You discuss in the Uncovering Phase of forgiveness that a person should examine defense mechanisms.  For example, might I be in denial that the other truly was unjust?  Since defense mechanisms usually are hidden from the one who is denying, how are we to uncover these defense mechanisms?

I think there are two keys to uncovering the defense mechanisms.

First, if the one who is considering forgiveness does not think that there is a solution to the inner pain, then this fear can prevent an opening up to reality, to the true conclusion that “I have been wronged and I am in pain.”  When this potential forgiver sees that forgiveness is a safety net to getting rid of that inner pain, then opening up to what really happened is more likely.

Second, as the potential forgiver sees the extent of the inner pain (which can be deeper than is first discerned), then this realization of deep inner pain can be a motivation to move forward with healing.  This courageous decision to move forward helps people to see even more clearly now that the pain must be confronted, which can weaken the defense of denial.

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