Why do we refuse to forgive? Are we controlling those who have hurt us by punishing them and thereby protecting ourselves from further harm? Not really. When we try to manipulate others through unforgiveness, they rebel. Our enemies suffer minimally from our unforgiveness compared with the damage we do to ourselves. The verdict we pass on others is passed on us (Mt 7:2). Unforgiveness is a fatal poison which cuts us off from forgiveness (Mt 6:12,15), healing (Sir 28:3), prayer (Mk 11:24-25), and worship (Mt 5:23-24).
Then, when we are separated from these graces, we are handed over to torturers (Mt 18:34). These torturers are not people, but worse. They are such experiences as fear, depression, frustration, anxiety, self-hatred, and loneliness. As these and other torturers work us over, we deteriorate to a level of existence which is characterized by fruitless, compulsive, escapist activities.