How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage To Forgive, the Freedom Not To

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9780060009304: How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage To Forgive, the Freedom Not To

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 How Can I Forgive You?, 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 stop 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.

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About the Author:

Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D., is a nationally acclaimed expert on issues of trust, intimacy, and forgiveness. In private practice in Westport, Connecticut, she is the author of the award-winning How Can I Forgive You?, The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To, and Life with Pop: Lessons on Caring for an Aging Parent.

From Publishers Weekly:

Abrahms Spring, a clinical psychologist, follows up her bestselling After the Affair with this new self-help manual that aims to provide a better way to forgive or not forgive others. With the assistance of her husband, and in clear, insightful writing, Abrahms Spring draws on many case studies to fully analyze four categories of forgiveness: cheap forgiveness, refusing to forgive, acceptance and genuine forgiveness. The author is convinced that morally and spiritually a person is no more required to forgive an unrepentant offender than he or she is to love him. When someone who has been truly wronged and forgives too easily (cheap forgiveness), that person is not acting in their own best interest, but rather preserving a relationship at any cost. An absolute refusal to forgive Abrahms, Spring posits, is also harmful to the injured person. Although punishing the offender may provide a sense of power, it also fosters negativity and self-isolation. The author advises that when genuine forgiveness is impossible, because the injury is too great or the offender will not apologize, a better decision than holding onto anger is to work through the injury, or acceptance. This healing process will lead to emotional resolution and the ability to move on with one's life. Genuine forgiveness, Abrahms Spring maintains, occurs when both parties negotiate a process during which the hurt person expresses his or her pain, and the offender apologizes and takes responsibility for his or her poor behavior. In the end, this is a thoughtful exposition on the nuanced role of forgiveness in relationships that goes beyond the average self-help book.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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