Today I’m adding the third bullet to the guides for someone who’s trying to help a friend or acquaintance work through the issue of whether and how to forgive. Maybe to get oriented, you might want to read the blog from two days ago.

Following are the first three suggestions for the helper from pages 4-5 of When to Forgive..

  • Be a good listener. Telling his or her own story is absolutely crucial to a person’s recovery from the effects of an offense. Encourage giving details, but don’t press your own advice or suggestions. Ask questions that encourage going into depth, but be sensitive to the person’s own self-regulating system. Don’t push beyond what he or she is ready to report. There are situations of extreme trauma where the victim is better off not remembering what happened.”
  • When your friend is asked to ‘probe the wound,’ ask for as much detail as possible. In fact, you may know the situation well enough that you can remember some things your friend has forgotten. But let your friend be in control of how much he or she can tolerate.
  • You can discuss and help clarify, but don’t impose your own view. You can also help your companion fend off the efforts of others to dictate their beliefs.

Over the next few days I’ll be adding more bullet points. In the meantime, I’d love some feedback. Examples of helping or being helped would be wonderful.

Posted August 13, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized


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  1. sometimes it takes me a long time to forgive, the pain is just too much, but as i heal i do forgive, it is the only way to live

  2. Yes, forgiveness is not a quick and easy thing. It is painful. And so good for you! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Can I send you ny poems for the book?  I’d like your opinion.

    If you like them I’d appreciate if you would write a short thing as a therapist to put in the book.

    Let me know.


  4. Being a good listener will make you a good human being. As its worked out for me in many times to move to solution and make other happy is just to listen before giving them our ideas and our thoughts on a particular issue.

    • I love this! Yes, it does go beyond resolving one situation. Being a good listener is a prime characteristic of a good human being — caring for the other rather than waiting for the other person to stop talking long enough so I can insert my opinion.

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