forgiveWiklipedia tells us that “Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offence, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offence or debt’. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology,”
The Mayo Clinic tells us – “Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.”
” Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being
When you’re ready, actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you
Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life”
Some links –
Psychology Today informs us that “Mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us, instead of allowing anger toward them to eat away at us, is the course of action recommended by most psychologists. An exception to the belief that burying the hatchet brings peace to the soul may be sexual abuse: Some victims of these crimes are empowered when given permission to not forgive.”
Now we’re getting somewhere, to a more realistic place, in which forgiveness is not always possible or necessarily healthy or right.There are some things in life which are not forgivable. We may have compassion, understanding of the victim status of the perpetrator and accept what has happened, but there are some acts which damage, wound and injure, which no amount of compassion, understanding or acceptance will ever make right or wipe out by forgiveness. Those acts are not forgivable, will never be forgivable and it is disempowering to the victim to suggest that they are or should be. Such suggestions encouraged the victim to bury the hurt, the wrong and the damage and to ‘normalise’ by forgiveness.
Any professional treating a client/patient in that way would be doing them a grave disservice, causing more damage and would be acting abusively, unskilfully and unprofessionally. Glib assertions that forgiveness is always possible and right, can only come from lack of experience, lack of insight and lack of deep understanding of those situations which may lead to abuse, damage and the sort of situation in which some acts are never forgivable because they are not within the range of behaviour that is commonplace, usual or easily treated. Anyone who has not experienced something of that nature has no right to pass judgement on those who have or on their experience of forgiveness or non-forgiveness.Those who assist others, owe it to their own professional standards and to their clients, to ensure that they do the very best work they can with the fullest and best understanding, unhampered by out of date notions, irresponsible ideas and unhelpful, possibly damaging concepts or practices. There is no place for religious dogma in effective healing work, for prejudice or for unethically trying to change how a client/patient thinks/acts/views the world and behaves in it to fit the beliefs of the practitioner. That would be immoral, unethical and irresponsible and is seen and heard about way to often to believe the public are being well served
Unfortunately there are many ‘therapies’ which sail close to the wind of abuse because they advocate ‘normalisation’, particularly dangerous for adoptees and those with identity issues and questions over what is their ‘real life’ and who they really are.
“The idea of re-story-ing is meant to suggest that it’s not just a matter of having a story, or even telling the story, but actually re-creating and re-working the story, bringing the power of spontaneity and the knowledge of circumstances in the here-and-now to the cultural conserves of the past. And as for the re-story-ing affecting the soul, well, this involves weaving in some elements of what might be called myth-making, helping people to not only realize and recreate their stories, but also to connect these to some deeper dimensions of the psyche, those associated with the idea of “soul.” In so doing, people are helped to develop that ego-soul connection, which is an important element in spiritual development and psychological healing and resiliency”
Dangerous waters for the adoptee and only negotiable safely with a very experienced and skilled practitioner, of which there are sadly far too few! So next time some well-meaning person tells you forgiveness is easy, always possible or the right thing to do, you might like to ask them a few searching questions or put some examples to them which may be far from their experience but which it may benefit them to think about and also others they might come into contact with!

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