What is the appeal of anger that it can become a habit, almost an addiction? Can suppressed or passive anger become like that, too?

I think the appeal is the adrenaline rush, the feeling of being wide awake and in control, the feeling that others will not take advantage of me.  All of this is reasonable if it is within reasonable bounds.  By that I mean that the anger is not controlling you, which can happen as people fly out of control with a temper that then is hard to manage.

A habit of anger, when intense, is hard to break, but it can be done with a strong will, the practice of forgiveness, and an awareness of how the anger-habit has compromised one’s life.  Passive anger can be habit-forming as well and that is a more difficult habit to break if the person is unaware of it.  Insights of unhappiness or of reduced energy can be clues to people that they are harboring passive anger in need of healing.

Forgiving others for injustices that have fostered this kind of anger is an important step in curing the anger.

Learn more at What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness Therapy Provides Quality of Life Benefits to Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients

 

Can We Get Anti-Bullying Programs to Work?

In an August 13, 2019 essay at mercatornet.com, author Izzy Kalman states that the anti-bullying movement is doomed to failure. This is the case because, in his words: “The goal of the anti-bullying movement is to convince us all to stop bullying or tolerating bullying. Unfortunately, the message falls on deaf ears because hardly anyone believes that they are bullies.”

In other words, those who bully are in denial and so attempts to convince them to change are futile. We are more hopeful of successful attempts at reducing bullying because of our approach, which, as far as we can tell, is unique.

Sometimes some students are so emotionally wounded that their anger overwhelms the attempt at consciousness-raising.  The students are so very wounded that they cannot listen well.  Some are so wounded that they refuse to listen.  Even others are so mortally wounded that they find a certain pleasure in inflicting pain on others.  It is when it gets to that point—others’ pain equals pleasure for the one inflicting it—that we have a stubborn problem on our hands.  No signs, no consciousness-raising, no rally in the gym, no pressure to be good is going to work…..because the gravely wounded student is now beyond listening.

Yet, we have found a hidden way to reverse the trend in those who are so hurting that they derive pain from hurting others.  It is this:  Ask the hurting students, those labeled so often as bullies, to tell their story of pain, their story of how others have abused them.

You will see this as the rule rather than the exception:

Those who inflict pain over and over have stories of abuse toward them that would make you weep.  In fact, we have seen the weeping come from the one who has bullied others, the one who has inflicted serious pain onto others. He wept because, as he put it, “No one ever asked me for my story before.”  His story was one of cruel child abuse from an alcoholic father who bruised him until he bled.  And no one ever asked him about this.  And so he struck out at others.  Once he told his story, he began to forgive his father and his pain lessened and thus his need to inflict pain on others slowly melted away.

This is what our Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program does.  It aids counselors and teachers in bringing out the stories in the pain-inflictors so that their own pain dramatically decreases.  As this happens, through forgiveness, bullying behavior is rendered powerless……because in examining their own hurt they finally realize how much hurt they have inflicted…..and with their own emotional pain gone, they have no desire to live life like this any more.

Come, take our anti-bullying curriculum and save the life of at least one child and help prevent inflicted pain on countless others.

Robert

EDITOR’S NOTE: For a limited time only, the International Forgiveness Institute is offering Dr. Enright’s Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program as a free gift to counselors, schools, and families. Click here to order.


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Forgiveness is hard for me. Is it all right to start and stop the process of forgiveness?

Yes, it is all right to start and stop the forgiveness process if you feel that you need a rest from the challenges of forgiving.  As an analogy, if we want to be physically fit, we do not work at that fitness 10 hours a day every day.  We need to be more temperate than that.  So, working on forgiveness for an hour or less some of the days of a week seems reasonable to me.  Taking a week off is fine.  I was asked by a person if she could take a year off of the forgiveness process.  This, to me, would be similar to taking off a year of physical fitness training.  One likely would get out of shape waiting that long.  One probably would get out of forgiveness-fitness shape as well waiting for a year.

For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness.

You say that we should not have excessive or toxic anger. Is some anger ok to have as I forgive? If so, how do I know how much is too much?

The keys to distinguishing healthy and unhealthy anger are these:

1. Are you in control of that anger or is it controlling you (with a strong temper, for example, or making you and others miserable)?  If you are in control, this is good.

2. Has the anger continued for weeks or longer?  If so, it likely is unhealthy anger.

3. Are others giving you feedback that your anger is inappropriate?  If this message comes from a reliable source, then it may be time to reflect on that anger possibly being unhealthy.

Learn more at What is Forgiveness?

Does forgiveness start with bearing the pain so that pain is not cast onto others?

Bearing the pain is part of the forgiveness process, but it is not the start of that process because bearing the pain is difficult for most people.  The beginning of forgiveness is to understand clearly what forgiveness is and is not.  To forgive is to make a deliberate choice to be good to those who are not good to you.  To forgive is not to excuse the behavior, to abandon justice, or to automatically reconcile if the other’s behavior is dangerous for you.  Once the person understands what forgiveness is, I recommend a step prior to bearing the pain: Commit to doing no harm to the one who hurt you.

For additional information, see Forgiveness Defined.

What is the difference between “not taking it seriously” and forgiving?

To “not take it seriously” implies neutrality.  When we forgive we never are neutral regarding the person who hurt us.  We are hurt because what happened matters (for fairness) and whom the person is matters (because we share a common humanity).  Thus, forgiveness is linked to: a) expecting fairness; b) having a sense of respect and even love toward the other; and c) self-respect and love.  None of this is neutral and should be taken seriously.  The key in forgiveness is not letting what matters destroy us or the other.

Learn more at Forgiving is not. . .