From bestselling author Janis Spring comes a long-awaited second book which tackles the sensitive issue of forgiveness with anecdotes and clinical case material. The topic of forgiveness is fast becoming one of the key concepts in psychotherapy.
Until now, explains Spring, we have bought into the myth that forgiving is not only good for you but is the only morally sound response to violation. We believe that there are only two choices, to forgive or not, and that forgiveness is an unconditional gift that does not have to be earned by the offender.
In this book, Spring debunks these myths and offers a new way to think about this critical dynamic - illuminating a middle ground between total forgiveness and not forgiving, an approach that enables the hurt party to maintain self-respect and get on with their lives.
After years of observing people first hand in her clinical practice and witnessing their struggle to forgive and be forgiven, Spring has developed a model to help real people heal from real interpersonal injuries. She provides concrete, detailed, step-by-step instructions for both the hurt party and the offender.
Spring explains that there are many options. You can refuse to forgive, which is empowering but leaves you stewing. You can offer cheap forgiveness, which happens when you ignore your pain and will do anything to preserve the relationship. Or you can take the healthier paths of acceptance and genuine forgiveness.
In Acceptance, you cut your own path and walk alone. In Genuine Forgiveness, the offender clears a path and walks beside you. The clinical examples run from the petty to the serious to the profane - from a friend who forgets your birthday to a brother who refuses to help you take care of an elderly parent to a deliberate act of sexual abuse.
We are all struggling to forgive someone, and hate feeling ruptured in our significant relationships and fractured within ourselves. We are all searching for some new position that frees us from the corrosive effects of hate, gives voice to the injustice, and helps us to make peace with the person who hurt us and with ourselves. This book delivers some real answers to this critical interpersonal dilemma.