Forgiveness/Martin Rosenfeld, Ed.M.

Posted on March 23, 2016


Mediation makes it possible to discuss many non-legal issues if the parties are up to such talk. One topic that certainly is appropriate for divorce mediation is that of forgiveness. A recent essay in WSJ was entitled “The Healing Power of Forgiveness” by Diane Cole. (3/22/16).In the absence of forgiveness, a person can feel as if they are suffocating themself in the emotional sense. The pent-up anger that often follows can lead to anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attacks. Forgiveness, on the other hand, can allow one to pivot to more positive thoughts and positive relationships

Where forgiveness is not easy (or possible) a person can embrace “acceptance” whereby the person is no longer “entombed” by feelings of unfairness and hurt. According to Dr. Amit Sood, of Mayo Clinic, .forgiveness is not specifically about the other person. It is an acknowledgement that the offended party has decided to forego anger and resentment.

The benefits of forgiveness are many; they are psychological and physiological. The trauma of e.g. a divorce can lead to anger that will not easily cure itself. The mediation process might be a good place to explore what role the parties may wish to give to forgiveness. As Dr.. Janis Abrahms Spring, a psychologist and author said, “”No one profits” when we take our hurts to the grave. Mediation and forgiveness can be part of a process that can turn hurt to acceptance in significant ways. Even when long in coming, forgiveness is a welcome development. Mediate don’t litigate.