Tagged: “Enright Forgiveness Process Model”

How can I determine when my anger has gone too far that it is unhealthy? How long is too long to be angry at any given person? How angry is too angry?

A key is this: Has the anger begun to affect your well-being?  In other words, is the anger frequently present to you?  Is it interfering with your everyday functioning?  Is it affecting your energy or your sleep or your important relationships?  If you see that the anger is now affecting your well-being and if it has persisted for weeks or months, then it is time to courageously confront that anger.  If the anger is caused by another person’s injustice, you should consider forgiving when you are ready to do so.  This likely will lower the level of anger.

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I’ve been told by someone I know that I harbor unwarranted animosity toward her. She tells me that I have created false impressions about her throughout the course of our relationship and that she follows my best judgement in everything she does. I’m not sure if my resentment is warranted, but it feels like it. In what ways am I justified? If she claims that she did nothing wrong, then why do I still harbor animosity for her? Am I being overly sensitive?  How can I discern if I am exaggerating or if she is denying?

Do you have a pattern with her in that she makes these claims frequently or is this about one and only one incident?  If it is a pattern, and if you use common sense and wisdom, do you see unfairness coming from her?  If so, then she may be in denial.  Another way of checking who is accurate is this: Is there anyone else in your life who accuses you in a similar way?  In other words, do others claim that you are harshly judging them?  If not, and if your common sense and your conscience are telling you that her actions are wrong, then they probably are.  If this is the case, the next step is to help her with her denial.  Is she afraid of admitting wrong, do you think?  If so, try to ascertain why she might be fearful to admit wrong.

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Is it considered unhealthy anger, for instance, if someone is upset about a small incident involving someone who is no longer in his life and is only upset when he thinks back on the incident at random?

This does not seem to me to be unhealthy anger, which usually is defined as persistent and deep anger.  From your description, you are not continually or deeply affected by what happened.  To have occasional anger, for a short time, when reflecting back on an injustice is common.

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I wanted to ask: What is the etymology of the word forgiveness?

First, let us define etymology: etymology: [noun] the history of a linguistic form (such as a word) shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found, by tracing its transmission from one language to another.

The earliest word for forgiveness is salah, in the Hebrew Scriptures. Salah means that offenses are wiped away from sight (particularly focusing on God’s forgiveness of sin).

In Christian scripture, the ancient Greek word, aphiemi, is similar in meaning to salah.

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As I try to forgive my father for unjust actions when I was a child, my partner tells me that I am obsessed with my father.  She tells me to just forget it.  After all, she says, this is in the past.  It is gone.  Just forget about it and stop obsessing.  In your opinion, is it obsession if I keep mentioning my father when I am truly trying to forgive him?  I am not finished with the forgiveness journey and so I bring this up—the issue of my working on forgiving my father—a few times a week with my partner.  The conversation rarely last more than 10 minutes because I do not want to be annoying.  So, do you think she is right about me being obsessive?

It seems to me that your partner is not fully grasping what forgiveness is and how people tend to go about forgiving.  I say this because you say that she asks you to “just forget about it” and “it is gone.”  If you try to “just forget about it” when treated deeply unfairly by others, this is not a healing approach.  Therefore, I recommend that you show your partner, for example, the book, The Forgiving Life, with the description of the process of forgiving, which unfolds slowly when the forgiver is deeply hurt.  In other words, it takes time to forgive.  Gently let her know that the approach of “just forget about it” does not work for the vast majority of deeply hurt people.  Once she understands forgiveness on a deeper level, I think she will have more patience with you as you progress on your forgiveness journey.  Stay at it for the sake of your healing, which likely will help not only you but also your currently relationship with your partner.

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