Forgiving Others is the PITS
A four-step process for letting go of resentment
Dr. Ish Major is a relationship consultant a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in women, children, and families. Here he shares his method for truly forgiving a partner who has wronged you.
Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and/or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. Most people can get through the first part pretty well but that last part is the kicker…that whole ‘ceasing to demand punishment or restitution’ part. The complaint I’ve heard from the guys is that ‘even though she said she forgave me, she continues to bring it up every time we have an argument.’ The women’s retort? ‘Well, that’s because I want him to remember so he doesn’t do it again!’ I get it…I really do but here’s the deal: In order to forgive someone, I mean really forgive someone you have to go through a process. I call it the ‘PITS’ (because it really is).
The first step is to look at the person’s Pattern of behavior. Is this the type of thing they do often or is it just a blip on the screen? If it’s a rare mistake I think you can feel comfortable moving on to the next step, which is trying to get some Insight into their thought process.
Can you logically see where given the facts they were in possession of at the time how and why they could have made the decision to do what they did and think it would be ok? It’s interesting how guys have a much easier time getting through this step than women. Since guys are very solutions-oriented it’s often times easier for them to see how ‘A’ led to ‘B,’ which caused ‘C,’ and they can accept it as fact and move on.
For women…it’s not that easy. Women want to know WHY ‘A’ was even there in the first place and where did ‘B’ come from and how could you even think about doing ‘C’?!? It’s tough to divorce the emotion from the incident itself but remember ladies, to understand why he did what he did you have to try and think like he does; logically (however twisted it may seem to you), devoid of emotion and in a step-wise fashion.
If you can see it from the other person’s point of view you’re ready for the third step, which is the Time factor. How much time have you invested in this relationship? Is there too much good history to walk away from? Is there too much joy yet to come to give up on? Can you not imagine your life without this person being a part of it? That’s it. Don’t fool yourself into staying for the wrong reasons like…’for the kids’ or ‘for the money’ or ‘because I won’t find anyone else as good’ or because you’re just afraid of being alone. Those are all bad excuses to stay! There’s nothing sadder than when I see a couple 10 or 20 years down the road who stayed for all the wrong reasons and they are absolutely miserable. You can’t get those years back!
Now for the last step, which is what each of you has to Say. And this is the easiest part. The person who screwed up must say ‘I’m sorry.’ The person who got screwed must say ‘It’s ok.’ Then you hug, kiss, cry and do whatever else comes naturally to make up and move on!
So that’s it, having to forgive and forget is truly the PITS, I agree, but it is possible to get through it. A 2% screw up can’t erase 98% of good stuff, that math just doesn’t work. But if you’re going to walk that road to forgiveness, to truly allow room for error or weakness, just make sure you’re being honest with yourself the whole time. For better or for worse, a good relationship is always worth saving!
This article originally appeared on Dating, Mating and Relating with Dr. Ish.
DON’T MISS: Join us on Friday, May 11th for our next Coffee & Conversation featuring Dr. Ish Major and Dr. Terri Orbuch where we’ll discuss the secrets of a successful midlife relationship.