Codependents: It’s Ok Not To Forgive Your Toxic Parents

Dr Nicholas Jenner

why-forgive-1The headline is perhaps a confusing one to anyone who has experienced trauma and abuse in their life. The helping professions are full of practitioners who deal in the art of forgiveness.  Religious, psychological and philosophical teachings all tell us that forgiveness is essential. “You have to forgive to be able to move on”, they say. “Forgiveness is the first step to processing the feelings you have”. We have been lead to believe, falsely in my opinion, that forgiveness is the only way to start healing.

Forgiveness is a major issue in therapy. Clients want to forgive abusers, parents, partners, sometimes children and others who have wronged them. they just feel they have to. Some of them start therapy with the bold statement they they have forgiven everyone who has done them harm and then spend the next hour proving the opposite. Many therapists early in their careers, myself included…

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