Jada Pinkett Smith Discusses ‘Toxic Forgiveness’ on ‘Red Table Talk’

Jada Pinkett Smith highlights “toxic forgiveness” during her latest Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk. She was joined by guest host Sheree Zampino, the ex-wife of Will Smith. Here’s a look at what they had to say.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Sheree Zampino have formed a ‘sisterhood’

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the premiere of Focus in 2015.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Jada says she and Sheree have developed a “nice sisterhood.” She talks about how tough it was to get to that point. After a lot of hard work, Jada and Will have a good relationship with Sheree.

 “Sometimes we did have to fake it to make it,” says Jada. She talks about trying to have a blended family and not being sure how to proceed. “We really had to figure it out along the way,” says Jada. “For me, it really was about maturity.”

Jada admits she and Sheree were “very fiery” when they were younger. She says they often clashed because Sheree was just out of a relationship with Will. Their  feelings were still raw.

Jada says Sheree didn’t have time to adjust to being divorced and then having to accept that Will was with a new woman. Jada acknowledges she was in the picture too soon after Will and Sheree divorced.

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Sheree says her only requirement for being part of a blended family was that Jada treat her son, Trey, well. Jada says she reached a point where she realized she couldn’t say she loved her stepson (Trey) if she didn’t show love to Sheree, his mother.

Jada says she matured over the years and learned to accept Sheree as part of the family. Sheree said she considers Jada family now. “I think we’re committed to the process,” says Sheree. “I’m committed to loving you. I’m committed to giving you grace. You’re family to me.”

Jada Pinkett Smith discusses ‘toxic forgiveness’

Therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab posted a social media message about toxic forgiveness that Jada says resonated with her. In the post, Tawwab says, “Toxic forgiveness is an unhealthy way that people pretend to be unharmed, over it, or forgetful of the offense. Forgiving to keep the peace or people-pleasing is not healthy for your mental health or your relationship.”

Jada says she engaged in toxic forgiveness a lot because she tends to be a people-pleaser. She says forgiveness is a process and people need time to be angry and process their feelings. Jada notes how people are often rushed into forgiving someone and criticized when they don’t move past an issue within a certain amount of time.

“It doesn’t happen immediately, sometimes it takes years,” says Jada. “At the end of the day, as you continue through your healing process, you’ll start to realize that people just do the best they can.”

During her discussion with 90210 and One Tree Hill star Jana Kramer, Jada reminds her and the audience that it’s important not to absorb what others think about you. Jada’s other guest, Nedra Glover Tawwab, spoke about an “unforgiveness revolution.” She says it’s necessary to give yourself time to forgive someone. You might forgive the person you’re angry with or you might decide to end the relationship. It takes time to decide.

Jada says there’s so much pressure to forgive and forget. However, that’s not always possible. “How do you forget these big things?” says Tawwab. “Now, you can forgive, but I haven’t figured out a way to erase memory.”

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