Tag Archives: psychology

Forgiveness: It’s something we should do for ourselves

Review by Phil Jason

Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World, by Megan Feldman Bettencourt. Hudson Street Press. 288 pages. Hardback $25.95. Forthcoming Avery trade paperback $16.00.

So many of us are weighed down by negative emotions without truly realizing how much damage they are doing to our quality of life and to those around us. We carry the hurts of real and imagined slights. We continue to agonize over our parents’ having been distant when we needed them or having been harshly judgmental when we longed for acceptance – if not praise. We can’t get past a betrayal of confidence, a two-timing spouse, a boss or teacher who plays favorites and didn’t value our worth. 0triumph-of-the-heart

If we are subject to physical abuse, or injured by a texting driver, or crippled on the battlefield or in competitive sports, we carry the anger until it becomes more devastating than the original incident. How can be overcome the rage and grief if a child or wife or parent gets shot to death during a robbery? Our resentment keeps eating us alive.

We simply cannot forgive.  Why should we?



Ms. Bettencourt tells as why and how.

The first of many illustrative stories in this inspiring book is about Azim Khamisa, who in January of 1995 received a phone call telling him that his twenty year old son, Tariq, had been shot dead. The murderer, a fourteen year old gang member named Tony, had fired on Tariq while attempting to rob him. The healing relationship between Azim, Tony, and Tony’s grandfather, one that dramatically introduces the psychological benefits of forgiveness and the means to exercise it, sets the tone for the rest of the book. Azim founded and administers the Tarik Khamisa Foundation, a model educational institution for putting endangered youths on the right path. Azim turned his loss into something magical, and his forgiveness of Tony and friendship with Tony’s grandfather were part of the process, as was a form of meditation.

Ms. Bettencourt learned a lot by witnessing Azim in action. In fact, her own problems, she discovered, needed to be addressed through the process of forgiveness so that she could reclaim her life. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the February 17, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the February 18 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte editions, click here:  Florida Weekly – Bettencourt

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Lisa Unger: delicate bonds stretched to the limit

“Fragile,” by Lisa Unger. Shaye Areheart /Crown. 336 pages. $24.00.

In The Hollows, a small town 100 miles from New York City, a rebellious teenager named Charlene disappears. Pressed into service is Jones Cooper, the head of detectives on the local police force. Concerned as well is his wife Maggie, a psychologist who has insights into Charlene as well as into Charlene’s mother, Melody, once a high school classmate, as was Jones and many other townspeople. The Hollows holds onto its young, who turn into its parents and then its retired grandparents – like Maggie’s declining mother, Elizabeth, once the high school’s principal.

One of Maggie’s patients is Marshall Crosby, a troubled boy at the edge of destructive behavior. He is the son of disgraced former policeman Travis Crosby – a high school crony of Jones’s – and grandson of the older Travis Crosby, retired from his mean-spirited reign as the town’s police chief.

Center stage for the Coopers is their son, Ricky, who considers goth-fashioned Charlene his girl friend. Exactly how close they are is not clear, but Ricky has also been rebellious and secretive. What does he know about Charlene’s disappearance? What will he reveal?  

Is Charlene a runaway – or has she been abducted? Will she end up like one of her mother’s classmates, Sarah, who a generation back was found murdered shortly after her disappearance? Questions about Charlene bring up memories of Sarah’s death – a closed case, but with some loose ends.  

And why is Marshall Crosby, the son and grandson of abusers, trying so hard to find out if he is a good person or a bad person?

While Lisa Unger shows amazing skill at plot development, pacing, and projecting a rich sense of place, her talent in characterization – in plumbing the depths of her characters’ inner circumstances – is truly exceptional. Readers will be enthralled by the access they gain to each major character’s fluctuations of emotional temperature. Even more important in this novel is Ms. Unger’s penetration into the nuances of relationships between parents and children, husbands and wives, public and private roles, friendships and mere dependencies, the self as child and the self as adult. How strong, or fragile, are these ties?

To read this review in its entirely, as it appeares in the August 4-10, 2010 issue of the Fort Myers Florida Weekly, click here: Florida Weekly – Lisa Unger’s FRAGILE

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