Archive for May, 2018

I am wondering about this situation: One of my friends, Alex, was offended by another of my friends, James. In the process of working their way back to each other (and I was present for this), James also pointed out how Alex was partially at fault for their tensions and conflicts. I agree with James. Yet, Alex refuses to believe that he has done any wrong at all. How can we convince Alex that he is partially at fault?

The short answer is that you may not be able to convince Alex. I do think it is a good idea to point out, gently, Alex’s complicity in the tensions. Yet, his acceptance of this is his call. He seems to need time and may be in denial. Denial as a psychological defense can take time to weaken. If he feels even slightly guilty, then this is a good opening for him to explore the possibility of his contributing to the conflicts. If both James and you realize that denial takes time to dissolve, then your patience may pay off in a restored relationship.

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When Evil Seems to Be Having Its Way

Lance Morrow: “Evil possesses an instinct for theater, which is why, in an era of gaudy and gifted media, evil may vastly magnify its damage by the power of horrific images.”   If this is true, we need forgiveness all the more in our times.

Forgiveness is not justice and therefore focuses on effects, not direct solutions to injustice.  When injustice reigns, it surely is the duty of communities to exercise justice to counter that which is unjust.

Yet, what then of the effects of the injustice?  Will the quest for and the establishment of justice in societies suffice to cure the broken heart?  We think not and this is where forgiveness is needed for those who choose it.

Is there a better way of destroying the damaging effects of evil than forgiveness?  As a mode of peace, forgiveness is a paradox because at the same time it is a weapon, one that fights against the ravages of evil.  By destroying resentment, forgiveness is a protection for individuals, families, groups, and societies.

Robert

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How can I convince my stubborn roommate that he needs to get counseling help so that  he can forgive his ex-girlfriend? He is distracted and very angry.

I admire your intention to help your roommate overcome his resentment. Resentment often can get so painful that it becomes the motivator to seek help in forgiving. Yet, this decision to forgive or not rests with your roommate. It is his call; it is his choice. You could gently ask him what the level of his emotional pain is. If he gives you a truthful answer that it is high, then you might suggest that you have a possible solution to that inner pain—Forgiveness Therapy. Even then, he needs the freedom to either accept or reject the suggestion. Does he truly know what it means to forgive? If he is misunderstanding what forgiveness is, then this could be an impediment to his seeking help.

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Dr. Enright’s Forgiveness Blogs In High Demand

One of the nation’s premier blog sites, Psychology Today, says the number of people who are reading blog posts authored by Dr. Robert Enright for its online journal has reached a record peak.

Dr. Robert Enright

Here are the number of views Dr. Enright’s blogs have tallied since he joined the website’s elite writing corps:

  • Last 7 Days – 5,956
  • Last 30 Days – 12,638
  • Last 90 Days – 31,257
  • Since Dec. 1, 2016 – 115,000+

Psychology Today is a New York City-based print magazine that last year celebrated its 50th year of continuous publication. Its online journal has gathered a group of renowned psychologists (including Dr. Enright), academics, psychiatrists and writers to contribute their thoughts and ideas on what makes us tick. According to the website, “We’re a live stream of what’s happening in Psychology Today.”

The forgiveness blog section on Psychology Today’s website is called “The Forgiving Life.” Here are links to just a handful of the 38 blogs Dr. Enright has produced for the site:

  Is It True That Forgiveness Is “Ridiculous”?
This provocative blog replies to the author of an Amazon.com book review who labeled Dr. Enright’s Model of Forgiveness “ridiculous.”
 Why Forgiveness Is Heroic
While he clarifies that not all people necessarily practice forgiveness in a “heroic” manner, Dr. Enright says many others forgive on a high level encompassing Aristotle’s concept of heroism as “greatness of heart.
  Five Reasons Why Your Romantic Relationships Do Not Last
Has this ever happened to you: A relationship starts and is filled with hope, only to end all too soon? Dr. Enright offers 5 reasons why this may happen and offers suggestions for breaking the pattern?
  Anger and Cancer: Is There a Relationship?
Research indicates, according to Dr. Enright, that intense, persistent, and suppressed anger may indeed be implicated in certain cancers such as prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers.
  Complete list of Psychology Today blogs written by Dr. Enright. 
Click the link above to access all the blogs Dr. Enright has written for Psychology Today.

 

 

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The 5 Protections of Forgiving

We now see forgiveness as a protection in at least five ways. As we forgive, we are protecting:

(A) our own emotional health;

(B) the human dignity of the offender, not because of what happened but in spite of it;

(C) our relationship if the other wants to reconcile;

(D) other family members, friends, and colleagues who are protected from our resentment; and

(E) our communities from on-going anger that can pervade neighborhoods, separate people, and leave a blight that depresses economies.

After all, communities continually in contention do not receive tourist dollars, and governments often turn away, even if subtly, from such communities with high rates of violence. To forgive is to serve, to love, and to protect.

Robert

Enright, Robert D.; Fitzgibbons, Richard P. (2014-11-17). Forgiveness Therapy (Kindle Locations 5565-5567). American Psychological Association (APA). Kindle Edition.

Enright, Robert D.; Fitzgibbons, Richard P. (2014-11-17). Forgiveness Therapy (Kindle Locations 5562-5565). American Psychological Association (APA). Kindle Edition.

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