Tagged: “Enright Forgiveness Process Model”
In my experience, people tend to start forgiving parents once the children are emerging into adulthood and are beginning to leave home or have left home. Before that, the child is both very dependent on the parents for basic needs and, when young, does not necessarily have the cognitive insight regarding how deeply unjust the parental behavior is. The young adult can be shocked at the depth of anger and at the seriousness of the parental injustice when looking back. Because of this, the struggle to forgive can take time, but definitely is well worth it. The forgiving might lead to a genuine reconciliation with the parent, if the parent also wishes to reconcile, which, in my experience, most parents want.
I am supposing that you have both broken your own standard (needing self-forgiveness) and you have been treated unjustly by others (needing to forgive them). In my experience, it is easier for most people to forgive others because we tend to be harder on ourselves. If this is true in your case, then you might want to start by forgiving others and once this is accomplished, and you know the forgiving path well, you then can apply that learning to forgive yourself.
How do we promote the true meaning of forgiveness, given that there are so many misunderstandings of it?
We have resources to help, such as three self-help books (Forgiveness Is a Choice, The Forgiving Life, and 8 Keys to Forgiveness). We also have forgiveness education curriculum guides for teachers and parents in our Store. With all of these materials, we have tried to be very accurate regarding what forgiveness is and what it is not.
I so do not want to admit this, but I have no trust at all for my ex-partner. She is constantly accusing me of things I have not done. She wants to reconcile. Can there be genuine reconciliation without trust?
Genuine reconciliation requires trust by both people. Yet, that trust can come slowly, taking time. So, you can get together even without full trust, but the true reconciliation will require that trust to eventually be established. I recently did a blog on Psychology Today’s website centered on this question of reconciling with an ex-partner. You can find that essay here: 6 Things to Consider Before Reconciling with an Ex.
When I apologize, I like to explain my behavior so that the other person knows I did not mean to be hurtful. Is this a good idea to explain or should I only apologize and keep quiet about the reason for my actions?
When you apologize you do have to be careful not to make it sound as if the other person simply misunderstood you. In other words, your explanation might seem like an excuse to the one who was hurt. If you did wrong, you can admit to that. On the other hand, if you truly think you acted morally and the other took offense anyway, you might consider saying something like this: “I am sorry that my actions hurt you.” In this way, you are not saying that you did wrong, but you are acknowledging that what you did led to the other person’s negative reaction.