Archive for August, 2022
I am discouraged and feeling rather hopeless. I know a primary reason to forgive is to restore a broken relationship. Yet, this no longer is possible for me. Can you help me see the value of forgiveness under this situation of a hopelessly broken relationship?
Reasons for forgiveness go beyond only a restored relationship. You can forgive because it is good in and of itself. You can forgive to rid yourself of resentment. You can forgive to pass the insights on how to forgive to your children. Thus, even if a restored relationship is not possible, you still may forgive if you choose to do this. Our research shows that as people forgive, their sense of hope increases in a statistically-significant way. You need not remain with a sense of hopelessness.
Can a person be cured of anger simply by yelling or stomping one’s foot without going through a more lengthy process of forgiveness?
The answer depends on the level of injustice and the depth of the anger. If the other was insensitive without being cruel, then your expressing an appropriate, measured level of anger may take care of the issue. On the other hand, if you have been treated very unfairly and your anger is deep, then catharsis (letting out the anger) may not be effective. Forgiveness then may be required to rid yourself of the anger. Please keep in mind that catharsis by itself, when the problem is serious and the anger is deep, actually can increase the anger and lead to a pattern of being angry and expressing it. Catharsis then needs forgiveness to deal in a healthy way with the anger.
My partner has been very unjust to me and to make matters worse, he has a drinking problem that could kill him. It is so hard to forgive him under this circumstance. Can you offer me some advice on forgiveness in this challenging context? Is the forgiveness process somehow different if the other literally is destroying the self?
Actually, the forgiveness process will not differ to a great extent when the person is destroying the self. You might actually forgive for the original offense and then forgive him for the situation in which he now is not working with you to rise above the very challenging situation. In other words, you can forgive twice and the second one may be harder than the first because the person is not working as a team with you.
I have a partner who is anger a lot of the time. I am beginning to think that anger is addictive. What do you think? If anger can be addictive, how does one break the habit?
If by addictive you mean the person falls into a pattern that is hard to break, then the answer is yes. People can fall into behaviors that involve temper, harsh language, and an adrenaline rush. People who have this pattern can be helped by seeing what in the past has led to an original anger. If it is an injustice, then forgiveness is appropriate. Next, the person needs to examine any sense of entitlement or even narcissism that fuels the anger and keeps it going. After that, the person needs to examine courageously who has been hurt by the anger-pattern and seek forgiveness from those who have been hurt by the pattern.
Is it genuine forgiveness if I never tell the person that he is forgiven?
Yes. If your proclamation of forgiveness will lead to more tensions, you need not let the other know in words. Your deeds will speak volumes regarding your concern for one and even love of the person.