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89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2004
This book is fantastic. Instead of the typical "forgive or don't forgive" as being your only two options, it gives you a way to deal with, get over, and release yourself from past hurts. It's not always possible to forgive someone who's hurt you if they haven't shown any effort to repair the damage, and choosing not to forgive them simply poisons your life. This book teaches another alternative, acceptance, and walks you through the exercises needed to "get over" past hurts. One thing I really like is that it also helps you re-examine the things that have happened to you and look at them in an honest, broader scope. Bottom line--I think it's going to dramatically help me heal the numerous past hurts I've been hanging onto once I go through each exercise, and I'd highly recommend it!
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2006
I found this book to be very supportive of multiple situations that would require forgiveness, but it was primarily targeted at people dealing with post-affair syndrome. There were a lot of case examples to help you feel like you weren't alone, but it edged on being too many stories and not enough help. The help comes a little later in the book. The best part about this book was simply guiding you to identify what you need from the hurting party in order to grant forgiveness. There are a lot of tips for both parties in a situation, so this is a good choice for people on both ends of an affair, but I do suggest reading "After the Affair" first because the author makes a lot of references.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2007
Dr. Janis Abrahms Spring has written a wonderful book here. She talks about refusing to forgive, which breeds bitterness, and Cheap Forgiveness, which is "an inauthentic act of peacekeeping that resolves nothing." This is usually comes about when the hurt party is fearful about losing a relationship with someone who hurt them, or where the hurt person believes quick forgiveness is what's required by their spiritual beliefs. Ultimately, Cheap Forgiveness is a position of weakness. It doesn't build trust in the relationship or heal the hurt person. It just sweeps the offense under the rug.

Genuine Forgiveness, according to Dr. Spring, is the most fulfilling type of forgiveness but requires the participation of both the hurt party and the offender. It's a transaction, and is conditional on repentance and restitution on the part of the offender. In other words, the offender has to acknowledge the pain the hurt party felt, apologize genuinely, non-defensively and responsibly, and work hard to regain the trust of the hurt person. Only then can the hurt party offer the offender Genuine Forgiveness -- a vital building block for future relationship between the two.

But sometimes the offender is not available to participate in forgiveness. She might be dead, or he might be unwilling to admit that there was a wrong committed or deny that he has any responsibility. What then? Dr. Spring offers a third way -- a beautiful, thoughtful, helpful third way -- Acceptance. This is a path toward healing which the hurt party can travel alone. In her book, Dr. Spring suggests ten steps to get to Acceptance of the offense. By working through each of these steps, a person can learn and grow beyond the pain, beyond the hurt, and move on.
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93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
Having just emerged from a Kafkaesque nightmare where I was harassed, slandered and chased out of an intentional community by a sociopathic bully, Dr. Spring's insights are a balm to a tender soul.
Having been the target of overt campaign of "shaming, shunning and ostracization" I struggled with many conflicting feelings. The injustice fed into fury and I plummeted into a spiralling anger, resentfulness and obsessional thinking.
I resisted the facile advice of letting go or forgiving the offender. If only I could bring this man to justice, then I would feel better. When I heard Dr. Spring interviewed on NPR by Diane Rehm I recognized that my desire to "out" my offender would never lead to liberation and healing. I was entrapped in the quicksand of self-isolation and negativity.
After reading this book I was able to reconnect with my "inner goodness" and come to that place of "Radical Acceptance." I suspect that I will always feel some pain around this incident in my life, however, by embracing acceptance and the grief this process evokes, I am free to move on and persevere with the aspects of life that nourish me. I will never allow anyone intervene between my heart and my inner goodness.
For anyone who has been harmed intentionally or unconsciously by an abuser, bully or offender, this work is manna to the soul.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2007
After reading this author's "After the Affair" several times, this book is a great next step. She gives solid information, with good direction, without being judgemental. Her case histories are also helpful and poignant.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2006
Excellent self-help advice about dealing with betrayal from others. It tells you how you can choose alternatives in responding to betrayal other than total forgiveness. Importantly, a person must accept what has happened (i.e., the betrayal), analyze the situation, recognize and choose from alternatives about dealing with the betrayal, and "move on." Revenge or retribution, a natural impulse, is shown to just be counter-productive and prolong the emotional pain. I have found the information in this book very helpful in my own life.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2004
My husband and I have been counseled by Dr. Spring for over a year and we have also read both of her books. She has expertly guided us through the process of healing our marriage and we have grown closer than we have ever been in thirteen years. Her books are an excellent resource. After reading "After the Affair" I was prompted to contact her. I would highly recommend her first book and "How Can I Forgive You" to anyone struggling with infidelity issues. She is logical, rational, and understanding of both partners' issues. These are skills that she effectively utilizes in therapy with us. She keeps us focused and reminds us that our united goal is to make repairs in our marriage.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2005
This book is very well written and has been a wonderful help to me. I find myself rereading sections when I find myself in a particular situation. This book would be good for anyone going through trust issues.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2008
This book is truly one of the most helpful books I have ever read. My husband had an affair with a friend of mine and we are in the midst of much counseling, etc. I need help with the forgiveness part--both for my husband and my friend. The book speaks about forgiveness choices...Cheap Forgiveness, Refusing to Forgive, Acceptance and Genuine Forgiveness. Because my friend will not take responsibility for her part in the affair, I can deal with it by "Accepting" not her behavior, but the fact that it happened and go on with my life without so much anger. My husband and I are working towad Genuine Forgiveness, NOT Cheap Forgiveness which would ultimately get us no where in trusting one another. Dr. Spring gives precise guidelines to work with using knowledge from her clinical work. This is not just a self-help book. It's real help for people who are truly hurting. Thanks so much.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2013
I have been a state court trial judge for almost 17 years, trying all types of felony cases, rape, capital murder,kidnapping, assault, arson you name it.

In that time I have seem victims and victim's families trying to cope with horrible things that have been done to them. Often, the worst thing done to them is our Christian guilt trip that they are obliged to forgive the criminal that committed some terrible crime against them. 90% of the time, the criminal refuses to apologize, say he is sorry, or ask for forgiveness. I have seen families destroyed because they think they have to forgive some monster for killing their child.

So a few years ago I discovered "How Can I Forgive You?" book and it made a lot of since. Some people do not want, ask, or deserve to be forgiven. I, as the judge, am not in the forgiveness business that is for God. So, I purchased some of these books and when my heart tells me (as it did today)that somebody is really is in pain over this, I give them this book. I hope it helps. A murder victim's son told me she had been trying to forgive the killer for 3 years but after reading this book she was at peace.

I don't see a lot of peace in my profession but maybe in a small way this book has brought some people a little of it.
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