It’s coming up on two months since my father passed away. When big events like trauma or deaths come into my life, I track the passage of time in terms of months. Each month has some form of anniversary reaction.
Although I know that the reactions will come, I still have to go through them. I don’t get a special pass on grief because I’m a therapist.
Although my father and I were each therapists who worked with couples, there were areas where we differed. I’ve been thinking about our differences of opinions.
I had been in discussions with him about doing some podcasts together where we discussed various couples issues. in
One of those was regarding forgiveness. He took the position that we are commanded to forgive. I took the position that you need choice when it comes time to forgive.
I understand where he was coming from. I also know that taking the position of ‘you are commanded to forgive’ has a way of traumatizing you all over again when it comes to affairs.
When your trust was betrayed, you didn’t have a choice in the matter. It’s only when you consider forgiveness that you have choice. You go from feeling helpless to finally having a say in relationship matters.
Having a choice is important in relationships, especially after an affair. Taking away that choice by saying forgiveness is expected and required is counterproductive to healing.
Having the sense of no longer being helpless that comes with choice is an important part of healing. You need something that restores your sense of having worth and value.
I can see some benefit to the idea of being commanded to refrain from revenge. I also see some good coming from not holding lifetime grudges. I continue holding to the importance of giving that sense of choice back to you.
I also know that forgiveness is not just about moving past the betrayal. It’s also about restoring a sense of dignity and compassion. It provides an opportunity for reconnection with each other.
I go further into forgiveness on the video “Forgiveness: Stop the Pain, Tear down the walls and Remove the Roadblocks”. If you have questions about how to do it or need to understand more about what it is, I encourage you to purchase a copy of the video.
Nothing in this Work is intended to replace common sense, legal, medical or other professional advice. If your situation warrants it, please seek competent professional counsel.