I am Pam Masters and I am a collaborative family lawyer, which is to say that I am a settlement specialist and I guide couples and families on the difficult journey of divorce without court involvement. I do this is ways that protects children, preserves financial assets and creates healthy co-parenting relationships.
Being able to forgive and to let go of past hurts is a critical tool in healing from divorce. Being able to forgive is a way to keep yourself healthy both emotionally and physically.
If you hold onto old hurts, disappointments, petty annoyances, betrayals, insensitivity, and anger, you are wasting both your time and your energy. Nursing your hurt (whether real or perceived) for too long can eventually make it turn into something more—hate and extreme bitterness.
can also wear you down. Being unforgiving takes both a physical and mental toll. Resentment gains momentum and chips away at the foundation of your well-being and your relationship. You may have seen my facebook post about the father who paid his last child support payment in pennies—something like 80,000 of them. This made me so sad-both for his daughter and him. He clearly had nursed an old hurt until it had hardened into hate and extreme bitterness and towards his own daughter. I think I feel most sad for him because one day he will realize what he has done and his despair will be bottomless. Holding on to hurts also bad for your physical health. Health experts at Johns Hopkins report that the act of forgiveness can reduce the risk of heart attack, lower cholesterol levels, improve sleep, reduce pain, lower your blood pressure, and decrease levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. Studies have also suggested that forgiveness provides substantial benefits.1
There are different techniques you can use to find a place of forgiveness when you have experienced betrayal. Consider each method and find the combination that works best for you.
The hurt you have suffered may make a difference. Certainly, it is more difficult to forgive a spouse for years of infidelity than it is for a more or several more minor mistakes. Try to be patient with yourself as you experiment with different strategies.
Collaborative divorce process helps with the healing. Through the collaborative divorce process, you can find peace, closure, and yes, a path to forgiveness. You can be better at divorce than you were at marriage and you can leave your marriage feeling proud of the choices you made to be kind and seek peaceful resolution.