14 thoughts on “Ten Steps of Acceptance – When Forgiveness Is Not An Option

  • April 11, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for bringing depth and clarity to an often misused and misunderstood concept. Someday perhaps Twelve step groups will be better equipped to delve into what forgiveness really means, rather than insisting forgiveness be embraced immediately in order to progress on the steps. Frustrating how often groups, both religious and secular, tend to misrepresent and misuse forgiveness. Unintentionally misdirecting those seeking authentic healing, wholeness and freedom. Too often portraying forgiveness as a moral imperative based on blind faith, requiring even blinder acceptance. Resulting in an endless loop difficult to identify and even more difficult to escape!

    • April 12, 2012 at 7:59 am

      So appreciate your thoughtful and supportive comments, Con Gruent! Thanks for stopping by!

  • April 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    This was a very good article!

    I have been in therapy for many decades and these ideas were familiar and very well put, and it is good to be reminded of them.

    • April 12, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Thank you, Michael, so appreciate your feedback and comment!

  • April 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Very interesting & useful,

    up until now I’ve found the only way I can stop obsessing about someone who has wronged me is to think of ways I am not morally perfect, if this is difficult I think of something other people, say politically different people, would see as bad.

    I find once I can see I am somewhere in the shades of grey just like the hated enemy I am freed from the unrealistic prison of thinking they are pure evil, I’m pure good.

    • April 12, 2012 at 8:03 am

      What an astute observation, David! To me, this speaks to how the mirror neurons work in our brain, essentially, that there is an undeniable connection to our esteem/regard for others and ourselves. Thanks for sharing!

  • April 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    This is so helpful and easy to relate to. Thanks to Athena Staik.

  • April 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Hi thanks for your amazing posts.
    I have a question: I was dissapointed by my almost ex-partner in a manner I feel a kind of impolite and abusive. I cuted communication with her and she sended me some messages tryng to excuse the thing but without mentioning it or apologizing about. I didn´t answer her messages. My question is: Is it correct to ask for amends?

    • April 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Thanks for commenting, medicozen. Interesting question, but no simple answer here! The dance of partners in a couple relationship is all about balance. It will take becoming aware of so many factors, i.e., what was the context of the original conversation? It will also depend on how you express how you felt and request an apology, for example, taking a high-minded, scolding approach to her abusive comment will simply create more of the same. Thanks again for writing!

  • April 15, 2012 at 6:34 am

    What a thought-provoking article – thanks!

    Regarding point 9 (Decide carefully what kind of a relationship you want with the person who wronged you), I’ve made it be known that I want to begin reconciliation with a therapist (after a long period of no communication), but the responses I’ve seen indicate that the other side doesn’t seem to show signs of regret or a desire to change their old ways.

    I’m wondering if I’m setting myself up for more disappointment, should “stick to my guns” and wait for the other side to “get it”, or what…

    Any advice, Athena?

    • April 15, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Thanks for writing, and the question you’re pondering is likely one many others have. In deciding what kind of a relationship you want, consider thoughtfully the questions of what you can change in situation at present, and what you cannot , then decide what your most desired outcome, what you are willing to do – and not do (i.e. to repeat old patterns). Write this down, keeping handy to add thoughts as they surface. This is valuable information to turn to inform your choices.

      Perhaps the most important focus to keep returning to, however, is to see this situation or relationship in the larger context of the life you yearn to create for yourself. What is Life teaching you? What have you learned, how are you growing/have grown? How does this stretch you to do something uncomfortable (but ultimately healthy!) to realize a more and more authentic you?
      You might find one of my posts on healing disappointments with ‘conscious’ acceptance and authentic you helpful. See links below, and again thanks for writing!

      ‘Conscious’ acceptance:

      Authentic You:

  • November 3, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Great read and very applicable to things I’ve been going through. My trauma came from parents that both died ‘early’ (1 at 57 the other 64). I hadn’t realized the full extent of what happened until after their deaths, this part of the process has been and continues to be difficult… I can go scream at their headstones but that isn’t going to do anything about how I feel day to day.

    Any books/suggestions you would recommend for my situation?

  • December 11, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    So what do you do when it’s them that can’t forgive as an option….and they are the start


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