Freedom to Not Forgive a Person with Anti Social Personality Disorder and/or Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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If you have been looking for permission to NOT forgive the psychopath/narcissist/Cluster B personality type/ASPD person in your life, then I hereby grant that permission to you.


In many religious upbringings, we have been taught that forgiveness is morally required of us.

I grew up Catholic and my attitudes about forgiveness were based in Matthew 18: 21-23:

21Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

 22Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

I am convinced that the only reason that Jesus ever said such a thing is that he NEVER encountered anyone with Anti Social Personality Disorder or any other Cluster B Personality Type!

Forgiving the person in my life with Anti Social Personality Disorder harmed me. It has harmed me, my children and my elderly father. Because we wanted to forgive, we forgave a person who was not worth forgiving because he had not earned our forgiveness.

The consequence of forgiving this person was that I let him back into our lives again, to do more damage. As if he had not done enough damage twenty years before.

The damage he created twenty years before included  me, his wife, not having any place to live and not having enough food to eat from the time his daughter was born until she was four. Without child support from him (as he was too busy selling drugs and getting high to be responsible) my daughter and I lived in substandard housing until she was eight. We often did not have enough money for heat or proper clothing. Most of the time, we did not own a car because we could not afford one. I never asked for child support, nor let him know where we were living, because I was afraid of the friends he had and didn’t want him having any contact with us as long as he was selling drugs.

There are emotional damages as well. The emotional damage to me, who believed for years that I was not worth being treated decently, as one would treat a wife. The damage to his daughter, who grew up knowing that her father preferred getting high over being being responsible for her.

But I forgave him this; she forgave  him this, when he asked us, four years ago. We forgave him for not caring for us, for not being there for us, for putting us in a place of danger when she was a young baby.

The consequences of forgiving him have been dire. The emotional harm to both of us has been intense.

I believe that forgiving him was the WRONG thing to do. He sought forgiveness and we forgave him. Why? Simply because he asked it and because we wanted to believe in the miracle of a father, of a husband, returned to us.  The fact was that his offences were unforgivable. Maybe if he’s spent a few years earning our forgiveness, then he’d be worth forgiving. But just to forgive him because he asked us?

It was the wrong move.

Learn from me. Be very careful.

Do not forgive those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Anti Social Personality Disorder easily. These are people who do not change. They will only hurt you again.



14 thoughts on “Freedom to Not Forgive a Person with Anti Social Personality Disorder and/or Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  1. Forgiving him means letting go of the negativity and toxicity that a narcissist brings, so I think it’s necessary. If you never forgive, YOU will always live with the negativity and hatred which is not good for YOUR health. Forgiving doesn’t mean condoning; on the contrary, you do it for you, not him. I forgave my exs (narcissists) but I never let them back into my life in any way. I turned the page and tried to learn from the experience. I feel much better for it and was able to move on to better and happier living!

    Good luck to you…

    • Thanks for your response. I am realizing through writing this blog that forgiveness means different things to different people.

      I read a great book last year, “The Courage to Forgive; the Freedom Not To” by Janis A. Spring, because I was stuck in a place of feeling that I had to forgive him and yet, I could not. In this book, Ms. Spring explained how one could let go without forgiveness, which was new and helpful for me. After reading it, I was able to cut psychic ties and walk away (metaphorically.)


  2. It feels like this person was looking for an easy ride with you. It is good to be careful as you said. I like this post. ty

  3. Pingback: Freedom to not forgive.. « My journey of healing from psychological abuse

  4. Reblogged this on My journey of healing from psychological abuse and commented:
    Compassionate human beings, are we…(thank you Yoda! lol!). They beg for forgiveness, we forgive. It’s a good cycle, generally. When it pertains to a psychopath, it’s the WORST thing you can do!!!

    When I tried to break up with my X (before I truly realized just WHAT he is), he sent me a 4-page email, telling me how depressed he was, and used that as an excuse for all the tormenting, following, ignoring, etc..that he had done. He (this is SICK) actually told me that he talked to my deceased father, to apologize for mistreating me. It was all an act..all the way down to the tears he showed. Keep in mind, psychopaths are INCAPABLE of feeling emotion!!! They mimic what they have seen, as it pertains to seeing whatever sick con-game through, that they view as necessary.

    I remember a time that I was at his house. He and I were watching a movie when he got the call. The voice on the answering machine said “Mom and [step-dad] have been in a car accident…they are at [the] hospital, pretty banged up…” We were sitting less than 10 feet away from the phone. He just sat there. I told him, thinking the reason for the non-reaction COULD possibly be because he didn’t want to offend me (excuses), “It’s ok if you want to call…you aren’t going to bother me in the least!”. His reply?? “Oh, it’s just more emotionalism and drama” and he didn’t move a muscle or show any type of concern. Then all of a sudden, a few weeks later, pulls out the “I’m depressed” card. Something I learned about him…he uses the victim role to gain people’s trust…to make them believe his lies…it’s a cover-up.

    I’ve tried, begged, and longed for the ability to HATE HIM!! The thing is, I’m completely unable to hate him… In order to do so, first I have to view the “person” as HUMAN. Fact is, I don’t. He’s not human, doesn’t show any human characteristics…only those that are part of his twisted facade, which he uses with cunning skill…like a lion after a small calf.

    When I chose to give him another chance, it gave him more ability to find other things about me (I openly told him several things) that he could use as fuel to keep me teetering, and use against me to “prove” his integrity in the relationship to others. What a F***ed up individual!


  5. Forgiveness is such a complex thing. It’s hard to even define what forgiveness is. If we are able to ‘detach’ from an abuser, might that not be considered ‘forgiveness’? I think detachment is what most people strive for, especially in the beginning when ‘holding on’ is destroying our lives and our spirit. You can’t live with that degree of suffering forever because it messes up your chances to have healthy relationships with other people. Letting go of the narcissistic relationship is the goal.

    So many people thoughtlessly insult others whom they ‘judge’ to be holding a grudge and they merrily suggest we forgive and forget. Well, I’ve had to do a lot of thinking about that and since I talk with survivors every day, victims of narcissists and psychopaths would generally LOVE to forgive and forget. But they can’t. It’s not that easy. Sure, some people can dissociate from their pain or maybe repress memories and painful emotions and lie to themselves that they’ve forgiven the narcissist. Then everybody is happy, except of course, for the victim, who in an effort to AVOID the healing process, has opted for a fantasy.

    Working through the aftermath of the pathological relationship is taxing, tiring, overwhelming, and frightening. It’s tempting to opt out of this chain of miserable events through psychological mechanisms intended to defend a fragile ego from too much pain too soon. In my view, we should trust our psyche to know how much we can handle and for how long. If we are not ready to forgive (and unless someone wants to be victimized again, they should always remember and never forget) then we should practice giving ourselves compassion and accept that where we are in this process is perfectly okay.

    I used this guideline from Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert M. Pressman’s book, “The Narcissistic Family”. They counseled readers with this advice:

    “…In our experience, the self-imposed pressure to forgive the perpetrator often gets in the way of genuine recovery, as it can act to shut off the patient’s necessary expression of anger and self-validation of feelings. When patients ask about the subject, we usually respond by telling them that in our experience, forgiveness is a feeling or condition of being more than an act. As such, it cannot be legislated or decided upon; if it happens, it happens on its own…”


    • This makes sense to me. You’ve brought up some good points. For me, the bottom line is not staying stuck in the pain. Whatever you have to do to get there is irrelevant but for me, forgiveness, of him and myself, was what set me free.

      • I agree, the bottom line for the victim is to move through the pain, in the best way that he or she can.


    • Thanks for sharing that powerful quote. I’ll have to check out that book.

      For me, forgiveness is more than detachment, but I’m not sure how to put it in words. Strange, perhaps we are all operating with different definitions of what forgiveness means. I guess for me forgiveness is a spiritual act, wherein I ‘grant’ forgiveness to the person who ‘trespassed’ against me. (So, given my Catholic upbringing, its all wrapped up in the Lord’s prayer, lol)

      This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever not forgiven someone. I was able to let go without forgiving by coming to what seemed to be a logical conclusion which also solved my religious dilemma; if he wanted forgiveness, then he could ask it himself of God, but I was neither able nor willing to grant it to him. Therefore, the question of forgiveness, is out of my hands completely.


  6. Oh, I completely agree with you lxchel. Forgiveness ‘is’ more than detachment. We can detach from someone who owes us a debt of some kind but that doesn’t mean we’ve released them from the debt. I can detach from my former relationship with a good friend who stole my car and didn’t return it; I still want my car back.

    Forgiveness (in one way to look at it) means I no longer seek restoration, repayment, a return on what the narcissist ‘owes’ me and believe me, it’s plenty. I even felt like he owed our kids because he stole our ‘family’. My anger has been a devil to deal with over that which led me to concentrate on creating family ,or a reconstruction of family. That made it easier to ‘forgive’.

    (I could ramble forever on this topic, LOL!!). It felt important to come back and comment because my comment sounds rather shallow…and forgiveness is a difficult complex topic with richer and deeper meanings than ‘detachment’.

    When I grew up, forgiveness was given cheaply. Somebody hurt you and automatically, you were told to ‘forgive’. That was a stuuuuuuuuupid interpretation that was promoted by people who didn’t want to be held accountable. Now there’s a topic…who’s insisting on forgiveness? The victim or the perpetrator?

    i would never be so arrogant as to expect other people to forgive me.

    Pathological people feel entitled to other people’s forgiveness and yet they hold on to a list of grudges for years. Stuff like: you burned my favorite piece of toast in 1942 and back in 1943, you stepped on my toe. Of course, they never tell you that until they need justification for hurting you.

    Nice discussion here! I’ve so enjoyed everyone’s comments!


    • I like your definition of forgiveness. By this definition, I have forgiven him, for I no longer seek restoration, repayment, a return on what he ‘owes’ me. I no longer think he owes me anything. In addition, I know that he will never come into my life again to make amends. Ironically, when he came back after and absence of 18 years, he claimed that his intention was to make amends for how he had treated us before. So, yeah, that one was sure easy to let go of the second time I allowed him to destroy my life.


  7. Oh, I can see how him wanting a second chance would hook a good woman like yourself. We want to give people second chances to make amends because we appreciate it when people extend the same kindness towards us. Plus, having a ‘second go’ at correcting whatever mistakes WE might have made (and we all make mistakes, right?) would alleviate our sadness, too.

    Maybe he intended to do things right this time but could not put his family’s best interests on a par with his own. Narcissists may have all the best intentions in the world. Instead of manning-up to his failures though, it sounds like your X did the same thing most Ns and Ps and cluster Bs do. They devalue and discard you only AFTER securing “new supply”. It is much more traumatic than people can imagine if they’ve not been on the receiving end.

    In an effort to help us heal, friends and family encourage us to ‘forgive’ because then we can move on, feel better, and get back to our former selves.

    I used to almost obsess on ‘forgiveness’. It was that ingrained in my psyche. Forgiveness was a religious mandate from my childhood and then when my marriage fell apart, psychologists were demanding people forgive or be diagnosed with a mental disorder.

    So then at that point, my religious ghosts were in kahoots with psychologists and feeling bitter because someone stole my house and home right out from under me, made ME the bad person.

    Finally, I gave up expecting myself to be little miss perfect. My obsession with forgiveness ceased (thank god) and I could let myself BE where I was AT in the moment, trusting my process more than someone else’s timeline or fiery hoops for me to jump through.

    I’m always amazed at the demands made of people who’ve been broken, traumatized, crushed, even run over by a freight train.

    I believe exactly what the Pressman’s say about forgiveness in their book (quoted above): “forgiveness is a feeling or condition of being more than an act. As such, it cannot be legislated or decided upon; if it happens, it happens on its own…”

    After about ten years into this process, I have days when it feels like I’ve achieved some level of forgiveness. Then my emotional reactions take me by surprise. I don’t fight my feelings anymore. I just let them be because forgiveness no longer holds me hostage, as one more hoop for me to leap through.

    I just say to my feelings, “Hello little bitterness. I see you. I hear you.” Then I go back to whatever I was doing before my feelings begged attention. ha!


  8. Pingback: Do You Love a Narcissist? | How To Get Your Ex Back

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