How to Forgive

How to find closure when no apology is given.

There are times in our lives when other people treat us poorly. They may not mean to. Or they may just be pathological individuals who harm everyone they meet. Usually, no apology is given and when it is, the person is so busy defending their own ego that the apology sounds hollow.

The number of famous people caught in scandals who then say – I’m sorry that you were offended by what I said. Not, I shouldn’t have said it and I was an idiot. This is the classic nonapology apology that is little more than an acknowledgement that someone else got hurt, but it still isn’t really my fault.

There are several things you can do for yourself to help you get over something when no apology is made. If you want to know how you can be happy despite what happened, this is how. Consider these as essential life skills that will help you move forward. 


The key to getting over these things is to accept that you aren’t going to get the apology you deserve.  I mean think about it. If this person was capable of a real apology, they probably wouldn’t have hurt you in the first place.


Many times we want an apology because we need to know why something happened. Why did this person act the way they did. We can’t find closure because we just don’t understand what motivated the other person to behave so badly. The truth is they may not even know why they did what they did. Maybe they are mentally ill. Maybe they were under stress you didn’t know about. Maybe they were working on instinct and were afraid. People do really stupid things when they are afraid or stressed. The way to get over this is to understand, you don’t actually need to know the reasons why. It won’t change what happened. It won’t help you contextualize what happened. I won’t change anything. Most people feel the need to understand because what they are really hoping for is to massage their own ego and absolve ourselves of any lingering guilt we may feel over our own actions which may not have been so wonderful either. 


You may want to spend some time thinking about WHY you feel you need an apology. Often it is because of our own ego. We want our hurt to be acknowledged by the person who hurt us. It may be that we want to be acknowledged as being right in whatever conflict occurred.  In almost every case, if you feel you are owed an apology you will find that your desire for an apology has more to do with your insecurities than with what the other person did or did not do.  If you deal with your insecurities, you will find that you don’t actually need the other person to apologize. And this is good because an apology isn’t likely to happen.


You may feel that in order to start healing, you need an apology. This is an excuse. Healing is hard. It means accepting what happened. It means accepting your role in what happened so that you can learn and grow from it. It means integrating what happened into your life into your understanding of who you are and more importantly, who you now want to be. Seeking an apology is a way to avoid the hard work of healing by continuing to blame the other person for all that is wrong in your life. That way it isn’t your fault it is theirs. If you want to find closure, take responsibility for your own healing. Don’t continue to give your power away to someone else.

Yes, you were wronged. You may have been traumatized. You may have scars both physical and emotional that will never heal. So what? You are responsible for your actions in response to what happened to you. You can continue to cast blame or you can get on with moving on and focus your time and energy on what comes next.


When you recognize that the other person is too damaged to apologize you will probably stop feeling the need to make them responsible for what happened.  Compassion really is a selfish emotion to feel. It is something you do for you. It helps you to stop blaming them for what they did. It helps you accept the reality of what happened. It helps you to focus on your needs and your own failings so that you can let go of the anger so that you can let go of the pain and allow yourself to heal.

Are you still holding on to pain and wishing and hoping for an apology?  What has helped you to let go and find closure?

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