Sunday, April 19, 2015

Forgiveness? Maybe not

Dear Dr. Gottlieb:

Forgiveness? Maybe not


Dear Dr. Gottlieb:


What is wrong with me?  I really and truly understand that Mr. Vick had a horrible childhood.  A cruel childhood that led to unimaginable violence, dog fighting and G-d know what else.  I also understand the concept of paying ones debt to society and having a second chance.  But, after reading and trying to understand your column today-I still do not understand how he could kill a dog that did not win a fight in such a cruel and terrible way.  Couldn't he shoot the dog?  No!  He had to wet the dog and electrocute him.  Doesn't that say more about his heart than about his childhood?  What is wrong with me that I find his behavior more than just violent?  To me the man is innately evil.


I read about serial killers, arsonists, etc.  They invariably have been cruel to animals before they started their careers in violence toward humanity.  They are usually abused and cruelly treated themselves.  But, regardless of the reasons, they are evil.  Aren't they?


OK, lets forgive Mr. Vick.  Lets give him another chance to play ball, to talk to kids about violence and to try to help animals.   But, I would not leave him alone with those kids or with animals for any length of time.  Would you?  Or, is it just me?  Do I just not get it?



Forgiveness is letting go of resentment, it's just that simple and that difficult.  Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person, it has to do with the toxic anger we carry inside.  One could argue that they have good reason to hate, but it is the hatred itself that causes suffering.  What this man did was horrific and like I said, he might not be capable of change.  But the longer one carries their anger at him, the longer they suffer.  He does not

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About this blog
Dan Gottlieb is a psychologist and marital therapist and has been in practice nearly 40 years. His career started in community mental health and substance abuse until his accident in 1979 made him a quadriplegic.

Since that time, he has been in private practice. Since 1985, he has been hosting a radio show called "Voices in the Family" on WHYY FM, Philadelphia's NPR affiliate. He was a regular columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1994 until 2008. He is also the author of four books.

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