In Chapter 15 of your book, Forgiveness Is a Choice, you talk about false forms of forgiving. For example, a person may say, “I forgive you,” and do so with a sense of power and domination. My question is this: Are there false forms of seeking forgiveness and if so, how can I recognize them?
Yes, I think there are false forms of seeking and receiving forgiveness. As an example, the offending person says, “I apologize. I did not mean to hurt you.” Then he or she continues doing the same kinds of behavior that injured you in the first place. At that point, it may be helpful to first forgive (so that your deep anger does not come flying out) and say something like this, “You have apologized and yet you keep hurting me in the same way. What can we do so that the hurtful behavior ends and we can move on well together?” Apologies are not iron-clad guarantees that the person truly understands the depth of your hurt and the importance of changing the behavior. A gentle reminder like this might help.