The Forgiving Self: The Road from Resentment to Connection

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9780385488730: The Forgiving Self: The Road from Resentment to Connection

Can we be forgiven our insensitivity and betrayals? Should we always forgive those who have hurt us? What enables us to reopen our hearts when we do? Interweaving themes from literature, movies, current events, and from his practice as a clinical psychologist, Robert Karen addresses the difficult questions at the heart of many human dramas, highlighting the struggle
between our wish to repair our relationships on the one side and our tendency to see ourselves as victims who need revenge on the other.

Dr. Karen writes that our capacity to forgive reveals much about our character–including our ability to recognize the humanity in someone who has hurt us and to see our own limitations and complicity in whatever went wrong. He argues that the forgiving spirit not only liberates us from feeling victimized by others but frees us from compulsive self-hatred and regret as well: for forgiving others is nothing but the mirror image of forgiving oneself.

Throughout Karen insists that we are not saints, that forgiveness is a struggle for everyone, and that we cannot be truly forgiving if we do not allow ourselves our negative emotions, especially anger. If our harshest feelings are suppressed, we can never move beyond them.

Forgiveness sheds light on the envy, narcissism, and paranoia that threaten relationships; the childhood experiences that magnify those qualities; and, finally, the processes of mourning, healthy protest, and what he calls "the redeployment of love" that can help us to let go and move beyond them.

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From the Back Cover:

“To make forgiveness interesting—to make it worth thinking about again—is the real boon of Karen’s book” —Adam Phillips, author of On Flirtation and Houdini’s Box

“Tackles the core questions that have preoccupied thinkers about human behavior through the ages . . . .Fascinating and important.” —Paul Wachtel, author of Pyschoanalysis & Behavior Therapy

“Robert Karen is one of our smartest and most accessible guides to the world of psychoanalytic theory and research.” –Elle Magazine

“Looks through the lens of forgiveness into the heart of what can go wrong in relationships . . . gets into the guts of what it is like to feel wronged and bear grudges and to suffer with feelings that seem hateful and shameful.”—Lucinda Steig, Faculty, National Institute for the Psychotherapies

“A deeply moving book, psychologically sophisticated, beautifully written, and personally inspiring.” —Lewis Aron, Director, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherappy and Pyschoanalysis, New York University.
From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author:

Robert Karen, Ph.D., is an award-winning author and clinical psychologist in private practice as well as an associate clinical professor at the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychology Studies at Adelphi University. The author of Becoming Attached, he lives in New York City.

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