Forgiveness is at Times Necessary in Any Relationship!

Even the most loving of relationships have conflicts or mis-steps or even deliberate cruelties that call for forgiveness. Sometimes you forgive and move on without maintaining that abusive relationship. Most of the time, I hope you can forgive and move forward to a deeper, richer quality in the relationship. Although forgiveness can be hard, Forgiveness frees us.

Forgiveness Frees ME!

Anger is a powerful feeling. Sometimes we hang onto feelings of anger because those feelings create a false sense of protection…security. The belief may be, “If I let go of my anger, I will be vulnerable to being hurt badly again.” It’s healthier to replace the anger with a strong boundary of protection. For example, during one time in my life, my parents were very critical of me whenever I saw them by myself. So for a few years, I only saw them when other family members were also present. They treated me with more respect when others were around. That boundary made it possible for me to forgive them for their limited points of view.

Another misconception is that forgiveness lets the offender off the hook. Forgiveness isn’t for the offender. It’s for you! It releases you from living in bitterness and fear. The offender will always suffer the consequences of being an offender unless he or she is truly repentant and changes their ways. There is what some call a karmic tally sheet that keeps tabs and dishes out consequences unless the pattern is reversed. In the Bible, God said, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay.” We only hurt ourselves when we hang onto the poison of unforgiveness. Keep reminding yourself that forgiveness frees ME!

Forgiveness Begins with an Intention

“I don’t feel forgiving” is another reason some refuse to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t a feeling. It starts with an intention…and may take many times of repeating that intention before the release of feelings follows. In fact, if forgiveness is granted too soon, it may be what some call a spiritual bypass. A spiritual bypass is a way of avoiding the painful feelings of being abused or betrayed. Those genuine, understandable feelings need to be vented either in a journal or with a trusted friend or therapist until the wound begins to heal. Then it’s time to forgive and set healhy boundaries to prevent a recurrance of that event.

Real Life Examples

My late husband Jim and I didn’t struggle with forgiving the little daily annoyances that seem to be part of living together. We both, however, resisted forgiving the other for the enormous pain that hurt us and our children in the early years of our marriage. It took time for us to trust that we were going to keep the agreements that resolved our biggest issue. After a few years of consistently maintaining our vow to always treat each other with respect, trust replaced the hurt and anger. Forgiveness Frees US!

Even Adultery Can be Forgiven

The chapter called “Do I Have To?” in How to Stay Married & Love It EVEN MORE! shares the stories of two couples who suffered from the betrayal of adultery. One couple, Jim and Patty, share very openly their journey of forgiveness and the restoration of their love. Another wife, Sally, shares her journey of forgiveness that included the necessity of ending the marriage. Both stories from real life struggles are inspiring and leave no excuse for refusing to forgive.

Self-Forgiveness is the Hardest of All

A large part of the process of grieving the loss of my son Steven, was forgiving myself for judging myself as a bad mother. After all, only a bad mother would rear a son to be addicted to drugs, right? I first had to examine that belief. It was egotistical to believe that I, or anything I may have done poorly, was the sole cause of his choice to use drugs. There were far more elements involved than just how he was parented. The biggest element was his choice.

The process of releasing myself from a heavy burden of self-judgment took several months of intense, deep, emotional work and an unwavering intention. My motive for forgiving myself was the deep inner wisdom that self-forgiveness was the only way any good could come from the fifteen year path Steve and I had walked together through his addiction and my codependence. It was easy to forgive him, compared to how hard I had to work to forgive myself.

A few years after my heart and soul were cleansed from judgment of him and myself, I had the inspiration to write Pungent Boundaries, about my journey to freedom from codependency. That book has already helped hundreds of others learn the skill of setting healthy, self-honoring boundaries. Forgiveness frees YOU and ME!

If you need to embark on the challenging journey of forgiveness, you have my love and support,

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