Using Forgiveness as Manipulation

The consequences of infidelity often times will back a person into a corner where they feel forced to take matters into their own hands. It’s not uncommon for someone to react in a certain way they never knew they were capable of. The trauma and pain of it all is more than anyone has usually had to encounter in their lives and any other residue of hurt and betrayal is tapped into, forcing even hidden emotions to come to the surface.

The struggle for control permeates both sides of the infidelity and either spouse may feel like they are out of control on any given day. The natural inclination is to take back the power and take back the control by any means necessary. To say it becomes combative is an understatement, and emotions are at an all-time high.

To introduce forgiveness into the equation is not only controversial for some, but down right disempowering to them. It’s at this point where some betrayed spouses will use forgiveness as a tool, or a weapon, to get their spouse to take action or ultimately end things with their affair partner. I understand it, and anyone who has been though infidelity will understand the enormity of desperation on either party to get some healthy movement. The problem is, it just doesn’t work and is manipulative at best.

To use forgiveness as manipulation means, “I will not get healthy myself, till you do this or that.”

But why would we delay our own healing and our own well-being to try and force our spouse to act? Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves and is utilized to free our own minds, hearts and emotions from overpowering and imprisoning hurt and pain.  Why would we ask them to do something first for us, which ultimately is at our own heart’s reach, which will not only benefit ourselves, but our kids, our mental physical, emotional, and physical well-being and even our marriage? We really seek to bloody our mate and continue to punish them for their choices. At the core of our heart’s intent at this moment is vengeance and retribution which will only complicate matters, none more so than our own healing and our own well-being.

To refuse to forgive until our spouse does something or makes these changes, will only backfire and keep us in our own prison. There is definitely a time for consequences and ultimatums, but not at the expense of our own recovery and not out of a manipulative approach which is rooted in vengeance and retribution. 

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