Most people do not like or appreciate my definition of forgiveness. I don’t even like my description. Forgiveness means giving up your rights to retribution and not holding the offense against the offender even though you know they will probably re-offend and do it again. Forgiving an offender does not mean we agree or condone their actions. I will also caution the reader not to forgive too soon without considering the risks.

Forgiving is not the same as forgetting because you will always remember a painful event. However, it does mean choosing not to recall. Recalling is the conscious choice to bring the event up and to ruminate on it. We will all experience flashbacks of the painful offense from time to time. I am not referring to the resurfacing memories that are beyond our control. Recalling an event at will is a way of re-victimizing yourself. Choosing to recall and dwell on an offense, fuels our anger and keeps up stuck in the past. In essence, it keeps us locked in a feedback loop as our anger justifies us hating the offender and thus blaming them for our fixation and trap.


Resentment is a powerful tool and sometimes a motivator for revenge. Bitterness is our futile effort of trying to punish and get back at the offender. However, it rarely works. Meanwhile, the offender is free to move on with their life; never realizing the power, we surrendered over to them by hating, blaming and resenting them. Resentment infects the soul like a virus. It moves through the self like a metastasized cancer and tethers us to the past like an anchor.

Forgiveness, love, and resentment cannot coexist. We must consciously nurture forgiveness. Unchecked resentment is free to grow wild like a weed pushing out the flowers. What we choose to feed and water will always grow. The antidote to life’s ailments is forgiveness. Forgiveness is rarely for the offender. It is for our self, especially if we choose not to continue a relationship with the offender. Forgiveness frees us and cuts the tie between the offender and our self. Thus, forgiveness allows us to move forward and frees us from the offender and the past to pursue happiness.

10 Steps of Forgiveness

1) Acknowledge the hurt and pain caused by the offense.
2) Recognize which of your values were violated.
3) Consider how the offense will affect you in the long-term, mid-term and short-term.
4) Distinguish the person from the offense and recognize the person is responsible but not defined by the offense.
5) Choose not to re-victimize yourself by not recalling and dwelling on the event.
6) Acknowledge your limitations and that you have no control over the person.
7) Give up your rights to retribution and revenge.
8) If you plan to continue the relationship with the person, you must redefine your expectations and future consequences.
9) Work on gratitude.
10) Repeat the above process daily as needed.

Problems Forgiving

If you’re having problems forgiving the one you love, it might be time to seek some outside help.

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pack family
“I’m free to be myself and enjoy being around my family,” Pack member.

The Pack

Understanding the pack requires a paradigm shift. Pack members are neither dependent nor independent of each other. They are interdependent and have a collaborative mentality hence each member is just as valuable as the family system.

The Wild

In the wild, the pack is in a category all by itself. The pack has legitimate leaders with clear lines of authority with a pecking order. Leadership is questioned from time to time but is respected once established. The family reinforces social norms and rules through order and discipline among the ranks. Although the packs encourage members to be creative and adventurous, every member has a responsibility and role to support the family.


Individuality does not threaten the identity of the pack because the relationship bonds of these families are secure. The pack values every member. Members have a strong sense of trust and loyalty. They value relationships and tend to develop stable relationships with each other. In addition, they recognize how they are separate but connected. The relationships are interconnected and interdependent. Therefore, differences are celebrated and viewed as strengths. These families are flexible and adjust easily when needed.


Packs are emotionally and intellectually interdependent. “We” is just as important as “me.” They are comfortable with themselves and tend to manage anxiety well. They cope well with emotional distance and closeness without becoming overly anxious and nervous. The relationship is responsive rather than reactionary. Since conflicts do not threaten the relationship, they provide opportunities to define their position and self. additionally, members are competitive but not at the expense of others. They operate from an abundance mentality and do not compete for resources. Consequently, the members tend to be good problem solvers and seek win/win solutions.

Be sure to check out the conclusion in the next edition.


family herd
“The closer I am to my family, the less I feel like an individual,” The Herd.

The Herd Family

The herd family is highly emotional and reactionary. They huddle and cluster together when anxious. If one member becomes anxious, the whole herd becomes anxious. They are very reactionary and blindly follow each other even if the others are wrong. Being alone is far worse than wrong. Togetherness and traditions are very important. Individuality and differences are discouraged as it threatens the family’s identity.

The Wild

In the wild, the herd’s survival is dependent on everyone looking and acting alike. They are anxiety driven and reactionary. If one member is spooked, they are all run and ask questions later. “Why are we running?” “I don’t know. Why were you running?” “I was running because you were running.” In the end, no one knows why they are running. This is how stampedes are started. Humans are the same with emotional stampedes. Gossip and rumors run ramped as there are no secrets within the herd.


If you have a conflict with one a herdsman, be prepared to face the whole family. If the herd perceives itself stronger than the threat, outsiders need to beware. The herd will close ranks to protect its own. However, the herd does have a strong survival instinct. Members recognize that they are safe from predators so long as they can outrun the weakest and slowest members. The rebellious or “different” members (different in the sense of being an individual) are easily picked off.


Herdsmen tend to develop fearful-attachment relationship types. That is, they have a fear of abandonment. These individuals need constant

contact and reassurances and become nervous with emotional distance. Herdsmen are very sensitive to emotional changes within the system and are keen at reading others. When upset, they need others to “talk it out.” Outsiders may view them as clingy and smothering. Herd members are emotionally dependent on each other and hold others responsible for their emotional security and wellbeing.

To be heard in these families, members talk loud and fast. Some members complain of no privacy. The bonds of these relationships are enmeshed and intertwined. The boundaries are often weak and inconsistent. It is difficult for members to define their self as they do not understand where they end and others begin.

The Roles

Members play a reluctant role within the herd. Sometimes the emotional intensity of the herd is too great and specific roles develope to help cope and remain connected with the others. Or, they attempt to escape by withdrawing. When withdrawing is not a viable option, these members may explode away by creating a conflict or rebelling against the family. Other members become the lightning rod for trouble, the black sheep of the family or the butt of every joke. Some manage to become the favorite or the golden child who can do no wrong. The peacemaker, the lost child, nevertheless, each member has a role to fulfill. When one member leaves, another emerges to take their place. The herd needs its cast of players to reduce or cope with the emotional tension within the family.

Herdsmen loyalties are ambivalent and reluctant at best. The herd puts down individuality and growth with sabotage. Members are pressured, threatened, or bullied into compliance and put back in place. Guilt is often the weapon of choice. “Who do you think you are?” Or “how dare you think you’re better than the rest of us.” Herdsmen tend to be very competitive and have a win-lose mentality. Within the herd, it’s all about “me” and survival.


The final family type, The Pack, is next.