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How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To Paperback – February 1, 2005
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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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
“Spring really shines.... Armed with her insights, offenders and those they’ve offended have hope of recovery.” (Bellingham Herald)
“A truly stellar book putting forgiveness in a new, revealing light and provides clear steps to turn wounds into wisdom.” (Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind)
“This book is a treasure trove for anyone who has ever felt betrayed or hurt by a personal relationship.” (Peggy Papp, author of Couples on the Fault Line: New Directions for Therapists)
“Clear, insightful…a thoughtful exposition on the nuanced role of forgiveness in relationships that goes beyond the average self-help book.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A fresh and original approach to an ancient challenge.” (Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., author of Getting the Love You Want)
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Top customer reviews
I have read numerous books and have even done some counseling in my earlier years and rarely get excited about a book. However, this is definitely one of the most helpful and on target books I have seen. It is well-written in that it is simple, straightforward and very easy to read. Many people in 12-step programs would benefit, and even more if they are not. You will likely find and understand yourself in this book as well as those you love, including the person/people who hurt you. This book will help you heal yourself and your current (and future) relationships, including with the person who hurt you, whether you decide to work things out with them or move on and let them go, I am buying additional copies of this one for my children.
I was so confused and stuck and so glad I picked this up. I thank the authors for helping me find some peace during one of the most difficult and painful times in my life.
In addition to the physical abuse, there has been a lot of verbal and emotional abuse going on in this relationship for years. This escalated more after the birth of my now 2 year old child. I have been trying to forgive my husband for the way he has been treating me for years now, but it hasn't worked. My mother sent me a book on forgiveness, and I couldn't get through five pages of it. I've read articles online, and I couldn't stomach them either. They just seem so empty - "forgive and forget" is the popular mantra. "It will make you feel so much better!" people claim.
I probably have an overdeveloped sense of justice, but it makes me feel dirty forgiving people who have done horrible things when they have done nothing to put them right. I'm just not okay with that. What is described in this book feels so much more complete and realistic to me.
I can learn to ACCEPT what others have done to me so that bad experiences do not poison my life. Spring says this is your best option when the person who wronged you will not (or is not capable of) making amends. This usually goes along with taking steps to protect yourself because this person will likely harm you again (i.e. In my case I could accept what my husband did, but still get a divorce.)
I can practice TRUE FORGIVENESS with a person who is truly making an effort to make amends. This does not mean everything has to go back to the way it was before (i.e. I could choose to stay with my husband or choose to get a divorce.) but this is the best option if the other person is willing to put out the effort and if you would like to have some sort of healthy relationship with them.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who needs to forgive (in some way, shape or form) but who cannot stomach the typical self-help forgiveness books; I think this book will be much more palatable to most people.
How do you forgive someone who has hurt you and your child so badly? And who still insists that everything is still your fault?
According to Janis, you can choose not to forgive but to accept and come to terms. I am glad to be able to know that it is not a dichotomy between forgiveness and unforgiveness.