He may not have the capability to take on the full impact of the injury he’s caused you; however, forgiveness is a very crucial part of your healing journey and your mental health. Don’t rush into “cheap forgiveness” what Dr. Springs refers to as a quick remedy because "I am told to, I'm a good person, I'm a christian, it's the way was brought up, It's the right things to do".
Forgiveness does not infer that his behaviors are forgotten, as though this never happened. The consequences of the injuries will exist long after. Reconciling involves a lot of work. It’s been eleven years since discovery/disclosure for my husband and I, and it took a couple of years for me to get to genuine forgiveness. The initial consequences of his acting out and triggers left me feeling raw with anger that I had to process, “If you ever do anything like this again, we are done.” The fight was what I needed to stay in my protective mode and hold to my limits and boundaries.
It took a lot of energy to stay there.
Whatever your pattern is in a threat response; fight, flight or flee, it takes energy and awareness to stay in the hear and now, and practice self care. I wrestled with my emotions, particularly anger, and the underlying primary emotion of how deeply hurt I was that my husband had the capability of keeping a secret from me that could stir up such pain.
One of the many turning points for me was surrendering my anger and asking God to open my eyes and heart, and allow me to see the new man he was becoming. At that point I knew I was ready to put the gauntlet down and start the process of taking my armor off and trust my ability to open myself up, one layer at a time, somewhat guarded, as I continued to observe his new behaviors and see the authenticity and congruence.
You may not want to go anywhere near forgiveness at this time. The addict may not be taking responsibility for reconciliation and ownership for his actions. Amy's husband went to prison and left her with small children. She was left alone to reorganize her life. She experienced every emotion you can imagine, including missing him. A year later and divorced, Amy was able to let go of her dream with the man she loved, letting go and forgiveness is never easy.
Take a moment and define what forgiveness means to you?
Janis Abrahms Springs How Can I Forgive You? Harper: 2004, p. 15.