The Link Between Anger And Forgiveness


Forgiveness is a challenge, and there is one obstacle in particular that could be preventing you from extending forgiveness to a partner who has wronged you.

That one obstacle is anger. Where anger lurks, forgiveness isn’t likely to occupy the same space.

For the victim, there is a process you must move through to get past the obstacle and into a place where you can either offer forgiveness or not—and be at peace with both your decision and where you are.

In this blog, I’ll tell you more about the process, as well as offer you 2 tips to move forward past the anger and into a space where you can decide if forgiveness is something you even want to offer. Read on…

Why We React Angrily to Betrayal

If your partner has done something to wrong you, such as cheating or lying or some other really big transgression, then of course you’re mad. That’s a sane response to an insane action, right?

Anger comes from the feeling of being betrayed, whether it’s trust or your expectation of another. When that trust or expectation feels misplaced through your partner’s deeds or words, it hurts. And when we feel hurt by someone we’ve shown our vulnerable self to, that creates angry feelings.

The reason for the anger is that showing another person our vulnerable side is a gift. Imagine if you went to the store and selected an expensive gift for your partner. You gave them the gift with hope and a smile, and they threw it in your face.

How would you feel?

Shocked, sad, caught off guard—as if your gift had no worth or value. Then you would start to think, “Wait a minute… I took the time to go out and shop for this and put a lot of thought into it, and they don’t appreciate this gift I’ve given them.” Naturally, you’d be angry that they were so unappreciative.

The same idea applies to giving someone your trust and they don’t appreciate it. You’re angry that they don’t see the value of what you’ve given.

That’s how anger begins. Anger is our way of feeling hurt and outrage, and it can take time for those feelings of outrage to mellow. It is a process for this mellowing effect to occur, but sometimes, there’s a hiccup. If we keep returning to the wound and digging at it, the wound continues to stay open.

So, a change in focus is needed. Here are 2 tips for changing your focus so you can move past the anger obstacle and into a place where you have the choice of offering forgiveness:

Anger Obstacle Removal

Tip #1: Set a Specific Goal

The thing with anger is that it resembles a cauldron. There are all sorts of thoughts and emotions boiling away in there, so much so that at some point, you may not remember exactly what you’re so angry about!

So, let the cauldron boil, but set a specific goal: define exactly what is in the cauldron. It could be, “I’m angry that my partner betrayed my trust. My goal is to cool this cauldron down and not feel the heat of this anger anymore.”

Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish will help you maintain forward-focus.

Tip #2: Use Visualization Techniques

Visualization techniques have been shown time and again to be very effective for moving forward towards goals. Athletes use visualization, as well as successful business leaders, sales people, and others who want to boost their performance.

In the case of anger, you can use the cauldron visualization, or create one of your own. For example, each day you can picture the cauldron boiling away, but every day it is one degree cooler than the day before.

The point here is to allow that mellowing process to have room to occur. And, some days won’t be as successful as others. Maybe tomorrow you have something remind you about the betrayal, and it stirs up the cauldron. Just reset where you are to allow for this and move forward in taking it down a degree tomorrow.

My best to you in moving past the anger obstacle and into the forgiveness sphere.