Ask Dr. Joy Miller: Figuring out Forgiveness

By WEEK Producer

November 28, 2012 Updated Nov 28, 2012 at 8:09 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- We've been taught that forgiveness is the greatest virtue, but is it?
* They ruminate less and tend to be less stressed

Additionally, research shows that people who had nice partners and who were forgiving felt better about themselves, but those who were forgiving of not-so-nice partners eventually felt worse about themselves.

People who forgave not-so-nice partners became less happy while people who refused to forgive not-so-nice partners remained happy.

Other things to keep in mind:

* Figure out why you are hurt.
* Is it because of a certain transgression or is it a build up of transgressions?
* If it is a build up, then perhaps you need to change your pattern and forgiveness is not the answer.
* Decide if you want to stay in the relationship.
* Decide if you believe this person will not harm you again, and if the behavior is something rare. Forgiveness may be the answer.
* Tell the person why you are hurt.
* Pay attention to them-do they really hear what you are saying?
* Do they regret their actions? If so, the forgiveness may be appropriate.
* Remember you must be in the right place to forgive.
* Give yourself some time to cool down, and you'll know if you really believe that forgiveness is something that will benefit you and the other person.




In tonight's Ask Dr. Joy, we will look at the psychological effects of forgiveness and see if it really is a healthy reaction in the long run.

This is what we know about forgiveness:


* People who forgive are generally happier
* They are generally healthier

But, there is a dark side to forgiveness.

New research shows that the early effects of forgiveness is letting go of anger and resentment and indicates that forgiveness tends to send the message to the transgressor that it is okay to manifest this behavior.

A Florida University study shows that that the day after forgiving a partner, that person was 6.5 times more likely to report that the partner had done something negative compared to those who did not forgive their partner.

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