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

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The idea of having four different types of forgiveness was new to me. Also, the permission to consider NOT forgiving as the right choice was freeing.

    This book took what I knew about forgiveness and expanded my perspective tremendously. It describes four different types of forgiveness. It walks you through some scenarios and then the process of forgiveness for each type. The information allows you to make the choice of what type of forgiveness fits the situation and your personal intent/need with that incident or relationship.

    One important note is this author's perspective and most of the experiences in the book come from infidelity in a marriage. It's not the focus of this book but the examples tend to use that frame of reference.

    I found the chapter on earned forgiveness very enlightening. It clearly states the components of true forgiveness and the roles of both parties to reach that goal.

    It also explains how you can decide where you are in the process and helps to determine your goal. Sometimes the best choice is to not forgive and to walk away.

    I found this book to combine the concepts of working to save a relationship with the assistance to accept if that work will not produce true forgiveness and allow the relationship to continue.

    Also, it discusses what beliefs we may have based on our religious upbringing. There are Biblical quotes to illustrate where certain teachings on the topic of forgiveness may have started and how they have evolved throughout time.

    This is definitely one that I have kept for my bookshelf to read as my relationships change and as my own needs change in those relationships.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2009

    This is the book I wish I had known about years ago . . .

    This book will be extraordinarily helpful to anyone who has been deeply hurt in a relationship - but where the "offender" is unable or unwilling to be remorseful, make amends, and change behaviors.

    I loved the author's radical idea that there is an alternative to forgiveness - a way forward (which she calls "acceptance") which can result in wholeness for the betrayed person.

    This book is thorough, thoughtfully structured, detailed, and a model of clarity. I underscored passages and added in my own commentary throughout. Thank goodness I had my own copy!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book addresses an area that is a part of many (most) issues

    This book addresses an area that is a part of many (most) issues I see in my clinical practice, I hurried to read it.  I was disappointed in the book until I realized Dr. Spring’s use of “forgiveness” was given a much broader definition than the one I generally use.  After I understood her perspective, I found this book to be well worth the effort invested in reading it and it will be referenced in my work and as “assigned” to those with whom I sit who might benefit from its information.
    Part one of the book, “Cheap Forgiveness,” is not forgiveness, it is avoidance. The offended does not seek healthy ways of being freed from the injury and “cuts off” contact with the offender or does not value her/himself in the relationship enough to hold accountable those responsible for the hurt.  Dr. Spring sees this action as doing more to bind the injured to the offender than resolve the conflict, does nothing to deepen the relationship or individuate either party.
    Part two, “Refusing to Forgive,” is not forgiveness, either according to the author. From my perspective, this occurs when the relationship is unbalanced to the point where both parties feel they must resort to being “victimized” to restore “balance” to said relationship.  Dr. Spring identifies this action solidifies the injured (whether the injury is real or imagined) in “hate” and keeps the individual “stuck” at the place of hurt.
    Part three, “Acceptance,” according to Dr. Spring, is not forgiveness but it is close. This is the realization that the offender will not change, take responsibility for the injury and/or acknowledge that an injury occurred but the offended wants/needs to remain in relationship with the offender.  The offended does not “forgive,” but accepts the relationship as it is and will hold that relationship at a safe distance.  I agree with Dr. Spring that acceptance is an intricate part of forgiveness.
    Part four, “Genuine Forgiveness,” once again according to the author, is a process in which both the injured and injurer must work together to obtain the goal of forgiveness.  For Dr. Spring, genuine forgiveness includes, and is incomplete without: restitution, atonement and reconciliation.  In Dr. Spring’s scheme, forgiveness must be “earned,” it cannot be given by the offended without direct, intense contact with the offender.  
    There is much positive in this work with some major distractions for me.  The author's insistence of using the masculine gender to describe the offender and the feminine when speaking of the victim.  Her case studies are not gender specific but that does not diminish the stereotype suggested by the use of this literary devise.  Secondly,  Frequently she speaks to opposing points of view in such a way as to invalidate arguments w/o the opposing view being completely represented.  Thirdly, Dr. Spring sees that ANY offense,  to be forgiven, must be admitted by the “offender,” even if the offender does not recall its occurrence or if there as any offense to be had.  I hope Dr. Spring’s insistence on this point is more toward the opening of dialogue rather than requiring admission of guilt where none is felt or merited.
    Overall, the book will be of  help to those who need help in moving beyond the pain they have suffered from hurts that seem to be intractable.  The processes she suggests, case studies presented and the research she presents can all be helpful in aiding the reader toward a healthier life and relationships.  

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2011

    Exceptionally Amazing and life changing

    This book is life changing. It causes you to look inward and look at the qualities about yourself that many of us are afraid to acknowledge. If you've ever been deeply hurt this book is for you. It gives you steps to find acceptance & forgiveness;and for those of who are atheist or agnostic like myself, this is the only book I found without the need for "God" to find forgiveness. This book will impact your life in ways you never imagined.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2009

    Timeliness is everything

    It has been 10 months....I have read a number of other books, many helpful; but I struggle with "forgiveness". This book was timely and the concept I found most helpful here is "acceptance". For those not ready to forgive, this concept has helped me push aside the vile images and thoughts that have preoccupied me for too long. It is perhaps a "bridge" to forgiveness.
    I wish I had read "After The Affair" sooner. I ordered it at the same time and would recommend it for the newly wounded

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2007

    Incredible Read

    One of the questions that I struggled with after experiencing the infidelity of my husband was 'what did I do to cause him to do this?' and 'how could I forgive someone who was not remorseful?'. After reading this book, I realized that I didn't do anything to 'cause' my ex-husband to cheat and that it was possible to forgive my ex-husband even though he was unremorseful for his actions. Learning to forgive does not necessarily mean learning to forget.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    Packed with great information and real life stories

    This helped me immensely when I faced infidelity in my marriage. I strongly recommend it for both parties if they are trying to work it out or not.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Profound

    Everyone should read this book. If you have been hurt or hurt someone in any
    way, shape or form read this book. I reread certain paragraphs over and over and just was floored by the straight forward messages that help you understand forgivness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2010

    When you need help after a betrayal, and there are no good answers, and it all hurts, look here.

    I cannot recommend this book strongly enough to anyone seeking peace after a betrayal. I have since recommended it to two friends when they couldn't make sense of their lives after a betrayal and they both have repeatedly thanked me for starting them on a path to recovery, happiness and wholeness again.

    IF YOU HAVE BETRAYED SOMEONE, READ THIS BOOK!

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