Tagged: “Dr. Robert Enright”
I am ambivalent about “giving a gift” to the one who offended me. I do not think he will accept it. This likely will make me angry all over again. What do you suggest?
A complete sense of forgiving, or the essence of what forgiving is, includes this giving of a gift to the one who hurt you. Yet, you do not have to reach the deepest sense of forgiving to be practicing this moral virtue. If you are not ready to give a gift and if you have reduced your resentment and commit to do no harm to the one who hurt you, then you are forgiving at this point.
My friend thinks that by my forgiving her then all is supposedly well as if the injuries never even happened. How do I explain that my forgiving does not automatically alter the relationship to something great (when at this point, it is not)?
Your friend is confusing your forgiving with reconciliation. To reconcile means that both of you come together again in mutual trust. It seems that you are not quite ready to fully trust her at this point. Yes, forgiving is an important step toward reconciliation, but she now will have to do her part to avoid injuring you as she has done in the past.
I sometimes lose my temper with my partner. Lately when I ask for forgiveness, he is unwilling to grant it. I have been patient, giving him time to forgive, and then I ask again with no effect. This leaves me with both shame and guilt. What do you recommend to me so that I can be freed from the shame and guilt?
Have you been working on your temper so that it does not get in the way of the relationship? Seeking forgiveness and changing behavior go together. If you are changing that behavior and because you have asked for forgiveness and have been patient, I think you can go in peace knowing that you have done your best for now. Give your partner time for him to work through his own forgiving.
I want to reconcile, but my partner keeps being mean to me. What do I do now?
If you want to forgive, I think you also need to ask for fairness. Then see how receptive your partner is to this call for justice. If you forgive first from your heart, then how you ask for justice likely will be more gentle than if you do so with deep anger. As we both know, it is important that your partner then see your pain and respond in a reasonable way to you.
I prefer anger to forgiveness. It empowers me. What do you think?
Anger at first when you are treated unjustly is reasonable because you are seeing that you are a person who deserves respect. Yet, where do you draw the line? When is this early anger sufficient? Do you want to keep the anger for a month? A year? How about 30 years? Also, what about the intensity of the anger. Do you want to be fuming inside for those 30 years? Do you think you will feel empowered if you live this way or could it wear you down?