Archive for February, 2012
I have forgiven him over the years and I thought I was over the anger. Yet, now that he is showing signs of coming back, I am enraged. Two questions: 1) Why would I be so enraged now after all these years, especially when I already have forgiven? and 2) What can I do about my anger? It is so intense it is scaring me. Please help me.
First of all, I congratulate you on your courage to admit your anger. You have endured much. Regarding your first question, I find that anger can intensify after the crisis is over. Your crisis was to try to live well without a father while you grew up. This undoubtedly put you under pressure some of the time in that people might have wondered where your father is, there could have been some embarrassing questions to you, and so forth. You were enduring. Now that you have “made it in the world,” after all, you are functioning well to be at a university, you are letting down from the crisis. Now your psychological defenses against the anger are lessening and you are being flooded with resentment.
First, please realize that this is not unusual and so please do not judge yourself as odd or unhealthy. At the same time, you recognize that the anger itself could make you unhealthy, could make you possibly lash out at others, and so you have to confront the anger.
May I suggest starting the forgiveness process with your father all over again. Start from square one where you acknowledge that you are angry. Acknowledge its power and even its power to hurt you or others. Then decide to forgive all over again. Then do the work of forgiveness as if you had never tried it before. You will surprise yourself with the positive results. How do I know? You have had positive results in the past.
Regarding your question 2, forgiveness will help, as I have already said and as you already know. In addition to practicing forgiveness, I recommend that you immediately begin to practice the virtue of humility, that quiet sense of deliberately avoiding arrogance or entitlement and cultivating a sense of meekness and lowliness. You are not doing this to let your father or anyone else walk all over you. Instead, you will be doing this so that you do not have the sense of now wanting to dominate your father as he comes to you perhaps in a broken and meek way. Meet him with a meekness of your own and see what happens.
Dr. Enright Interviewed on National Talk Show
Professor Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, discusses the topic of forgiveness from a Christian perspective on The Drew Mariani Show, a program of Relevant Radio. Dr. Enright also introduces his new book, The Forgiving Life, available from amazon.com.
The Drew Mariani Show is a current events and news driven program that reaches listeners with down-to-earth sensibility, sharp insight, good humor and intelligence. Tackling the hottest issues of the day, Drew and his guests blend reality with strong Catholic values complemented by sound orthodox teaching. As the world seemingly changes by the minute, it is more important than ever for Catholics to keep a close eye on the culture around us.
Listen to his full interview with Dr. Enright here.
Would you say that a person has a character weakness if he cannot forgive?
Both Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas have told us that it takes time to develop proficiency in any virtue. In other words, we grow into becoming more fair or kind or courageous or forgiving. Thus, we all suffer from a certain “character weakness” because we are in the process of being more and more perfected in forgiving.
What does it mean to become “more perfected”? As we practice forgiveness over and over and as we grow as forgivers, we:
1) understand more deeply what forgiveness is and is not;
2) are more willing to practice it, even when we have deep pain from profound injustices;
3) move through the process more smoothly; and
4) complete the process more thoroughly in that we have less resentment and more compassion at the end of the forgiveness journey toward one person and one event.
As a final point, we all have a more difficult time forgiving certain people for certain injustices and so we should be gentle in our scrutiny of others who struggle to forgive. Someone’s struggle today does not mean that she is morally deficient. Instead, it may mean that she is growing in the virtue and is finding something difficult today in the journey. This does not mean that she will struggle tomorrow with a different person and a different event. We are all growing in our perfection of this virtue.
German Chancellor Begs Forgiveness
The Telegraph in London reported on Friday, February 24, 2012 that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, asked forgiveness of families who lost loved ones at the hands of a neo-Nazi group that operated between 2000 and 2007. Merkel asked forgiveness because of police errors, which included false accusations toward family members who lost loved ones to the murders.
Is Government Apology Appropriate?
Irish Central. A prominent BBC presenter, Jeremy Paxman, blasts Tony Blair 15 years after he apologized (in 1997) to the Irish people for the mid-19th century “Potato Famine.” Paxman called the apology, issued about 150 years after the tragedy, “moral vacuousness” because no one presently alive was involved in the massive loss of life in 1847.