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Dr. DeFoore's Healing Anger Newsletter entitled "Tough Love vs Forgiveness"
January 15, 2020

Tough Love vs Forgiveness
When To Do Which One

tough love

January 15, 2020
Healing Anger Newsletter, Issue #140

(Archive issue from October, 2014)

Contents of this newsletter

When To Use Tough Love

Tough love is love, but it might not seem loving. It is also not loving to let someone abuse you, and keep forgiving them over and over.

There is certainly a time for forgiveness, but it's a mistake to be forgiving of consistent, ongoing destructive anger and abusiveness. Tough love means taking action to provide safety for all concerned, including the angry and/or abusive person.

This topic came up after I read and responded to this woman's story about when to forgive. I encourage you to read it, as you will probably be able to relate to her dilemma. Also, please comment on the page to offer her your support and input.

Here are some things to consider here:

  • Tough love is needed when people are being hurt. Tough love means putting healthy boundaries in place so that everyone is emotionally and physically safe.

  • Healthy boundaries require that you "find the distance from which you can love the other person." The purpose of relationships is love, and when there is ongoing abuse, love is not possible. The distance needed might be emotional distance, less physical contact, or no contact at all.

  • For your love to be strong and true, you have to have healthy anger. Anger is a protective emotion, and when it is healthy, it does only good.

  • Many people stay in unhealthy, destructive relationships because of love, and then finally leave when love is no longer possible. Learning about healthy boundaries and healthy anger might be a way of preventing the end of an important relationship.

Here's what we're saying...

"Tough love and healthy boundaries protect your good heart, while allowing it to stay open to love."

William DeFoore

This is all ultimately a matter of trusting your inner wisdom. Most people (like the woman in the story above), already know the best thing for them to do. The difficult part is acting on that, which you can do...because you've got what it takes to be healthy and have healthy relationships.

focus on the positive

When To Forgive

Forgiveness is not always a choice. If you have been deeply wounded by someone, you will have to work through your emotions before you can forgive.

So, in your mind you might decide to forgive, but if you're still holding resentment in your heart and subconscious mind, true forgiveness will not happen.

True forgiveness is a release of anger and blame from deep within you, and it won't happen just because you decide in your mind that it is time to forgive. As a counselor, I know that forgiveness is occurring when I see the person's body breathe a deep sigh of relief as they let go of the deep toxic emotions associated with resentment.

Now let's look at how to know when it's time to forgive:

  • It's time to forgive when you realize your anger and resentment are hurting you and your health. You're entitled to your anger, but it becomes toxic if you hold on to it.

  • You're ready to forgive when you are ready to take responsibility for healing your own emotional wounds instead of constantly blaming someone else for what you feel.

  • You're ready to forgive when you've fully expressed your anger in healthy ways. To express means "to press out," so when you're expressing your anger you're getting rid of it...assuming it's a full and healthy expression.

  • You're ready to forgive when you can give the perpetrator your permission to be just another flawed human being on the planet.

This is not simple or easy...but it's very, very important. Forgiveness is for free your heart, mind and body of the toxic energy of old held resentments and anger.

Forgiveness is not letting the perpetrator off the hook...they are still accountable for their actions, but you're not holding them accountable by holding a battle with them inside yourself. You're forgiving the person for being flawed, you're not forgiving their destructive behavior.


love and forgiveness

This highly effective audio program, available as a CD or MP3 download, will help you let go of old anger and resentment and return to the loving, forgiving person you truly are.

Take advantage of the free previews, and the no-risk return policy that guarantees your satisfaction.

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New articles for you. Read new contributions from good folks like you, such as this story by a man who has successfully used mindfulness to manage his road rage, and this one by a very bright girl named Mayleigh, called A Childhood Prematurely Seized.

P.S. Why not make the rest of your life the best of your life? You can get started right now with Elegant Aging: Growing Deeper, Stronger and Wiser.

P.P.S. Did you know that I offer telephone (including Skype and Face Time video phone) counseling around the world? That's right, from the comfort of your home, you can get professional counseling from me, Dr. William DeFoore. Contact us now to schedule a session!

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