I have struggled to forgive in my lifetime and still have to consciously decide to remain in that mode. First I was traumatized in childhood and the results of that was CPTSD which made it hard to reshuffle the mental deck, so to speak. I have heard it said PTSD is not about letting go of the past... it is when the past does not let go of you. And a flip side of the same diagnosis makes one forgetful of the little things.
I try to make sure in writing about my darkest times that I also capture the good... it is like a Thomas Kincaid painting... one speck of light lights up the entire portrait just the same. They call him the painter of light, but he painted a lot of dark storms with a dark landscape... illuminated by a tiny lamp in a lighthouse, or in a lantern in a cabin window.
In order to consider forgiveness, I have had to learn what it does not mean: agreeing with the abuser or changing my story to say that what happened is now suddenly a good memory. I forgave my backstabbing family but I also let them all go recently. "Those that sow wind will reap a storm," it says somewhere. The law of reaping and sewing is already handling it! I have seen karma take a quarter century and then show up as a terminal disease no doctor has ever even heard of. The trick then, was not to gloat or feel gleeful over another’s misfortune, however richly deserved. Forgiveness doesn't change the story, and it doesn't rewrite history. It is important to understand forgiveness also doesn't mean reconnection with an unrepentant and/or repeat offender. It means leaving your oppressors in their sick behaviour knowing they are already suffering by acting the way they do.
What I like best about my research is: "to forgive means to stop wishing the past had been any different."
One thing that has helped me forgive all the shmucks that have passed through my life is just telling myself: the right people will act right. Clearly those people would have done right by me if they were right for me. Still that's a hard pill to swallow about my own parents and family. I came from them and they are not my people?
In AA we used to say: treat everyone that wrongs you like a sick person. It’s hard to get or stay mad at someone who has an illness; although covid has complicated that a bit.
Forgiveness to me now stands for: Forgetting Oppressive Rage Gotten In Violating Experiences and Surviving Sweetly. I have learned and am learning to leave people's crummy actions with them, because after all the reason people do things are based on themselves, I am just the occasional occasion.
People re-traumatize victims by demanding they forgive their abusers, even judging you as "bitter." Most importantly; we need to forgive ourselves for the negatives we experienced. Maybe we stayed too long or feel we should have tried harder... I have needed to forgive myself for those reasons, and I do.