Date of Conferral







Melody Moore


The subject of forgiveness has been heavily explored during the past few decades; however, limited research has been conducted on the phenomenology of emotional forgiveness, the internal process of replacing negative feelings with positive feelings. This study explored the emotional forgiveness experiences of 7 adult men who were previous victims of abuse by their parents. Using Moustakas's phenomenological research approach, the participants were interviewed about their experiences of emotional forgiving their abusive parents. The recall, empathize, altruism, commitment, and holding on, REACH forgiveness model and family systems theory were the conceptual frameworks to explore the central research question, which addressed the meaning of emotional forgiveness in adult males. The interview data were coded and grouped into themes of shared meaning. The results revealed 8 distinct themes: coping, evolution of emotions, substance abuse, cognitive distortions, making meaning of the abuse, forgiving because Christ first forgave me, and God's grace. Further, the lived experiences revealed that emotional forgiveness was largely dependent on the adult male's acceptance of their difficulty to emotionally forgive and seeking God's grace to help them emotionally forgive their abusive parent. Results of this study have the potential to benefit adult males who struggle to emotionally forgive their abusive parent by providing insights into the emotional forgiveness experience. Furthermore, the results from this study can be shared with the professional community to help them understand the phenomenon of adult males who have survived an abusive parent.