Tagged: “Enright Forgiveness Process Model”
How do I “acknowledge the other person’s humanity” when this person acts more like an animal than a person. Sorry for such a negative statement, but this is how this person behaves.
Please keep in mind the distinction between what Aristotle described as each person’s “potentiality” compared with the person’s “actuality” in behaving in accord with the moral virtues. The one you described as acting “like an animal” is not actualizing the potential for high level human behavior. Yet, this person still has the “potentiality” to achieve this, with proper virtues education and encouragement by wise people. As you see this potential, you are acknowledging the humanity in the other person.
I have not whole-heartedly forgiven my partner, who remains unrepentant. Does this mean that I have not yet forgiven?
Forgiving another need not be whole-hearted. Sometimes people have anger left over and that is not an indication that there is no forgiving that is happening. Do you wish the other well? Have you forgiven to a point? For now, that may be enough. You need not be hard on yourself.
No, to forgive another person does not mean that you, as the forgiver, believe that this other person can or will change. To forgive is to offer compassion and the acknowledgement of the person’s humanity, regardless of the outcome of this belief. This is one important reason why we have to distinguish forgiving and reconciling. You can offer this compassion and recognition of the other’s humanity without reconciling if the other remains a danger to you.
You emphasize anger in your forgiveness model. Yet, I am not feeling anger. I am feeling pain. Might you have missed this in your model?
I agree with you that pain occurs after being treated unjustly. I think the sequence is as follows: 1) Someone is unfair to you; 2) Next comes shock or even denial; 3) Then comes pain, as you describe; 4) If the pain does not lessen or if you have no effective way of reducing and eliminating the pain, then you may become angry.
That anger can be at the person for acting unfairly, or at the situation, or even at the pain itself that resulted from the unfair treatment. It is the anger, if it abides and deepens, that can lead to health problems (fatigue, anxiety, and so forth). So, I emphasize anger within Forgiveness Therapy because it, in the form of excessive anger or resentment, can be dangerous to health, relationships, and communities.
Forgiveness does not proceed perfectly and often the outcome is not perfect. If you have done the work of forgiving and if your anger no longer controls you, then I would say that you have forgiven even if you have some anger left over.