a good decision on where you might want to live in the future.

Keep things status quo for you and your children at this time. You need to maintain a stable environment. Everything else in your life is going up in flames.

  1. You can fall apart for now. You have done some tough work. Work out of your comfort zone.

The fireworks are about to begin.

At some point, there will be a meeting. Perhaps he will have second thoughts. Maybe even agree to marriage counseling. And, who knows? Maybe even reconciliation. For a moment or a while. Do the best you can with what is for now.

Even if the counseling doesn’t work, the therapist could act as a mediator in an eventual divorce and help you and your family to adjust to this radical new situation. In addition to a couple’s therapist, get one of your own. You need someone to talk to besides your mother, sister or friends.

In any event, don’t back off from the actions you have taken financially until you have a bullet proof legal agreement.

One cardinal rule.

Do not bad mouth this man to your children. It is tempting but it will hurt them. And it will not help you. They will have their own angry feelings, maybe even blame you, and you don’t want to add to that by tearing them apart by choosing sides. He is their father and hopefully, will continue to act as such.

Now, stop. Let time pass

Your inclination is to sit in your chair and stare at the ceiling. And that is okay. You feel as though your life has ended and although it has not, no one will be able to convince you of that just now.

Try to force yourself to get up and do something. Even if it is just walking to the corner to mail a letter. It doesn’t have to be a lot right away. But, be kind to yourself. You have post traumatic stress disorder.

Fortunately, you have to take care of your family which will force you into some semblance of activity. You have to shop, feed them and do the laundry.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross, in her many books, talks about the five stages of grief.

Denial. “This can’t be happening to me.” Not accepting or even acknowledging the loss.

Anger. “Why me?” Wanting to attack or get even. Lots of blame.


Bargaining. Trying to make deals with the spouse who is leaving. Making deals with God. Begging. Wishing. Praying that he will come home.

Depression. Feelings of hopelessness. Mourning the future you will not have now.

Acceptance. Not resignation. Just realizing that it has happened.

You need help with all these stages. Get it. It not seem possible but you will survive. Healing will come.

Don’t let anyone tell you when it will happen. You have your own time frame.

And one day, you may meet someone who loves you and is “in love” with you too.

Disclaimer: Please note that this article is the sole opinion of the author who is not an attorney. Please consult your own legal counsel.

This is an excerpt.  For the entire book go to Amazon.

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