To forgive and forget is not exactly a motto for good physical or emotional health, says Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet. She endorses the forgiveness portion of it but says the forgetting can ``backfire'' on a person.
``Forgiveness is not about doing away with justice,'' says Witvliet, a researcher and assistant professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich. ``To forgive is not about explaining away the hurt or exonerating someone's unacceptable behavior.
``It can be dangerous to rush people into forgiveness. Too many people who have been abused, mistreated or neglected are basically told to forgive someone and go back into the relationship or situation. Forgiveness doesn't always mean reconciliation.''
Witvliet has pondered …