Tagged: “hurtful event”
I told my partner that I forgave him. He did not accept it and told me he did nothing wrong. This rejection has increased my pain. I now have the pain from the original offense and now this. How do you suggest I deal with this doubling of my pain?
Yes, his rejection of your gift of forgiveness is another pain for you. If you think he is being unjust in this, you can deliberately forgive him for the original offense and then you can begin forgiving him for this second offense of denying any wrongdoing. This double injustice does make the forgiveness journey harder, but it will be worth the effort if you are motivated to forgive both actions by your partner.
To “bear the pain” does not mean to resist sadness. Instead, to “bear the pain” includes accepting the sadness as it comes without running away from it. To “bear the pain” is not to deny pain and sadness, but instead to courageously experience these. The wonderful paradox then is this: As you stand in the pain, allowing yourself to feel it, and deliberately not pass it to the one who hurt you or to others, it is you who begins to heal. In other words, the pain begins to lift.
You are given the wonderful opportunity to get rid of bitterness and put love in its place for the one who hurt you and then, if you so choose, more widely for others, as you are freed to love more deeply and more broadly.
How can a person be assured that upon forgiving, he or she will no longer experience any more negative emotions such as anger?
I think you are expecting too much from the forgiveness process. As imperfect people, we do experience some left-over anger or sadness and this can rise and fall depending on circumstances (such as a new incident that reminds you of the previous injustice). Therefore, I would encourage you to lower your standards for having some negative affect. As long as the negative emotions are not controlling you, but instead you are in control of those emotions, I think you are doing well.
I have a problem with my partner. He does not see that he has hurt me, despite my best efforts. I now am wondering if reconciliation is even possible. What I mean is that he keeps hurting me and doesn’t even see it.
This is a difficult situation because you now have a lack of trust that he can change. I recommend that you first forgive him and from that softened-heart position, approach him at an opportune time and have this kind of a conversation with him: First, you could let him know that you suspect that he is practicing the psychological defense of denial, in that he possibly is afraid to see the truth of his hurtful actions. Second, if he begins to see that he indeed is using the defense of denial, you then can let him know the extent of your hurt, for example, on a 1-to-10 scale with 10 being an enormous amount of hurt. Third, if he sees this hurt and sees it as caused by his actions, the next step is to work with him on a plan to deliberately change the behavior that is causing the hurt. Please keep in mind that even if all three strategies work, it still will take some time for you to build up trust because this tends to develop slowly after a pattern of injustices that cause hurt. Your continuing to forgive may increase your patience with the trust process.