How to Forgive Someone Who Isn't Sorry

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Published Date|
August 25, 2022

How To Forgive Someone Who Isn’t Sorry


We’ve all been harmed by people we care about.

Whether a fight with someone ended your relationship or someone you care about doesn’t understand your point of view, there can be many situations where you may want to forgive someone who doesn’t feel the need to apologize.


Forgiveness is often considered the first step to healing. But how do you forgive someone who isn’t sorry?


Here at KMA, we’re relationship experts. We understand how complex the dynamic between two people can be. We’ve gathered all the information you need to understand forgiveness and its implications for you and your relationships.


After reading this article, you’ll know the benefits of forgiveness, some strategies for forgiving someone who isn’t sorry, and how to move on even if you can’t forgive someone.

The Benefits of Forgiveness

It can often feel like a person who has harmed you doesn’t deserve your forgiveness.

While this is sometimes true, the fact is that you deserve the peace of mind that often comes with forgiving someone else.


Mental health benefits of forgiveness include:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced depression
  • Lessened physical health symptoms
  • Feelings of self-empowerment and self-healing


These benefits may come from the link between forgiveness and stress relief – forgiveness can lessen ongoing stress, and releasing stress has many positive implications for mental health.

How To Forgive Someone Doesn't Apologize

Even after you’ve decided you want to forgive someone else, it can be hard to know where to start.

how to forgive someone who isn't sorry doesn't apologize

Some strategies for forgiveness include:

  • Writing a letter to the person who harmed you, expressing your feelings (you don’t have to send it – the act of writing the letter can be healing enough on its own)
  • Acknowledging how the other person’s actions have impacted your emotions or behaviours, and trying to release them
  • Seeking out support from a mental health professional

Choosing to forgive someone else also doesn’t mean that it happens all at once – it can often be an ongoing process.

It’s okay if you decide to forgive someone, but later realize that you still have residual feelings about what they did.


Allowing yourself to see forgiveness as a process can be helpful for healing.

Healing and Moving On Without Forgiving

We’ve outlined the ways that you can forgive someone even if they’re not sorry. But what if you don’t want to forgive them at all? Is forgiveness always necessary?

No, you don’t have to forgive someone to heal and move on. Sometimes, forcing yourself to forgive someone before you’re ready can be more harmful than helpful.


If you’re not ready to, or have no interest in, forgiving someone, it’s still possible to move on from a situation where you were hurt.


It can still be helpful to understand the other person’s motivations for their behaviour – not to excuse it, but to find an explanation that doesn’t involve you.

For example, a parent may lash out at you due to unresolved feelings from their own childhood. While this can be hurtful, their actions stem from their own wounded inner child, not from anything that you did.

It can be easier to move on from a situation when you realize that it was about the other person more than it was about you.

Next Steps to Forgiving Someone Who Isn’t Sorry

After reading this article, you have an understanding of the benefits of forgiveness, how to forgive someone even if they’re not sorry, and that you don’t have to forgive someone to heal and move on.


Forgiveness can be hard, but it’s not impossible.


It can help to talk to someone who understands and can provide a judgement-free space for you to work through your emotions about a difficult situation.


At KMA, we use an empathetic and understanding approach to help you explore feelings of hurt, and work on strategies for moving on.


Book an introductory appointment using the form below, or connect with our team directly for more information.


If you’re not yet ready to book an introductory appointment, read these resources for more information:

About the Author

Emily Weatherhead has a Masters in Community Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University, where her research focused on improving post-secondary student mental health. She is passionate about finding new ways to make mental health research more accessible and break down the barriers that prevent people from receiving mental health care.

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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