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Posted May 31, Reviewed by Ekua Hagan. David and I have been studying war and violence sinceand David has studied aggression since the early s. During the process of this work, especially our early work on nuclear war and deterrence theory, we became aware that much violence occurs under the rubric of revenge or justice.
Wars are described as "just," and capital punishment is also a form of "justice" in the eyes of some people and nations.
Usually, revenge, retaliation, and just wars are forms of getting even after a person, group, or nation has been injured by another person, group, or nation. While self-defense is almost universally accepted as a legitimate reason for violence, getting even is accepted as equally valid by many people and nations. In our latest book, Payback! Why we Retaliate, Redirect Aggression, and Take Revengewe analyze the biology, ethology, sociology, and history of getting even, and in the last chapter, we describe a series of alternatives.
I am going to skip ahead and talk about one of those alternatives, because I think it might be the most practical pathway to stop the cycle of violence and passing pain from person to person. You have my permission to use this in any format, at any time.
What do you do if you find out that you have hurt or harmed somebody, and you want to revive the relationship or even improve it? How do you make a complete, complex, and healing apology that addresses the injured party's pain and possible need for retaliation? I formulated a recipe called the Forgiveness Protocol, that I gave to my patients, particularly parents who had harmed their children, or couples wounded by adultery. It is based somewhat on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Jewish prayers for forgiveness on the High Holy Days, and a prayer before going to sleep in the Orthodox Jewish tradition called the Bedtime Shema.
Too many people believe that simply saying sorry one time should suffice, if we have hurt somebody's feelings. However, the legal code is more clear: If you hurt somebody's car, you have to pay the damages. It can be difficult to itemize emotional costs, but to heal, it must be done.
In effect, the Forgiveness Protocol offlo the pain and suffering of a victim back onto the perpetrator, by making the perpetrator humble, thoughtful, and indebted, in other words, subordinated, with a need to pay back the injury with considerable amends. I will say more about Payback! However, I am going on a very long trip soon, and I want the Forgiveness Protocol available to the world right now, so that it is in the public domain, no matter the outcome of the trip.
Take it, try it. Put it up on your refrigerator. Teach it to your children. Since we all make dreadful mistakes sometimes, it is important to know how to make a cogent apology.
It is one of the pathways to peace, personally and globally. Judith Eve Lipton, M. She and her husband David Barash have written about sex, war, and human nature. Worry is driven by mood, not logic.
Anxiety holds your deepest yearnings. And you can subdue it for good. Three experts turn everything you know about anxiety inside out. Judith Eve Lipton M. Pura Vida. About the Author. Read Next. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness.
Family Life Child Development Parenting. View Help Index. Do I Need Help? Back Magazine. September A Sigh of Relief Worry is driven by mood, not logic. Back Today. Essential Re.How to make up when you hurt someone
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6 Dos and Don’ts for a Quality Apology