Archive for January, 2021
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.
I am starting to get nervous. My new partner has a tendency to blame me and I know I did nothing wrong. She then tells me that she forgives me. This is so confusing to me. Should I run or what should I do?
Sometimes people will state that they are forgiving you even when you know you did nothing wrong. If this is the result of a mistake on the “forgiver’s” part, then this can be somewhat easily corrected by your explanation of the truth. In other instances, you have to be on your guard against what is called gaslighting, or the false blaming of you in the hope that you will come to believe the lie as true. Sometimes the other will receive your correction that you are being falsely accused. If the other refuses to consider your viewpoint, it is possible that the person’s narcissism may be blocking genuine and honest communication between you. If the latter is the case, and if you suspect an entrenched narcissism in your new partner, then, yes, you have cause for concern about having a healthy relationship.
I cry a lot. It seems to me that this is who I am and I just have to get used to it.
Sometimes when we are caught up in grief and anger, it seems as if this is all there will ever be now in our life: permanent tears, permanent anger. Yet, please take a look at two different times in your life in which you were steeped in heartache or rage. The tears came. . . and they left. Today it may seem as if these will never end—but they will. Take a lesson from your own past. The pains were temporary. They are temporary even now. Consider working on self-esteem, reduced anger, forgiveness, and your inherent worth as a person. All of these may help the psychological effects of betrayal to be temporary.
I have been so belittled throughout my life that I have come to think of myself as little, as of not much significance. Can you help me in some way to reconsider this?
As with the case of self-esteem or negative feelings toward the self, your thinking sometimes can become too general about who you are relative to the betrayals which you have experienced. You might slowly, and without even noticing it, drift into negative self-statements about who you are as a person. It is time to resurrect the truth: You are a person of worth no matter what, not matter how much pain you have, no matter the condemning statements from others. I urge you to re-read the previous sentence until this new thinking about who you are is solidified and consistent within you.
I want to teach my 8-year-old child about forgiveness. I notice that you talk about the inter-relationship between forgiving and seeking fairness. Should I teach one of these moral virtues first (forgiveness first or justice first), or should I teach them at the same time?
The teaching of forgiveness already has embedded within it the theme of justice, particularly as the child sees story characters being treated unjustly and then forgiving. So, the child, in being introduced to forgiveness, is also examining justice. You can and should point this out; being fair with one another is very important; it is when justice breaks down that people get hurt and then need to forgive. A more complicated issue is this: Should you teach a child to forgive and to seek justice at the same time? The answer is yes. For example, if a child is being bullied by another child on the playground, the one being treated unjustly needs to protect the self by letting a teacher or the principal know of the injustice. Forgiving the one who was bullying also is a good idea, but only if the child is ready and is not pressured into it.