Tagged: “Forgiveness Process”

How do I even think about forgiving someone who spreads false rumors about me and continues to do so? Others are being told lies about me and it hurts. I am angry.

Your anger definitely is understandable.  You have been betrayed.  The fact that you are even thinking about forgiving is a good step.  I would recommend two initial approaches.  First, commit to doing no harm to the one who is trying to harm you.  Second, with this commitment in place, then try to have a conversation with the one who is spreading the rumors.  Try to get fairness from this person.  In other words, forgive and seek justice at the same time.

Learn more at Why Forgive?

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I recently discovered that my wife of 17 years had two affairs in the last 3 years. She would like to reconcile. I came to believe that I should extend compassion to all beings, including my wife, and I would like to forgive her. However, I am not sure I want to take the next step and reconcile. I understand that we are human and everybody makes mistakes, but I feel that I deserve to be respected and treated much better. I think I am respected and treated very well by everybody I know (friends, family, my kids, and my colleagues), except my wife. I also suspect that our values, commitment to truth, and view of morality are very different. I feel that I have to extend compassion to myself as well, and this means that I cannot reconcile. Is this way of thinking a sign that I have not yet forgiven?

Because forgiving and reconciling are not the same, it is possible that you have begun to forgive even if you end up not reconciling. At the same time, your discovery of the affairs is “recent.” Thus, you may still be quite angry and not yet forgiving. I recommend that you take some time to assess your current level of anger toward your wife. If you currently are very angry, this could be clouding your decision regarding to reconcile or not. In other words, you may need some time to process that anger, begin the forgiveness process so that the anger diminishes, and only then ask the important question about reconciliation. If you think that your wife does not share your own sense of morals, this is worth a deep discussion with her prior to making a decision about whether to reconcile. I wish you the best as you work through this challenging issue.

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I am an adult who has hurt my mother a number of times when I was a teenager.  I now very much would like to have her forgive me, but I am not sure that she has thought much about forgiveness.  She seems to have accepted who I was as a teen—a very immature young person.  Yet, I would like to see her truly forgive me.  How can I approach her with the idea of forgiveness?

One approach is to take one of the self-help books, such as my The Forgiving Life book published by the American Psychological Association.  I recommend that you read it first.  If you think it is appropriate for your mother, then share it with her and point out some of the sections in the book that proved helpful to you.  Your mother might get interested and, if so, this would give her a chance to work through the forgiveness process.

Learn more at The Forgiving Life.
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Do you think that anger can be addictive?

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.

Learn more at Learning to Forgive Others.

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My partner has hurt me very deeply.  Now he refuses to get help for his drinking and basically is destroying himself.  How do you forgive someone under these circumstances?

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 for the situation in which the person 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.

Learn more at Forgiveness for Couples.

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