“Forgivingness” Strongly Correlated with Mental Health

Rob Wipond
37
638

The more forgiving people are, the fewer symptoms of mental disorders they experience, according to a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology. The researchers suggested that teaching forgiveness may be a valuable mental health early intervention strategy.

The team of California psychologists recruited 148 young adults from a mid-sized, Midwest liberal arts college, who completed surveys about their histories of physical and emotional stress and well-being and their tendencies to be “forgiving” towards themselves or others.

The researchers wrote that their findings “show for the first time that forgivingness is a strong, independent predictor of mental and physical health…” Specifically, regardless of the types and levels of stresses the participants reported, the researchers found greater forgiving tendencies linked to fewer negative mental health symptoms.

“[W]e found that lifetime stress severity was unrelated to mental health for persons who were highest in forgivingness, significantly associated with poorer mental health for persons exhibiting moderate levels of forgivingness, and most strongly related to poorer mental health for participants exhibiting the lowest levels of forgivingness,” wrote the researchers.

The researchers did not study how or why this correlation may exist, but hypothesized that “forgiving individuals may have a more adaptive or extensive repertoire of coping strategies,” “forgivingness may dampen emotional, physiologic, or genomic components of the stress response that lead to poor health,” or “forgivingness may facilitate healthier behaviors in the aftermath of major life stress.”

“To the extent that forgiveness training can promote a more forgiving coping style, then these interventions may help reduce stress-related disease and improve human health. Such interventions may be particularly beneficial when delivered as a prevention strategy in early life, before individuals are exposed to major adulthood life stressors,” the researchers wrote.

Effects of lifetime stress exposure on mental and physical health in young adulthood: How stress degrades and forgiveness protects health (Toussaint, Loren et al. Journal of Health Psychology. Published online before print August 19, 2014, doi: 10.1177/1359105314544132)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

37 COMMENTS

  1. I do not think I can agree with this. How do you measure forgiveness? Is this study saying people who suffer with depression and other issues just need to forgive? I have forgiven people and I continue to have the same issues. “Forgiveness” is just too ambiguous and unmeasurable and I would think people who have depression can be more forgiving and often endure more than they should.

    • Also I’m not sure that is something that a) can be taught b) should be taught. It’s pretty arrogant to tell people who suffer as a result of abuse that they will be OK if they just forgive. It’s all nice and sounds lovely but I’d be more interested in justice being served and in abuse being prevented in the first place.

  2. I partly agree with this. As I have gotten older, and my life coping skills have become more effective, I find that although I don’t really “forget” when someone mistreats me, I do usually forgive. I realize that everybody has their own reality, and in their reality, whatever they did made sense at the time.

    However, I also agree with coreyjwiley that there are things that are better not forgiven. It’s the thin line between forgive and forget that is the problem. For example, I have a sibling with a personality disorder that has created havoc in my life every time I have taken her back into my sphere after one of her stunts or outbursts. I no longer allow her in my life. I try not to dwell on my feelings about the things she has done. Keeping her out of my life allows me to do that.

    So, I think the issue is more complicated that the word “forgiveness” implifes.

    • “However, I also agree with coreyjwiley that there are things that are better not forgiven. It’s the thin line between forgive and forget that is the problem.”

      I can see vegwellian’s point about forgiveness/forgetting and not wanting to repeat the same negative cycle with people who one has had bad experiences I have similar experiences. In my comment I never said “there are things that are better not forgiven”. I’d say it is good to orient oneself in the general direction of “forgiveness” for one’s own peace of mind as well as to show some degree of mercy, understanding or consideration for the other in their particular imperfect human condition, and to try to introduce some element of closure on the past. This does not mean they are completely absolved from all accountability or that one should go back to regular interaction with the other. Forgiveness is a very big word that can encompass broad range of nuance in actual life circumstances.

  3. The study referred to being forgiving towards self and others. I think that often the most important part of this is to be forgiving to self. I have known many persons who struggled with depression and anxiety who tend to be very hard on themselves. Being a perfectionist or being very demanding on oneself can create anxiety and depression.

  4. I am waiting to hear how the biologically-oriented are going to spin that “forgiveness” is somehow an inborn biological trait that can’t be learned.

    I agree, a pretty big jump from this correlation to the conclusion. Still, at least they’re recommending teaching something instead of drugging us into “forgiveness!”

    —- Steve

  5. I find this somewhat interesting because I was drugged by psychiatry, according to my medical records, because I believed in the Holy Spirit and God.

    And I had learned long ago, in college, the first time I had ever hated a person, that hating another was a waste of my time and trouble. Unethical, disrespectful, or psychopathic people don’t give a sh-t whether you forgive them or not, so why bother wasting your own energy hating them.

    Now, the psychiatric industry, that defamed and discredited me for belief in Jesus’ theology, is finding my Christian belief system it to be true. Perhaps the psychopathic psychiatrists should stop illegally defaming and drugging the Christians in the USA, since Jesus’ theology has merit?

    • I don’t think you’re crazy for believing in the Holy Spirit and God. I certainly don’t believe you needed to be drugged for it. I don’t think such beliefs are a pseudo science, either. And I think this is a valid point that’s made in the study.

      The study certainly says nothing about forcing anything on anyone, and says: “The researchers suggested that teaching forgiveness may be a valuable mental health early intervention strategy. ”

      and

      “To the extent that forgiveness training can promote a more forgiving coping style, then these interventions may help reduce stress-related disease and improve human health. Such interventions may be particularly beneficial when delivered as a prevention strategy in early life, before individuals are exposed to major adulthood life stressors,” the researchers wrote.”

      Always using the word may.

      I can relate to my own life what the difference is when I’m “forgiving.”

      I do think there’s a correlation with miracles and forgiving. and I believe miracles exist, that they are natural, and they happen all the time. Even Quantum Physics has strongly determined that we effect what we observe, that we aren’t separate from what we observe, and the rules that would say miracles are impossible, that the laws of separation we’ve taken on between ourself, our thoughts, and the environment start to dissolve. It’s only completely logical that what quality thoughts you have relate to your environment. I think forgive is an ancient concept from the beginning of human language, and comes from two words: for and give. Quantum physics also says that the Universe comes from a singularity that expands into itself (not outside of itself). ONE singularity that created the whole Universe, and had that miraculous ability to give (and give without waging loss to give, without judging, without holding back without inhibiting love). I really don’t think our belief that we need to judge each other, and that we need to wager loss when we cease to hate another, as if that would control them; that this has the same power as for-give, which created the whole Universe. I also think each child born has that power in them, but it’s not recognized. I think people are actually scared of it, because it would replace all of their control tactics with something they can’t control or even teach. It’s just there, it expands into itself.

      Anyhow, no, I don’t think you’re crazy or practicing pseudo science when you say you believe in God and the Holy Spirit.

      .

      • Thanks, Nijinsky. I don’t either, and it’s illegal in the US to force medicate people for belief in the Triune God in the US, so my doctors all broke the law. And denial of the Holy Spirit is the only unforgivable sin in the Holy Bible, too. So is it proper to forgive the only “unforgivable sin” in the Holy Bible? All my Methodist pastors say it is not.

        Okay, so what is one to do? I guess, treat them as they treated you. Point out their “mental illnesses” and educate them about their ignorance of the toxic effects of their drugs. And point out that, according to my pastor, historically and today the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” is that the best way for doctors to cover up their easily recognized medical mistakes and pastors to cover up their child abuse hobbies is shipping people off to psychiatrists to be defamed, discredited, tortured, and poisoned.

        But, an industry which covers up easily recognized iatrogenesis and sexual abuse of children by defaming victims with fictional diseases isn’t a respectable profession. Psychiatrists felt it their right to destroy my reputation, so I imagine that’s how they’d like to be treated. Don’t you think?

        By the way, I agree quantum physics is an intriguing field. And my drug withdrawal induced awakening to the story of my dreams is a story about how all people are connected. Absolutely we need to realize there’s so much, in so many fields of science, that we do not even understand yet, as a species.

        How ridiculous the psychiatrist’s think their “bible” of stigmatizations properly represents anything other than a medicalization of all human emotions and behaviors, although it is a very good description of the “serious mental illnesses” their drugs cause, too. It is not, however, a “bible” that benefits humanity as a whole.

    • “Unethical, disrespectful, or psychopathic people don’t give a sh-t whether you forgive them or not, so why bother wasting your own energy hating them.”
      That is true but it’s also different from forgiveness, at least in a way I understand it. One thing is not to dwell on the past and move on but forgiveness is quite another. It requires things like justice, like understanding the other person’s perspective, reconciliation – it differs from person to person and situation to situation.
      There is value in forgiveness but I hate when people again put emphasis on what the victim should do. How about serving justice (that helps forgiveness for sure) or even better preventing the abuse/trauma in the first place? Psychiatry is all about victim blaming.

      • “Psychiatry is all about victim blaming,” I agree. And the hubris of psychiatrists fraudulently claiming to be men of science, then going around defaming people with scientifically invalid “mental illnesses,” then poisoning them with major drug interaction laden toxic drug cocktails, and then not utilizing their malpractice insurance for what it was intended, is deplorable and unforgivable behavior.

  6. Ah, good old forgiveness again. It’s just another burden foisted on the suffering. If only there was as much emphasis on change and remorse on the part of those needing to be forgiven.

    As for forgiveness (or “forgivingness”!) training, I find the very notion Orwellian and scary.

    • It sure is now starting to look like a primary function of the psychiatric industry is covering up sexual abuse of children by claiming the victims have a mental illness, and creating iatrogenic illnesses in the child abuse victims with the psychiatric drugs. 85% of those stigmatized as schizophrenic report trauma in childhood.

      And I was misdiagnosed as bipolar, according to my medical records, based upon a list of lies and gossip from the people who raped my small child. So, I’m certain the percentage of “bipolar” people who are actually dealing with a medical industry cover up of child abuse is also very high.

      Do we really need a huge faction of the medical industry, however, that’s main purpose is apparently aiding and abetting child molesters by defaming the child sexual abuse victims with fictional diseases?

      I think the medical community should get out of the business of covering up child abuse.

    • oldhead,
      Exactly. Very well said. Like “anger.” Some anger is absolutely appropriate and life-affirming/defending. To pathologize it across the board and/or in the abstract is to negate important parts of our humanity.

      Also, (general comment on the article) there are reasons some folks seem more “pre-disposed” to forgiveness (and all other manner of behaviors/temperament/tendencies) that have to do with quality of attachment (primarily) and/or discipline in their critical early years, and their resulting degree of resilience. See Dr. Faye Snyder, esp. “The Manual: The Definitive Book on Parenting and the Causal Theory” and “The Predictor Scale: Predicting and Understanding Behaviors According to Critical Childhood Experiences.”

  7. If one studies what the penal system does, which is perhaps the opposite of forgiveness, or the military industrial complex; you have the same correlations. A country which has the most people in jail per capita is the most violent, and has the biggest military industrial complex, and is the most involved in wars. Now people will excuse why said country needs all of the military weapons, but if you really study it, the result isn’t a lessoning of military aggression on the planet.

    Forgiveness also doesn’t mean one overlooks a person whose behavior is abusive, it simply means that there’s cause and effect there. A person loses track of their humanity in a system which sells that humanity to whoever can control them with fear and intimidation the best, and make it look like that’s harmony; along with all of the “consensual reality deportment,” fashions everyone is accord with in one nation but discordant with in another, cultural phobias (whether one can walk around naked outside for example) and other agreed upon norms. A system which is trauma based, and based on traumatizing and thus gaining control over other people through intimidation, violence and the mind control of trauma; this causes IMHO the breaking down of the human condition which ends up causing the kind of psychopaths (all again using trauma to control others, but without the overtures that it is necessary for the good of the all) who behave the way they do. I think the countries with the least harsh penal system also have the least crime. And the same, a country that is constantly making strategical alliances against another country by giving yet a different country weapons, one only has to look at recent history to see where this ends up, and what the result is. You give the power to people who want to control others with trauma, and you end up with people who want to control others with trauma, no matter how Utopian your ideas are or how much you believe it’s necessary for harmony, to stop criminal behavior and for a safe society.

    To say that because people who have done a statistical analyses of forgiveness, and presented this for whoever it might help, this shows they are trying to force it on people, and that this is the next step; this is the same logic that the pro-drugging people use would anyone say there’s a different way than drugging. EXACTLY the same response, and that chaos will ensue. And this is just because whoever choses not to believe in forgiveness, it’s immediately stereotyped and discriminated against. Does someone mention forgiveness, immediately they are stereotyped in such a way. You can tag the idea that someone is going to force “forgiveness” which clearly WOULDN’T be forgiveness (as little as forcing someone to have therapy to control their thoughts ends up being therapy rather than mind control), but that doesn’t change what forgiveness truly is. Nor does what Jesus true teaching means for those who it has brought solace to make those who preach that everyone has to do it their way or burn in hell (and again use trauma based controls wielding fear rather than forgiveness, compassion and love) those that represent forgiveness. That also doesn’t make no child left behind what it says it is, nor the clean air act or the war against terrorism something that has alleviated terrorism.

    To say a person is making things worse to be forgiving is like saying that they aren’t allowed to enjoy a poem, or a piece of music, or a walk in the park or have an intimate relationship with someone that makes them feel whole again; that they are supposed to maintain and hold onto an anger and believe that the whole world will fall apart would they let go of it. If they don’t use it to maintain control of others everything will fall apart. And yet it’s that same anger that breeds the kind of lack of the human condition which caused the trauma in those who are the abusers, I think. The only difference is that it’s not enmeshed with overtures of it being for the good for the all (see psychiatry and it’s belief that it’s saving the world from mental anguish). Would someone say this openly, I don’t know how many times the immediate knee jerk reaction is that whoever dared to do this is accused of being the cause for the abuse (simply because you’re not taking part in righteous abuse of the abuser), and someone is supposed to be scared to simply mention forgiveness, there’s such a hostile response, because you don’t take part in someone else’s war of guilt or try to propose something different than that they have the right to control other people’s lives with trauma (the penal system, guilt, hatred, righteous use of violent force).

    And it’s not as if forgiveness is easy. To actually dare to look at life and see what difference it makes when you stop seeing yourself as a victim, and don’t make alliances with all the ideas of justice that you would be entitled to would you; and actually see the non-violent beauty everyone thinks they can discard as soon as there’s a problem they believe needs their attack thoughts and trauma based controls. This isn’t easy at all, because as soon as you do this, or as soon as you’re not walking around with the same up-tightness built on trauma based controls, people react extremely phobic towards you, discriminatory; you become an object for any insecurities they might have coming from their belief that anyone not controlled by fear is undermining their system. It’s really not as if forgiveness is just some easy way to discard responsibility. Otherwise it’s again making alliances with those you would profit from. Forgive your boss because he pays you. Forgive those who you can use to intimidate others (or don’t forgive them, but say you still need them), but don’t forgive those who snap and can’t be controlled by this whole matrix and show what the result is without actually becoming part of the grind. I think those you are having to say are unforgivable are the collateral damage of the system you can’t let go of while you refuse to see it is causing you to lose your own humanity, your own ability to see the same spark of life you were given in everyone else.

    I don’t want to tell anyone they have to think the way I do, but I believe that we were all given the same spark. What you see as criminal behavior in anyone else is the result of conditions in their life that could have happened to anyone. Neglect and the very precept that you have to have an enemy, you have to have “evil” to combat, that you have to have control over another and the abuse that this results in; this might be the cause. If you can’t forgive them, perhaps you’re in denial what they went through, or you just don’t know, or you aren’t interested. You’re not being interested to bypass judgment and find out what went on, you’ll never find the cause, and it’s self perpetuating. When you can see the same spark of life you were given in them, the same spark that could never die, despite your fears of your own death; maybe this would make a difference. Here the “Christians” talk about hell, where you would go would you not follow their teachings which are supposed to be about forgiveness, and then the people against “forgiveness” say that hell (suffering pain, whatever you call it, abuse, criminals etc.) is created when you do forgive. Well. WOW! That’s quite a circus. Maybe there actually is something called forgiveness. Maybe we actually do have a spark from forever in us that doesn’t exist in linear time, that can’t be destroyed, a reality where there’s no loss when you give from love rather than fear. Something that’s for give, something that just gives and there’s no loss, no debt, no guilt. Something that restores humanity. Maybe Jesus WAS trying to show something about our true nature when he DIDN’T see himself as a victim and knew he would be resurrected, instead. And maybe that’s even an old story. Maybe all you really have to do is look at life and what happens when you stop investing in ways to control others through fear, trauma and the rest. Maybe even Jesus wanted to escape from all of it rather than have to deal with everyone’s need to control each other and separate into different groups, different “countries” into definitions of what’s good and what’s bad that mainly relies on defining what’s bad and producing it by what you do to prevent it (same as what the drug companies do preventing “mental illness:” the same epidemic) – and then say that forgiveness or lack of drugging is the cause in order to force people to take part in YOUR WAR and see things YOUR WAY as both or all sides are fighting for “mental health” and preventing it to maintain the privilege of saying it’s the other’s fault.

    And I don’t need to continue with this rant.

    Just try forgiveness, if you feel inclined. You’re not causing mayhem. It might REALLY make a difference, and you might find you actually do have the ability inside you to make change that your anger and your rational mind thought was impossible, and that it doesn’t matter when everyone says you’re crazy, would you actually witness that things change without you having to have evidence of anything that forced this change on others.

    • “You give the power to those who want to control others with trauma, and you end up with those who want to control others with trauma” in charge.

      I don’t have time to address everything you said, but I think this is an important point. Do we really want a medical industry that is traumatizing and tranquilizing and torturing human beings for profit?

      And why? In my case, so psychiatrists can cover up malpractice for other incompetent doctors. Wouldn’t we all be better off if the incompetent doctors were sued, however, and no longer practicing? Oh, and so a psychologist could aid and abet in covering up child abuse for her pastor. Her pastor’s neighborhood high school had the highest child suicide rate in the nation by the time my child was in high school – and the kids were all stigmatized and drugged. Wouldn’t we be better off, putting the child molesters in jail, instead?

      The psychiatrists are going around defaming and tranquilizing and poisoning people to cover up crimes and mistakes of others. This will lead to having the criminals and incompetent people in charge. Is that best for humanity?

    • “What you see as criminal behavior in anyone else is the result of conditions in their life that could have happened to anyone.”
      I’m not so sure about that.
      The problem is not that forgiveness is wrong or right. It brings the peace of mind, sure but it’s not an answer to everything. And it should be up to a victim to forgive or not and when he/she feels like it is time. Not for “professionals” to “teach” you to forgive. It’s only pathologising normal human emotions all over again and shifting the blame and the responsibility to the victim.

  8. Sorry, I was writing the prior post trying to catch the bus, I should have waited to post it, perhaps.

    Here’s an edited version, which might bet easier to understand (or not). But I’m going to stop poking at it now.

    If one studies what the penal system does, which is perhaps the opposite of forgiveness, or the military industrial complex; you have the same correlations. A country which has the most people in jail per capita is the most violent, and has the biggest military industrial complex, and is the most involved in wars. Now people will excuse why said country needs all of the military weapons, but if you really study it, the result isn’t a lessoning of military aggression on the planet.

    Forgiveness also doesn’t mean one overlooks a person whose behavior is abusive, it simply means that there’s cause and effect there. A person loses track of their humanity in a system which sells that humanity to whoever can control them with fear and intimidation the best, and make it look like that’s harmony; along with all of the “consensual reality deportment,” fashions everyone is accord with in one nation but discordant with in another, cultural phobias (whether one can walk around naked outside for example) and other agreed upon norms. A system which is trauma based, and based on traumatizing and thus gaining control over other people through intimidation, violence and the mind control of trauma; this causes IMHO the breaking down of the human condition which ends up causing the kind of psychopaths who behave the way they do (all again using trauma to control others, but without the overtures that it is necessary for the good of the all). I think the countries with the least harsh penal system also have the least crime. And the same, a country that is constantly making strategical alliances against another country by giving yet a different country weapons, one only has to look at recent history to see where this ends up, and what the result is. You give the power to people who want to control others with trauma, and you end up with people who want to control others with trauma, no matter how Utopian your ideas are or how much you believe it’s necessary for harmony to stop criminal behavior and for a safe society.

    To say that people who have done a statistical analyses of forgiveness, and presented this for whoever it might help and this means they are trying to force it on people or that this is the next step; this is the same logic that the pro-drugging people use would anyone say there’s a different way than drugging. EXACTLY the same response, and that chaos will ensue. You can tag the idea of “forgiveness” with force, just because someone dares say perhaps intimidation doesn’t work, but this clearly WOULDN’T be forgiveness (as little as forcing someone to have therapy to control their thoughts ends up being therapy rather than mind control). That doesn’t change what forgiveness truly is. Nor does what Jesus true teaching means for those who it has brought solace to make those who preach how everyone has to do it their way or burn in hell those that represent forgiveness while again they use trauma based controls wielding fear rather than forgiveness, compassion and love . That also doesn’t make no child left behind what it says it is, nor the clean air act or the war against terrorism something that has alleviated terrorism. Or said fast food place good nutrition or said movie company the purveyor of decency. Etc. etc. etc.

    To say a person is making things worse to be forgiving is like saying that they aren’t allowed to enjoy a poem, or a piece of music, or a walk in the park or have an intimate relationship with someone that makes them feel whole again: that they are supposed to maintain and hold onto an anger and believe that the whole world will fall apart would they let go of it. If they don’t use it to maintain control of others everything will fall apart. And yet it’s that same anger that breeds the kind of lack of the human condition which caused the trauma in those who are the abusers, I think. The only difference is that it’s not enmeshed with overtures of it being for the good of the all (see psychiatry and it’s belief that it’s saving the world from mental anguish). Would someone say this openly, so often the immediate knee jerk reaction is that whoever dared propose this is the cause for the abuse (when they’re not taking part in righteous abuse of the abuser), and thus someone is supposed to be scared to simply mention forgiveness, there’s such a hostile response. All because they don’t take part in someone else’s war of guilt or try to propose something different than that they have the right to control other people’s lives with trauma (the penal system, guilt, hatred, righteous use of violent force).

    And it’s not as if forgiveness is easy. To actually dare to look at life and see what difference it makes when you stop seeing yourself as a victim, when you don’t make alliances with all the ideas of justice that you would be entitled to would you see yourself as a victim but instead see the non-violent beauty everyone thinks they can discard as soon as there’s a problem they believe needs their attack thoughts and trauma based controls: this isn’t easy at all. As soon as you do this, or as soon as you’re not walking around with the same up-tightness built on trauma based controls, people react extremely phobic towards you, discriminatory; you become an object for any insecurities they might have coming from their belief that anyone not controlled by fear is undermining their system. It’s really not as if forgiveness is just some easy way to discard responsibility. Otherwise it’s again making alliances with those you would profit from. Forgive your boss because he pays you. Forgive those who you can use to intimidate others (or don’t forgive them, but say you still need them), but don’t forgive those who snap and can’t be controlled by this whole matrix and show what the result is without actually becoming part of the grind. I think those you are having to say are unforgivable are the collateral damage of the system you can’t let go of while you refuse to see it is causing you to lose your own humanity, your own ability to see the same spark of life you were given in everyone else.

    I don’t want to tell anyone they have to think the way I do, but I believe that we were all given the same spark. What you see as criminal behavior in anyone else is the result of conditions in their life that could have happened to anyone. Neglect and the very precept that you have to have an enemy, you have to have “evil” to combat; that you have to have control over another and see the abuse that this results in as collateral damage: this might be the cause. If you can’t forgive them, perhaps you’re in denial what they went through, or you just don’t know, or you aren’t interested. You’re not being interested facilitates you passing judgment instead, and then you won’t find out what went on: you’ll never find the cause (only try to control the effect with what caused the effect, actually imploding the situation), and it’s self perpetuating. When you can see the same spark of life you were given in them, the same spark that could never die, despite your fears of your own death; maybe this would make a difference. Here the “Christians” talk about hell, where you would go would you not follow their teachings which are supposed to be about forgiveness, and then the people against “forgiveness” say that hell (suffering pain, whatever you call it, abuse, criminals etc.) is created when you do forgive. Well. WOW! That’s quite a circus. Maybe there actually is something called forgiveness. Maybe we actually do have a spark from forever in us that doesn’t exist in linear time, that can’t be destroyed, a reality where there’s no loss when you give from love rather than fear. Something that’s for give, something that just gives and there’s no loss, no debt, no guilt. Something that restores humanity. Maybe Jesus WAS trying to show something about our true nature when he DIDN’T see himself as a victim and knew he would be resurrected, instead. And maybe that’s even an old story. Maybe all you really have to do is look at life and what happens when you stop investing in ways to control others through fear, trauma and the rest. Maybe even Jesus wanted to escape from all of it rather than have to deal with everyone’s need to control each other and separate into different groups, different “countries” into definitions of what’s good and what’s bad that mainly relies on defining what’s bad to traumatize it, thus producing it by what you do to prevent it (same as what the drug companies do preventing “mental illness:” the same sort of epidemic) – and then say that forgiveness or lack of drugging is the cause in order to force people to take part in YOUR WAR and see things YOUR WAY as both or all sides are fighting for “mental health” and preventing it to maintain the privilege of saying it’s the other’s fault.

    And I don’t need to continue with this rant.

    Just try forgiveness, if you feel inclined. You’re not causing mayhem. It might REALLY make a difference, and you might find you actually do have the ability inside you to make change that your anger and your rational mind thought was impossible, and that it doesn’t matter when everyone says you’re crazy, would you actually witness that things change without you having to have evidence of anything that forced this change on others.

    • You obviously put a lot of work into that post. Being controlled by anger is surely counterproductive, and forgiveness in the sense of which you speak can certainly be positive.

      I think what others are mainly reacting to is the pressure to “forgive” those who don’t recognize what they’ve done wrong and have no motivation to refrain from doing it again; in such a case self-protection is the priority, forgiveness can be considered only when the threat is contained.

      It gets messy when the actions of governments are equated with those of individuals; governments, like corporations, are not “people,” they are organizations of violence created to serve the interests of a particular class or force (here in the US that means corporations), and they do not respond one way or the other to human emotions like forgiveness — only to real or perceived threats to their continued power.

  9. This is indeed the nature of the objection. I also object to the notion that people can or should be ‘trained’ to be forgiving. Are there not some aspects of existence that can be kept outside of the ever-encroaching domains of technique and (pseudo)science?

  10. Well since the people who I’d have to forgive are the psychiatrists who forced me and my parents to damage my brain and ruin my life, it would be impossible to forgive them because THEY’RE STILL OUT THERE DOING IT! That would be like forgiving a child rapist while he’s still running around raping children!

  11. I don’t have a problem with letting bygones be bygones when I’m not one of the bygones. There is the possibility of taking this “forgiveness” thing too far, especially where power disparities and social situations are concerned. “Forgiving” the person who wipes you off the map is not a particularly fruitful endeavor. I certainly see the confusion between psychiatry and religion though. 148 students from mid western art schools. They should conduct such a study down here in the bible belt, and the results for ‘forgiveness bliss’ might even be more promising. If religion is the opium of the masses, religion and education, well, there you go. Our smartening up can resemble a dumbing down, and nobody will be any the wiser. Next question, what kind of test did these “researchers” use for diagnosing the “mental health” disorder that this “forgiveness” played a causal factor in developing? I feel much better when I’m “forgiven” with a decent salary than I do otherwise. Ditto “forgiving”.

    • I think I could consider forgiving the psychiatrists who harmed me if they a) stopped harming others, b) did jail time and paid reparations to their victims c) expressed remorse.
      In any other case forgiveness is just another way of saying: “get over with” by the people who are tired of hearing about your trauma or afraid of confronting their idea about how society works. Basically “shut up and suffer in silence” and victim blaming at its best.

  12. What I see in society, is that when a person forgives, I mean really forgives, that that is seen as crazy. In fact, it’s those people who are singled out as not being worthy of being part of society would they not take part in a consensus that the kind of violent forced is necessary, which they don’t believe in, although they are hurting no one.