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Maplewood Counseling
Debra Feinberg, LCSW
Essex County New Jersey

Maplewood Counseling
Debra Feinberg LCSW
169 Maplewood Ave Suite 4
Maplewood, NJ 07040
Call Now (973) 902-8700


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Forgiveness and Reconciliation

by

Understanding Reconciliation and Forgiveness

The main difference between forgiveness and reconciliation is forgiveness only takes one person – you. In contrast reconciliation takes two people. To forgive someone, the person does not even have to be there.

Forgiveness is for the forgiver.  It is about learning to eventually let go of the anger, bitterness, resentment you carry around with you. Maybe you were hurt by a parent growing up. Possibly your mother or father was very abusive and you experienced some abuse, neglect, or other painful emotions.

In addition, as an adult your spouse, partner or others caused you deep emotional pain. Maybe infidelity, leaving the relationship, treating you poorly in general and maybe in from of your children. Carrying around the anger only hurts you. If you really pay attention, you can understand how the body is impacted by holding on to all of the negative emotions. Possibly you feel if you “let go” it will mean you are giving up something so important and it seems too difficult. Also, hanging on will only be harmful to you and not allow you to open to more positive, loving feelings.

What Makes Forgiveness so Difficult?

Hanging on to anger and resentment is a burden. It will hurt you and make it difficult to open your heart. Forgiving someone that hurt you takes time. It is important to process the pain fully and not cut off all the different emotions that come up. Also, it may feel like you are letting go of something very important – something that will hurt even more. Letting go may mean giving up on something that will cause more pain. It may not be something you are fully aware of, but there may be something very old – possibly fro childhood, that has not been resolved. There is, however, no point hanging on to the anger since it will only hurt you and interfere with your ability to love.

What Reconciliation Looks Like

Reconciliation, on the other hand, takes two people. If repair is going to happen, it will mean a very, thoughtful conversation about what has happened, taking complete responsibility, apologizing, understanding, and conveying you will try to not do the very thing again that caused the painful experience(s).  If reconciliation can happen, it might sound something like this…

“I’m so sorry for the pain I caused you. I take complete responsibility and apologize deeply. I understand what I did hurt you and I’m sorry. I will try to not do this again and this is how.”  Validating the other person and the pain they experienced is very important.  It can be apologizing for the smallest issues to the most deeply painful experiences.

Reconciliation can’t happen with someone that his not willing. Repair cannot happen with a person that is no longer in your life or has passed away. However, you can forgive that person for the pain they caused since will help you love again, release tension, bitterness and anger . As a result, there will be many benefits to your emotional and physical health and you won’t have to look back on your life regretting your did not letting go sooner.  It will give you freedom to not keep trying to “punish” the other person.

If you need help with reconciliation or forgiveness, please get in touch.

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