Communication Matters: Families And Forgiveness

Mar 12, 2019

It’s true that those closest to us have the most potential to hurt us. If a stranger calls us dumb, it might hurt for the moment, but if our mother says it, the sting lasts longer.

Forgiveness after a hurtful event is essential to maintaining satisfying relationships, especially within the family.

Explicit forgiveness is most helpful. If a parent lied to you, saying you forgive them may be needed in order to continue your relationship.

For less-severe transgressions, minimizing the severity, or returning to everyday nonverbal communication might imply forgiveness. Joking with a sibling about a fight you had, or knowing your mother forgave you because she’s once again affectionately hugging you may suffice. The mere passing of time may help.

Over time a family member’s maturity, perceptions, and understanding of the transgression are likely to change.