chapter  14
14 Pages

The Doormat Effect: On the Dangers of Resolving Conict via Unilateral Forgiveness

G iven enough time, close relationship partners are bound to experience conicts in which one person hurts, angers, or upsets the other. How can they resolve such conicts? Scholars and clinicians have designed and implemented several interventions to bolster victims’ forgiveness of interpersonal transgressions (e.g., Hebl & Enright, 1993; Rye & Pargament, 2002; Worthington, Kurusu, Collins, Berry, Ripley, & Baier, 2000; for a review, see Wade & Worthington, 2005). These interventions share the assumption that bolstering victims’ forgiveness will bene–t the victims. In other words, forgiveness interventions assume that victims have control over their own outcomes: if they forgive, they will experience better outcomes than if they do not forgive.