My adult grandson keeps asking me for a loan of money. I give it, he does not pay it back, and then he says that he “forgives” himself for the lack of payment. He then asks me for more money. Is self-forgiveness really this kind of illusion?

While genuine self-forgiveness can be helpful when people break their own moral standard, in the case of false self-forgiveness, the person may “self-forgive” as an excuse to remain in inappropriate and hurtful behavior.  In such a case as your adult grandson, the false forgiveness might reduce guilt, freeing the person to continue the lack of payment with the resultant wasting of your funds.  I think it is time for a heart-to-heart talk with him.  He is fooling himself (but he is not fooling you) regarding what self-forgiveness actually is. In genuine self-forgiveness, there is an inner remorse, a genuine repentance to you, and reparation, in this case repaying the debt.

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