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The Forgiving Self: The Road from Resentment to Connection
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The Forgiving Self: The Road from Resentment to Connection

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Can we be forgiven our insensitivity and betrayals? Should we always forgive those who have hurt us? What enables us to reopen our hearts when we do? Interweaving themes from literature, movies, current events, and from his practice as a clinical psychologist, Robert Karen addresses the difficult questions at the heart of many human dramas, highlighting the struggle
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 16th 2001 by Doubleday
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 ·  103 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An insightful and thought-provoking journey through the psychological landscape of forgiveness -- what is risked and what is to gain, why it is difficult and why it is also necessary. As a psychoanalyst, Karen does not promote the typical and popular platitudes. Rather, he well describes the difficult and complicated terrain through which we all must navigate when we are wounded, or wound others.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been a real balm to my spirit!
Rebecca Randall
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It has been hard for me to find books about forgiveness that aren’t facile, moralistic/preachy. When I saw that Robert Karen authored a book about it, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Karen is the author of one of my all-time favorite books—Becoming Attached, which offers a very thorough and thoughtful history of attachment research.
I found this book, The Forgiving Self, just as comprehensive and thoughtful. I feel so inspired and personally challenged by it.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
We read this book for our book group. It did make for stimulating discussion, but it wasn't a favorite read of mine. I basically disagreed with many of the author's claims and theories. I did find many of his thoughts interesting and conducive to self examination. He made some valid points including that if we start from a place where we feel secure and "like" ourselves, it is far easier to forgive others when they have wronged us. One thing I didn't like was his assumption that we all carry thi ...more
Jonathan Case
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: therapy
This book took a really long time for me to read and digest, especially given that it's not an incredibly long book. I love the concepts. There are pages in my book that are saturated in underlines and highlights and sticky notes. I like that Karen leaves a lot of room for the nitty-gritty aspects of the forgiveness process and acknowledges that grudges, anger, resentment are a recurring theme of our lives, even if we are actively working on self-awareness and self-improvement. It definitely did ...more
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Outstanding book! It is one of those reads that I love to read slowly and savor the insights and points makes. Prose is very beautiful. It made me want to read it aloud.

In The Forgiving Self Dr. Karen discusses the path we take in repairing damaged relationships when we suffer an interpersonal injury or betrayal. How does the betrayal impact us? What do we do with our pain? Ho do we handle the relationship going forward? How does it affect our sense of our "self?" Dr. Karen tackles these
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
A profound and transformative book that explores the power of forgiveness - of others and of oneself. This can be a dense and troubling read too, although helped along with some very affective references to literature and popular culture.

Karen argues forcefully our relationships are often hampered by deep-seated conflicts and inner dramas originating in our family and parental relationship. It also suggests forgiveness can't be an automatic response either, but has to come from an au
Helen Roll
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
SUCH a cheesy title, but all in all a profoundly useful book. Dr. Karen takes a long view on the subject, examining why we hold a grudge, and how such an outlook is useful to us, as well as offering many insights into how to move from a place of grudge bearing to a place of repair and ultimately connection in our interpersonal relationships. A book for anyone who as been asked too many times to disavow their feelings and forgive another in an instantaneous sense, and has lost in the process.

Annette Musso
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Some of this feels like street psychology, some of it is very cliche. For those bits, the book looses a star. The rest of it is insightful, rich in case studies and forces self-questioning. For that this book is a tool which frequently gets picked off the bookshelf.
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012

Wasn't really all that I was hoping it would be. The examples he used weren't overly relevant to me purposes.
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is helping me understand the psychology of forgiveness - excellent.
Lindsay Clark
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really liked this - some great ideas about forgiveness and the practical stages one takes to get there. Recommend for anyone in ministry or counseling.
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Robert Karen is a clinical psychologist in private practice and an award-winning author. He is Assistant Clinical Professor at the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University.

(back cover of Becoming Attached)