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Michele HappeMichele Happe Blog
A place for discussion of addictions, codependency and eating disorders

Another View of Forgiveness

Michele Happe, MA, LADC Updated: Feb 7th 2011

Most discussions on forgiveness involve and offense, an apology and an acceptance of the apology leading to forgiveness. I would like to present another view. I have been influenced by my years as a therapist, being a recovering person and my Buddhist training.

sorry post-it noteIn order to forgive, we need to know what forgiveness is. Forgiveness benefits the forgiver, not the one to be forgiven. The one forgiven may feel a sense of relief that he or she is off the hook so to speak, but the forgiver receives the Karmic benefit.

Forgiveness does not mean, "oh thats ok" especially when the offense is grave. Forgiveness is radical acceptance of the truth of the situation. For instance, your parent lays really big guilt trips on you over and over. What happens when you forgive one offense only to have that happen over and over again. Must you forgive over and over? No.

Radical acceptance goes something like this. My parent is serial guilt tripper. He or she will do this over and over again. I know this to be true. I can actually come to expect this on a regular basis. I get it! Once we get it when the offense happens again we are no longer affected viscerally. We come to expect that behavior and we are able to brush it off our shoulders. We are able to say to ourselves…"put on the seatbelt, we are going on a guilt trip", meaning we begin to not take the offense personally.

When we do not take another's offense personally, it is no longer about us. We just look at it as the way this person operates. We have no visceral reaction. We no longer become triggered.

Forgiveness is radical acceptance of what is. It is a process that requires mindfulness and introspection and maturity. It requires detachment from the offending person. This loving detachment creates the ability to humbly see our offending parent as a being that is hurting and unable to operate in a mature way. When we say to the other, "I forgive you" in essence we are saying "I get you".

Be well!


Michele Happe, MA, LADCI am a licensed addictions therapist that specializes in addiction and codependency. I use Buddhist principles to aid in recovery and to help promote happiness. I also write and teach about these issues. I have a private practice in Minden, NV and Reno, NV and work nationally on the phone(775)230-1507 and through skype (mhappenow). My webpage is Join me on Facebook for lots of mini teachings.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Repeat offenders - Michele Happe - Feb 12th 2011


Not all offenders are repeat offenders.  Those who are intrenched in their own bad habits will continually exhibit those offenses.  To think that they will change is more likely to lead to depression when they don't. 


For those who are open to feedback and want to grow, real learning can take place.  That is the path to enlightenment.


Thanks for your comment...

CBT - Perrywong - Feb 7th 2011

Your article suggests that we are to assume that the offending party will repeatedly carry out the offence. This is in direct opposition to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which puts forward the argument that to assume things will always be bleak, based on past experiences, is a 'Thinking Error' as nobody can predict the future.

To do otherwise would begin to feed the depression, once again, of the person offended...

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