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

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  187 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Until now, we have been taught that forgiveness is good for us and that good people forgive. Dr. Spring, a gifted therapist and the award-winning author of After the Affair, proposes a radical, life-affirming alternative that lets us overcome the corrosive effects of hate and get on with our lives—without forgiving. She also offers a powerful and unconventional model for g ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published February 3rd 2004)
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Sarah Whitney
Absolutely wonderful. I'd recommend this to anyone who is human. (Yes, that would be to everyone.) Chock full of wonderful information, poignant case-in-points, and the appendix is an excellent resource all on its own.

- - -


Cheap Forgiveness is a quick and easy pardon with no processing of emotion and no coming to terms with the injury. It's a compulsive, unconditional, unilateral attempt at peacemaking for which you ask nothing in return. ...
Cheap Forgiveness is dysfunctional becau
May 21, 2009 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy
This is the best thing I've ever read on forgiveness, even better than Getting Even: Forgiveness and Its Limits. The author explores the psychological processes involved in forgiving or deciding not to forgive someone.

Most people act like forgiveness is a single simple decision to turn off their anger. I've never understood that concept, as almost nobody has the capability to cut off emotions by an act of will.

If you feel pressured to forgive someone, if you wish someone would forgive you, if y
Apr 01, 2016 Alyssa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. Every relationships has moments of hurt. I found it very useful.
Oct 05, 2015 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wish the author had chosen to use gender-neutral pronouns. It seems like 99% of this book uses "he" for the offender and "she" for the offended. I had to do quite a bit of mental editing to neutralize or gender-swap as I read. Disappointing to feel man-bashed while trying to self-enlighten.

The first bit of valuable insights this book offers is in explaining the type of people that fall into different patterns of behavior, and how events in their childhood can affect how they act in adul
Robin Tierney
Sep 21, 2015 Robin Tierney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just random notes:

How Can I Forgive You?
The Courage To Forgive, The Freedom Not To
Janis Abrahms Spring

So much literature on forgiveness has been written specifically for you, the hurt party, telling you what you need to do to grant forgiveness, rather than telling the offender what he needs to do to earn forgiveness. THis single-minded focus has compromised, twisted, and cheapened the process of forgiveness and created a saintly, abstract concept that many of us feel pressured to accept at any c
This book has the occasional tidbit of good advice. However, much of what Spring advises can be really harmful to those dealing with truly abusive (including Cluster B) individuals.

If you are upset and cannot let it go because your plumber did not clean-up after himself, then maybe this book is for you. (yes, an actual example from the book)

If, however, you are dealing with and/or have survived truly abusive individuals then I would recommend that you find a different book altogether. If you ar
May 11, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like there is something for everyone in this book. My favorite section on this book was the one about acceptance and the practical steps one can take in order to accept the situation for what it is and move on even if the person who hurt you is unrepentant or unavailable.

There are lots of different case studies from real patients as well to demonstrate the author's points. This is another aspect of the book I liked.

I gave this a 3-star rating because I skimmed over some chapters. Some ch
Janis A. Spring is a clinical psychologist and expert on issues of trust, intimacy, and forgiveness. And I think some people are born to show us what and how and what, again, to do with ourselves to make our life easier.

This book should be on everybody's list. Everybody should know about Janis Spring and her work on cheap forgiveness, acceptance and genuine forgiveness.

This books gives and gives and nurtures, together with Stephen Levine's book ''Unattended Sorrow: Recovering from Loss and Rev
Karen G
Jun 12, 2015 Karen G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Tool For My Toolbox

The content of this book is not geared toward just you forgiving another person, it guides you through the process of exploring compassion and forgiveness for yourself.

It is not just about forgiving infidelity; it demonstrates that every kind of relationship that you can think of can produce scenarios that need forgiveness. For example, siblings, parent and child, best friends, in laws, and of course spouses (and not just infidelity).

This is an excellent reference book.
Thomas Holbrook
I had read Dr. Spring’s book, After the Affair, several years ago and found it to be a wealth of useful information, research and interventions for those who have suffered infidelity. This book was recommended to me by a trusted colleague and, as it addressed 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 generall ...more
Aug 25, 2011 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want to move on; those who want to reconcile relationships
Recommended to Claudia by: Psychologist
The subtitle: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To. For anyone who has been hurt by someone in their life and cannot find a way to move on. Dr. Springer discusses four kinds of forgiveness: Cheap Forgiveness, Refusing to Forgive, Acceptance and Genuine Forgiveness. Acceptance is one avenue that is not offered to us from those who insist "we must forgive to find peace." Acceptance is an alternate route to take when the other party is unwilling or unavailable to participate in the process of ...more
I don't know what I make of this book. Too many examples of people and much emphasis on forgiving terrible acts but not enough convincing arguments of how, when and why. It will warrant a reread on my part.
Jan 24, 2010 Jeannine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
The goal of revenge is to crucify the offender. The goal of Acceptance is to resurrect your best self. Revenge is other-directed; Acceptance is inner-directed. When you contain your obsessions, the offender becomes less important to you than you are. Getting back or getting even becomes less important than getting well.

With Acceptance you make a conscious decision to break loose from your nagging thoughts and reclaim the energy you've spent on feeling betrayed-to dismantle your rage and reach ou
Apr 29, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is easy to read with not too much therapist-speak. It is not directed towards those who seek to forgive after an affair (which so many books are) but for any major grievance in any relationship. Also the chapter on acceptance could be applied to any aspect of life you can't change. She gives specific tasks that needed to be completed and lays out four different ways to move past a grievance, some which allow you to be more successful than others.
Douglas Olson
Feb 22, 2015 Douglas Olson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very helpful book

This book has proven to be the key to what I hope is ultimate forgiveness for what I have done to my wife.
Jun 30, 2015 Caela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An important topic. Really made me
Think about forgiveness and what it really means to forgive. I agree with Dr. Abrahams Spring for the most part. This book has helped me better forgive or accept the people that have wronged me and myself.
Feb 01, 2011 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, insightful book. I'll probably read it again, there's so much to take in. I recommend it to anyone who has had a painful relationship problem in their lives. It made me realize how many things I thought I had forgiven people for that I really hadn't, and now I can work on that, and let go of ghosts from the past. Highly recommend it.
Interesting book, I liked the fact that the author is not a proponent of "forgiveness at any cost, in order to achieve healing for oneself". She allows that forgiveness is a choice, and one that doesn't need to be made in order to let go of hurt and move on successfully.
Brent Wilson
Not satisfying for me. I agree we need the freedom not to forgive - but the author seemed to under-value that end.

This is an important topic for me because I wrestle with these issues. I just needed a different slant on it.
Jul 29, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
gives specific helps for each party and for those whose perpetrater is not available for the process
Already knew this. Applying in increments as I'm able.
Laura Talley
Apr 22, 2012 Laura Talley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this! It was exactly what I needed.
Good book.
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