This TED talk by Brené Brown contains a big key to understanding forgiveness. Brené, who studies human connection and our ability to empathize, belong, and love, shares deep insight from her research, a project that inadvertently sent her on a personal quest to deconstruct her own false fortress and discover herself as well as to better understand humanity.
On a personal note, it was my own simple happiness, generosity of spirit, and vulnerability (and naivete) that somehow led to a kind of victimization from a family member where the perp exploited my openness and tried to steal my joy so that I would feel as disconnected and unworthy as she did. It didn’t work, but it took its toll; broke my heart and made me cautious and guarded. Now, in hindsight, I realize the attacks had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the unhappiness of the perpetrator. When someone is in that kind of pain, they will try not to own it; they may even try to throw their unworthiness onto another, especially someone who is openhearted and openly vulnerable.