A Look through the Forgiveness Window

A client, “Janine” recently shared with me the abuse she’d undergone at the hands of her father when she was growing up. The beatings were relentless until finally, after turning 18, she escaped by leaving home.

What followed were some difficult teen years, two marriages for the wrong reasons, affairs, and alcohol abuse. She was, as Freud would say, continuing to “act out” the conflicts from the past.

But as the years moved by, Janine grew up, and she softened. She learned lessons, past and present. She raised a family. She became independent, social, and she saw her mental health improve.

She is now 60, and she told me that she had forgiven her father years ago and her mother too, for her lack of intervention. She now has a happy and healthy relationship with both. She’d made her peace with them.

I praised her for her ability to forgive and explained that recent studies show a correlation between our ability to forgive and positive mental health. It is a mental health axiom that forgiveness is for our benefit, not for the perpetrator.

I also suggested she watch a documentary video on  YouTube on forgiveness that I’d heard about from a classmate. It is titled, “Auschwitz to Forgiveness” and is concentration camp survivor Eva Mozes Kor’s story of forgiving Dr. Mengele.”  (Nazi SS doctor, aka Dr. Death.) Quote from Eva, “You cannot change the whole world, but if you can change one little corner at a time, you are making a difference.”

I have decided to drop my previous ban on links to other websites and videos (see September 5 post,”Is Stress Your Friend? . . . for the back story) as long as the video or link is placed at the end of my post—where it won’t distract and set up all manner of ADHD-type random samplings.

So here is the link: Auschwitz to Forgiveness.” It is 30 minutes. Be sure to watch it all the way to the end, so you won’t miss the complete story of forgiveness that is detailed in the conclusion.

Sanity now!

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