Happiness 104: How To Forgive & Release

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Happiness 103: After The Slump

We need to develop healthy relationships with others to discover ourselves

  • They need to be authentic and genuine with an emphasis on effective communication
  • Healthy relationships are spontaneous and intuitive
  • Love shows itself in the relationship through shared giving and generosity, everyone is encouraged from each others’ nurturing
  • There is an acceptance of self and others, and everyone is allowed to feel openly and appropriately
  • Everyone is able to be childlike and innocent where everyone loves playing and having fun
  • Each person is individually assertive while staying vulnerable to others, which creates a unique kind of power and trustworthiness
  • Everyone lives in the present moment and the foreseeable future, and there’s little concern over past wrongs that no longer apply
  • Everyone is free to grow from the understanding that all people are walking through life without full knowledge or awareness
  • Everyone is able to solve their own problems and are happy doing it

We often can’t create healthy relationships through unforgiveness, which create layers of self-deception

  • Sixth Layer – Toxic shame
    • Complete Non-acceptance of self
    • Mindsets & Thoughts
      • Self-indulgent
      • Controlling
      • Grandiosity
      • Depression
      • Self-doubt/self-hatred
      • Perfectionism
      • Deep sense of inferiority
        • Inadequacy
      • Personality disorders
    • Actions
      • Physical violence
      • Addictions of all sorts
        • Eating disorders
      • Sexually acting out/sexual abuse
      • Compulsions
        • Repetition compulsion
      • Personal failure
      • Compulsive lying
      • Unhealthy relationships
      • Criminal behavior
  • Fifth Layer – Cover-ups
    • Mindsets & Thoughts
      • Judgmental
      • Using perpetual repeated defenses
      • Perfectionist
      • Patronizing
      • Rage/anger
      • Envious
      • Blaming
      • Caretaker role
      • Enabling
      • Rescuer role
      • Victimizing
      • Depressed
    • Actions
      • People-pleasing
      • Moralizing
        • Religiousness
      • Transferring shame to others by acting shameless
      • Controlling
  • Fourth Layer – Rigid family roles
    • Hero
    • Star
    • Victim
    • Problem Child
    • Rebel
    • Helpless Parent
    • Enabler
    • Perfect One
    • Surrogate Spouse
    • Offender
    • Scapegoat
    • Lost Child
    • Mascot
    • “Sick One”
  • Third Layer – Defenses
    • Displacement
    • Disassociation
    • Denial
    • Idealized fantasy bonds with others
    • Repression
    • Over-identification
    • Projection
    • Delusions
  • Second Layer – Internalized shame
    • Becomes toxic over:
      • Abandonment
      • Rejection
      • Abuse
      • Trauma
      • Shameless parents
  • First Layer – Core belief of self from parenting
    • Healthy core belief includes a healthy amount of shame and ego development
    • Unhealthy core belief comes from poor parenting, where the child feels they are:
      • Flawed
      • Bad
      • Defective
      • “Not good enough”

Uncovering and accepting our genuine self is an emotionally intense experience

  • Stage 1 – Identifying Layers 1-6
    • Bad parents lead to children thinking there is something wrong with them as they are, and bad parents are usually marked by being:
      • Rejecting
      • Absent
      • Indifferent
      • Hostile
      • Threatening
      • Abusive
      • Silent
      • Neglectful
      • Guilt-Tripping
      • Shaming
    • Self-rejection creates:
      • Compulsive and addictive behaviors
      • Character-based strategies of defense against shame
    • False selves are created because:
      • The “real self” was rejected
      • The child needs to please their parents in order to survive
    • False selves have distinct characteristics:
      • Alienated From Real Self
      • Actor/Actress
      • Plans & Plods
      • Fearful
      • Withholding/Silent
      • Conditionally Loves (Selfish)
      • Critical/Perfectionist
      • Denies, Hides & Judges Feelings
      • Passive or Aggressive
      • Rational/Logical
      • Over-Developed Critical Parent
      • Difficulty Playing & Having Fun
      • Fakes Being Strong or Helpless
      • Values Power & Control
      • Distrustful
      • Avoids/Distrusts Being Nurtured
      • Prideful (Controlling)
      • Self-Righteous
      • Lives in the Past
      • Believes Everyone is “On Their Own”
      • Repeats Painful Patterns Through Life
      • Secretive
      • Fearful of Making Decisions
      • Self-Centered
    • These characteristics will mix and match to form many types of identities
      • Victim
      • Alienated
      • Workaholic
      • Provider
      • Hero
      • Co-dependent
      • Helpless
      • Drug/alcohol abuser
      • Rebel
      • Little parent
      • Enabler
      • Perfect one
      • Problem child
      • Identified patient (symptom bearer)
      • Star
      • Surrogate spouse
      • Offender
      • Scapegoat
      • Lost child
      • Mascot
      • Judge
      • Family consciousness
      • People pleaser
      • Rescuer
      • Caretaker
      • Entertainer
      • Controller
      • Manipulator
      • Family trash can
      • Hides behind a mask
      • Fearful
      • Withholds
      • Loves conditionally
      • Critical
      • Hides feelings
      • Over developed parent
      • Distrusting
      • Controls
      • Withdraws
      • Self-righteous
      • Blocks unconscious material
      • Avoids nurture
      • Blaming
      • Numb or empty
      • Hyper-aware
      • Depressed
      • Unhappy
  • Stage 2 – Identify our self-lies
  • Stage 3 – Exposure to pain
    • Many things are wired to trigger someone’s false self
      • Memories
      • Facial Expressions
      • Smells
      • Sounds
      • Someone’s Behavior
    • Begin to expose the defenses and cover-ups
      • Seeing the behavior, roles and defenses connected to denial of being flawed
      • Feeling actual pain is the most effective way to demonstrate the “real self”
    • Ultimately, the “real self” will be recognized as lovable, good and whole (good enough)

Learn to spot a false self in yourself and in others

  1. High Shame/Low Self-Esteem – can’t respect self or others, trapped by feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness, defense mechanisms shield from hypersensitive self-judgment
  2. Distorted View of Others – displaced anger makes themselves victims of others’ bad behaviors, and the need for victimization maintains a hostility and unfairness towards others
  3. Distorted View of Self – consciously or unconsciously unable to deal with personal mistakes, the denials show as either hard on self or infinitely better than others
  4. Motivated By Fear – the greater the fears, the greater the helplessness or need for hyper-vigilance, and the more hyper-vigilance the more of a hyper-response
  5. Black-and-White Thinking – splitting and assigning people into “all or nothing” rigid categories with no possible gray area: safe/unsafe, good/bad, OK/unwell, etc.
  6. Enslaved By Self-Criticism – feelings of guilt lead irrationally to more self-criticism than given to others: Good/Bad, Perfect/Failure, Saint/Sinner, Worthy/Unworthy of Love, Competent/Incompetent, etc.
  7. Fear of Abandonment – leads to either constant people-pleasing and over-extending self to find love or putting up strict boundaries to prevent relationships and the risk of abandonment from those relationships
  8. Loneliness – caused from strict detachment, can be accomplished in numerous ways including:
    • Physical Withdrawal
    • Emotional Withdrawal
    • Putting on a subtle well-guarded “life of the party” facade
      • This “life of the party” facade is one of the most skillful and deceptive responses of the shame-based False Self
      • The lively, enjoyable conversation (unknown to others) is not intended to befriend anyone, initiate relationships or deepen relationships
      • The facade is intended to keep control of the conversation:
        • Lets them control the topic of conversation
        • Lets them control the emotional distance and tones of conversation
        • Helps them feel good about themselves and receive positive regard from others
        • Prevents them from having to get involved in conversations that are more than a shallow level
        • When effective, prevents unexpected intrusions
        • Puts the environment securely in their control
        • Gives a sense of friendly positive affirmation without having to get involved in a more intimate friendship
        • There are other variations, such as talking incessantly to not allow others to speak

Regret is a type of unforgiveness that we typically hold onto regarding ourselves

  • Regret is looking back and wishing you had done things differently
    • Regret is healthy and necessary
      • Some things can’t be changed and there is no way to control it, but we have to release that control
      • Most regret is overemphasized by emotions
    • Letting go of regrets is vitally necessary for any success
      • Often, this is simply resolved by affirming that you did what you thought was best at the time given what you knew
  • There are stages of regret
    1. Denial about what happened
    2. Bewilderment or shock over how it happened
    3. Self-punishment over the consequences of the event
    4. Cycling back into denial to make the pain go away
    5. Accepting that we need to let go
    6. Taking comfort in how universal the feeling is
    7. Laugh at ourselves and take ourselves much less seriously
    8. Let time pass to permit the emotion to fade

When it comes to actually forgiving a wrong, there are 3 kinds of forgiveness:

  1. Exoneration
    • Typically what the word “forgiveness” implies
    • Wipes the slate clean and restores the offender to a complete state of where they were
    • There are 3 common exoneration situations
      • A genuine accident for which no fault can be assigned
      • A child or someone who didn’t understand the hurt they were inflicting
      • The person who hurt you is:
        • truly sorry
        • takes full responsibility without excuses
        • asks for forgiveness
        • will genuinely try to not repeat the action
    • If someone have fully apologized and are trying/tried to make amends, it is your moral duty to exonerate them from what they have done
      • To not forgive when the other genuinely seeks it will actually be more harmful to your being
      • It indicates that there may be something more wrong with you than your offender
  2. Forbearance
    • When the offender:
      • makes a partial apology
      • mingles their expression of sorrow with blame that you somehow caused them to behave badly
    • It may not even be a fully authentic apology
    • Even when you bear no responsibility, you should exercise forbearance if the relationship matters to you
      • Stop dwelling on the particular offense
      • Do away with grudges and fantasies of revenge
      • Retain a degree of watchfulness – i.e. “forgive and forget” or “trust, but verify”
    • If someone admits they are only partially in the wrong or somehow blames you, and you need to or want to keep in connection with them, you have to forbear their wrongdoing
      • With time and love, forbearance can rise to exoneration and eventually full forgiveness if they change
  3. Release
    • When someone does not believe they did anything wrong, or they give a fully insincere apology with no reparations whatsoever
    • Typically this situation comes from:
      • adult survivors of child abuse
      • a victim of being cheated on by a partner
      • a betrayal by a friend or family member
    • Release does not exonerate the offender or require forbearance, and doesn’t require that you continue the relationship
      • It does ask to stop defining your life in terms of the hurt done and to release your bad feelings and preoccupation with the negative things that happened to you
      • It allows you to let go of the burden that is weighing you down from the past
    • If anyone ever wrongs you, then you absolutely must release the grudge and negativity you’re holding
      • This doesn’t mean forgetting, but it means accepting that what happened was outside of your control and you now bear the consequence of it
      • If you do not release the pain and anger and move past dwelling on old hurts or betrayals you will be allowing the ones who hurt you to live in your mind constantly
        • Never let yourself go to sleep without releasing the grudge, since it will encode itself into the subconscious when you do
      • Whether it’s through individual efforts, psychotherapy or religion it is absolutely necessary to do
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