The "F" Word
The first step, Dr. Robin says, is to have a conversation and validate whatever their reason is for feeling injured by them without condemning them. "Forgiveness is a journey. And part of the journey is about acknowledging the suffering, the pain, whatever it is that your family … feels injured by," Dr. Robin says. "So you want to start by just saying to [them], 'We really get that you feel hurt, that you feel betrayed, that you feel … whatever it is [they're] feeling."
If they continue struggling to forgive, Dr. Robin says to tell them how holding a grudge is a waste of time and energy. "If you invite them to give up the exhaustion, to give up the banner of unforgiveness and pick up the banner of living, that would really be the next step," she says. "Because a lot of people think that they are empowering themselves by holding onto the grudge."