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?
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.
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.
I have forgiven someone who betrayed me and hurt me deeply. My attitude toward the person now is good. Yet, I have fear of this person. What else can I do to move more deeply in forgiveness?
It seems to me that the issue now is not so much forgiveness as it is reconciliation. Your fear likely is the result of a lack of trust toward the person because of the betrayal. Reconciliation has to be earned. Have you talked with the person and has this person understood the offense and now is willing to change? You need to build some confidence in this person’s behavior and this will come if the person begins to behave in a way as to earn your trust.
Learn more at What Forgiveness Is Not.
When I forgive my former boyfriend, I find that I tend to make excuses for his behavior. I don’t like it when I see that I am making excuses. How do I avoid this?
There is a big difference between what we call **reframing** a person’s actions and excusing those actions. For example, if you see that he was under pressure and displaced his anger onto you, you can forgive while at the same time acknowledging that he should not have treated you this way. An excuse is to say that displacing anger is ok, acceptable, or not morally wrong. When you forgive and start to reframe whom the other person is, try to keep in mind that the behavior still is not fair. Your separating a person and his actions may help you to avoid excusing the actions as you forgive the person.
Learn more at How to Forgive.