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Forgiveness

Judge Not That Ye May Not Be Judged, Condemn Not That Ye Not Be Condemned (From The Bible)

rp_366761818_150_150.jpgThe Bible warns against condemning others, but it also tells you not to condemn yourself.  We create so many problems when we start having so many expectations for ourselves, things that we have to live up too.  Do we bully ourselves?  Do we criticize ourselves before somebody else, including God, does it to us?  Then when we err we don’t give ourselves any slack. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.  We judge ourselves before somebody else can judge us.  Of what use is self-condemnation and judgments from others?

rp_300px-Emotions.GIFSometimes our conscience is too well-developed.  We do this to avoid judgments from others.  Maybe we stop and look in the mirror before we go out so that no one can surprise us with an unfavorable remark.  Compliments are often few and far between even those they may be deserved.  Sometimes when someone says nothing it is as close to a compliment as we can get.

Warm Fuzzies-Cold PrickliesWe need warm fuzzies, not cold pricklies.  I guess the latter at least reassure us we have been noticed.  Have you ever felt that you might be invisible when everybody in the room at a party are busy talking to each other and they don’t seem to notice that you are there?

Making Bad Connections Between Two Separate Things When They Don’t Make Sense

rp_363561405_150_150.jpgIt is unfortunate that some people when bad things happen in order to explain unexplainable things they make connections that make themselves feel really guilty when they actually might not be so. Unfortunately, bad things happen over which we seemingly have no control.  This especially happens when someone dies unexpectedly.

From an early age people often makes inaccurate connections between when something bad like this happens and something that they have done unfortunately when they did not know that the unexpected would happen.

rp_228552603_150_150.jpgThis especially happens when someone is grieving and did not know before the person passed away that the person would die unexpectedly.  Perhaps there was a family celebration that was not so happy because someone’s feelings got hurt.  Being that we often have great expectations for such occasions, this often happens when things don’t meet our expectations and our feelings get hurt or we get mad about something.

Most people know that this will often blow over and be forgotten before the next big family celebration.  Then something bad happens and the person blames his or herself for it happening or for not having treated the person who dies unexpectedly right!

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

A person’s sudden passing is upsetting enough without adding the factor in that one of the persons doing the grieving feels that he or she had a part in it which they now regret.  The origin of this problem is often that the person who feels bad would rather they had something to do it rather than it happened for no reason or if by chance a person is not on good terms with the person who passes unexpected and now wishes that he or she had not been that way considering what happened later even though he or she didn’t know that would happen at that time.

It is important to forgive yourself like you should or would do for other people.It is, even more, important to do so if you realize that you had no intention to hurt the person that passed away as you thought this person would be around to make it up if necessary.  Don’t blame yourself for something over which you have no control!

 

Men & Women? Or Women & Men?

amygdalaEver wonder about the differences (if any) between the sexes in childhood and in adulthood?  Sometimes I wonder if my husband is blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.  What strikes me constantly when I pull in the drive or come in the back door is what needs to be done.  There is trash in the yard and trash in the house that needs to be picked up and/or disposed of!  There are things that are completely worn out and that need to be replaced.  Things that need to be finished that were started several years ago before they completely deteriorate and fall down and have to be torn down and probably never replaced.  A lot of wasted money and energy have gone into those things.  I never miss seeing these things and it frustrates me every time I see them.  It is like I have a huge “to do” list that I can never even start let alone finish.

Don’t think that men don’t notice things.  They are always noticing things that you have done to cope with these problems that they don’t like and complain about and threaten to tear down or throw out.  Some men (oh, my) even cuss about these things as though you really deserve a cussing out rather than some appreciation for trying to do something about the problems.  Doesn’t it seem here that there is some attempt to not take responsibility for all the problems you have to live with and cope with everyday and to shift the blame onto you.

rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPGThere is an idea going around that men are more able to focus on things and ignore what is not relevant.  The idea is also that women are more able to multitask and get more done because they can’t as easily let things go.

Men also can also divert themselves by horsing around and talking about what other people, not them, are doing or not doing.  Men also can pull pranks on each other and then forget about how awful they were to each other and even laugh about it.  Women take things more personally and like an elephant they can never  not forget.

For example, I remembered being pranked by my room mate’s future sorority sisters who tried to throw me in the shower clothes and all I fought them like a wildcat.   I still am mad at them for tearing up the room including dumping out my things and attempting to haze me as well as my roommate.  I was not a pledge of theirs and didn’t deserve that. Now if it had been guys they might have forgotten it and /or even thought it was funny after the fact.

Guys can get angry at each other, even fight each other physically, and apparently forgive and forget the next day.  When in training for something that they must complete and reach a certain standard of excellence, they expect to be treated badly and brag about surviving and even plan ahead as a group how to outwit their trainers attempts to subdue them.  To them, it is part of the game.   Is the mistreatment of women trainees partially because they don’t understand this or can’t or don’t want to participate in this?  It’s a guy thing?  Do men think “Why doesn’t a woman think like a man?” like in the musical, “My Fair Lady.”

rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpgThe next part of the problem is whether or not men think of it as a problem that they should have to do something about?  Or do only women do?  Do they find it is more impossible to live with than women do?  Or do men think they have already done something about it when women can’t get them to notice the problems let alone do anything about them?  Do they feel that hurt feelings don’t count and should be forgotten as easily as they forget them and/or don’t acknowledge them and/or pass them up as not counting for anything.  I guess if you can forget about a guy socking you in the face the next day and go on about your business with him as if nothing has happened, you can do it.  As a woman, I may still have a bruise or injury that reminds me of what that person who hurt me owes me and which can not be forgiven easily if at all?

 

 

Conversation Stopper: People Are Rude Because Other People Are Too Polite To Call Them On It

Arp_300px-Kohlberg_moral_stages_vop.gifre some people rude and obnoxious because they count on other people to be polite?  Also do some people lie because other people won’t correct them for fear of being rude themselves?  Some people say hurtful and insulting things because they don’t expect other people to call them on it.  They will also tell lies because other people will often give them the benefit of the doubt or don’t want to start an argument.

What is often true is that the other person is uncouth and often cruel because they can get away with it.  It is sometimes even extremely obvious that they are doing this but they think that no one will say anything and they usually don’t.  Doing so often accounts for a period of stunned silence from the audience members with it being so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

For example, I once entered the room where a large family gathering was already going on and rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPGeverybody looked to see who was coming in.  The rude person in a loud voice asked, “Who cut your hair?”  It was obvious that person was being critical of the way I looked.  It had already been a long day for me and I replied, “Well, who asked you?” in front of the whole group.  This was met by stunned silence not just at the initial comment that had been made but at my reply.  I felt it had been very appropriate considering that this person made a game of doing such things.

rp_7510823738_6616ac3a63_m.jpgSometimes the only way you can handle such comments is by being rude, obnoxious, and impolite in return.  Such cruel people love to embarrass people and often do this when they have a crowd for an audience.  People who are crude this way often may unconsciously worry that they might have the same problem that they are pointing out in somebody else but we usually don’t call them on it.

Forgive, Forget, Let Go…

rp_Anxiety.gifForgive, forget, let go….   Taking things another step further….   If you feel that you have to forgive someone in order to let go, you might really never let go.  Could it be possible that there is nothing to forgive and the very act of forgiveness is standing in the way of getting on with your life?

I had a very nasty? teacher once.  He would rap your knuckles with a ruler if you did something that he thought deserved it.  Altogether it was a very frustrating experience and I cried many tears over our encounters.  I had just started grade school and he was a music director who got stuck teaching elementary school kids along with his other duties  as organist and choir director.  He was very temperamental as sometimes musicians and other artists are.  Teaching was probably very frustrating for him and it probably kept him from spending all his time doing what he really desired to do.  He made my life  miserable and my cousin who was also in the same class room said that he picked on me when he could have left me alone.  I admit I was a challenging child, a quick learner with a lot of creative ideas.  It was difficult to keep me busy and I questioned his authority frequently.

For a long time I could not see this situation from his point of view.  I had a very unhappy time while he was my teacher (He wasn’t the only teacher that I had that I had trouble with in elementary school.)  The point was that in my school we had almost all male teachers and I don’t think any of them thought that teaching elementary school children was their life’s work like it was for women at that time.  I had one good year i elementary school, the year I had a woman teacher.

Altogether it was an unfortunate experience and it did not help my self-esteem.  My parents were also very frustrated with me being called to the office so often and their having had to come to school to talk about my behavior with my teacher or the principal.

Altogether it was a very frustrating experience for everyone.  Now who should be forgiven, the teacher, my parents, myself?  Sometimes saying that something has to be forgiven suggests malice aforethought.  Weren’t we all doing the best we thought we could.  I no longer see myself as a “bad” disobedient child, misunderstood maybe, but not bad.  Did I have a “bad” teacher or did he do the best he could in the circumstances?

Was this teacher taking his anger out on the children in the class by expecting too much of them.  Was he angry because he was being forced to teach when he would rather have been only in charge of  music?  My parents at that time like many parents in that era worried more about what other people would think and felt that children should be taught to respect their elders no matter what they were like.rp_8619481133_df8a85fccf_m.jpg

Now that I can see more of the picture should I continue the anger and frustration by thinking that I have to forgive my elders for what they did to me when I was a child or should I let go with the understanding that they were only people that didn’t know better.  To me forgiveness can require a lot of time and energy and it has the flavor of  something that I must do for my own and others’  good.  Letting go does not suggest that what they and what I did were right but that there was a lot of misunderstanding and confusion involved.  Also to some extend, I was more concerned about what happened to my brother and cousin when they were in this teacher’s class with me.  It is always more frightening to see somebody else get hurt when you are not them and don’t know how badly they might be suffering when you already know how painful it has been for you in the situation.

Hatred, anger when attached to letting go makes it a greater burden than it has to be.  What might remain a burden for the “offender” to deal with no longer becomes one for you.  The biggest satisfaction an offender might have is not doing the dastardly deed but the fact that the victims have to deal and live with the consequences forever.  When it comes to this, the victim has to let go as the offender no longer has them in his or her grasp.  I realized a couple of years that after my divorce many years ago, that I was still cogitating over how my ex had treated me towards the end of our marriage and how unhappy I was. and that he may have gone on merrily without me and started his life over forgetting I ever existed.

If you come from the northern  part of this country, you may know about mosquitoes and how badly their bites itch and how you can create even bigger sores and create more irritation by scratching them,  People who get them often feel they are helpless and can’t leave them alone.  Often the next step is that you stop going outside in mosquito season and wound up being cooped up inside in the house during the hottest part of  summer without air conditioning.  Wouldn’t it been wonderful if you could have avoided that?  You can avoid something similar by letting go of old past hurts.

Don’t regurgitate, don’t do what cows do and chew your cud again and again.  Yes, learn from your past experiences but don’t let them monopolize the present or scar the future.  Sometimes you don’t have to forgive you just need to let go and take what the future brings an opportunity to do something different and new.

rp_Cult_and_Ritual_Abuse.jpgCAUTION;  A HISTORY OF SEVERE PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL ABUSE AND SOMETIMES EVEN SEVERE MENTAL ABUSE REQUIRES PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT AND SHOULD NOT BE HANDLED ON ONE’S OWN.  Abuse can also happen when you are an adult.  Also do not let the abuser dictate how you handle the abuse.

 

 

Let It Go, Let It Go, Let It Go; Why Change Is So Hard

rp_Cant_Get_You_Out_Of_My_Thoughts.jpgLet it go, let it go, let it go.  Why change is so hard.  Did you ever think you were perfect? That you can’t make a mistake.  Many people do and that is why it is so hard for most people to change.  To change and therefore admit that you might need forgiveness for something that you did is almost impossible for some people.  Too often we are so hard on ourselves that we can’t or won’t let us make a mistake.  Changing something indicates that you didn’t do something right the first time.  Edison and Lincoln shared the same “fault?”  They had many failures and thus had to admit that they did something wrong and change what they were doing.

Frequently that is one of the biggest blocks to success in therapy.  The patient has to admit that something or somethings that they did in the past didn’t work and that is why they are not working for them in the present.  For example, men often say, “If I could just find a woman that….” my problems would be solved.  Group therapy is sometimes useful in removing this block because of the feedback that they get from other group members that this tactic is not working.  They may be able to give this man many different examples of how this didn’t work in this man’s everyday life and in the group itself.rp_Crookedfingersdignity.jpg

When it comes to control, the only one you can really control and thus change is yourself.  If you believe that things for you won’t change unless other people change, you are at a dead end.  In our society, we are often looking for someone to blame and yet if the person at fault won’t admit that then things won’t change.

In experiments, it is as often as important to find out what doesn’t work as it is to find out what works.  People often find this so hard to accept that they falsify consciously or unconsciously results.  For example, in a study on snake phobia, psychologists found people who admitted they were snake phobic and thus could be tested for effectiveness of the therapeutic procedure by facing a real live snake.  Real snake phobics wouldn’t do that and thus wouldn’t admit they were snake phobic because they were too afraid that that might happen.rp_300px-High_Anxiety_movie_poster.jpg

These scientists often feel that they have only made a significant contribution if they have found the cure that works which would only have worked in this situation because the experimental subjects they found were not “real” snake phobics.  They would have been hiding in the woodwork where I hid when they brought real snakes into the office hidden in shoe boxes.

Sometimes the greatest findings are made by mistake.  Something goes wrong in the experimental process and the scientists are in spite of this successful.  This can be true in therapy.  Often when a person is trying to find someone to love them, they are not aware that person really has to be him or herself.  How can you love yourself if you do things wrong and can’t forgive yourself, let alone find others to forgive you.  No many people think mistakenly that you have to be perfect for others to love you and you can’t admit that you have done anything wrong and get the love you need.rp_300px-Determinants_of_Forgiveness_Graphic.JPG

 

A Valentine To My Sister

Valentine's day countdown

Valentine’s day countdown (Photo credit: Julie K in Taiwan)

A Valentine to my sister.  You know who you are.  You were made, not born.  I thought I had no sisters, only brothers and I envied those who did.  I know sisters fight sometimes and envy what the other has.  This was true of us; but now we’ve formed a sister’s bond and I know you were chosen to be my sister, we were made to have this relationship, not born this way.

I thought the world was wonderful when I had two daughters of my own; but I didn’t know what the world had in store for me when I acquired a daughter by law.  I am so proud when I go anywhere with you three.  I know I have to share you with your own mother and with your mother-in-laws too.

Bonds can be made as well as created by birth.  We also have two wonderful sons by law and my husband (their father-in-law) appreciates them too.  We never lost a daughter or a son, we just gained another son or daughter.  We also greatly appreciate their parents for giving birth to them and for becoming part of our extended family.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The biggest blessing of all is the nieces and nephews, cousins, and shared grandchildren that came to be.  The more love is shared the more there is to share.

 

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First You must Be Able To Forgive Yourself Before You Can Forgive Someone Else

God Wants Me To Forgive Them!?! DVD Cover

God Wants Me To Forgive Them!?! DVD Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

You must be able to forgive yourself before you can forgive someone else.  How can you conceive of the need to forgive somebody else when you can’t conceive of needing it yourself or worse yet being able to offer it to others.  You have to know and understand that all of us have done some things for which we need to be forgiven and it may be easier to offer it to others than it is to offer it to ourselves.  Are you hard on yourself and while you may not be the Holiest person in the world, might you not be capable of having the title of being the most unforgiveable person in the world.  How self-sacrificing to offer to someone else what you, yourself, feel that you don’t deserve.  Then and only then can you relate to the need to forgive someone else.  When it comes to forgiveness, we all need it and realizing that we ourselves need it, we realize what it means to extend that to someone else besides ourselves.

Now there is another side to the story.  Some people feel very good about offering forgiveness to others when they think that they don’t need it themselves.  It can come from a “holier than thou” attitude.  These people can’t conceive of the need to forgive themselves even though they are happy to offer it to others.  Doing this shows how much better off they are than the other people whom they need to forgive.  “Who me?”  “I don’t need to forgive myself.  The fact that I can forgive others proves that I don’t need to be forgiven myself.”

The point to this story is that we need to be able to do both, focus on things we need to forgive ourselves for and things we need to forgive others for.  The best example of this perplexing problem is someone who has been physically or sexually abused as a child and this leads to them to doing this to children themselves.  Maybe you have not done this but you have made foolish possibly even egregous mistakes in the past which might have even caused a tragedy.  If we can’t accept responsibility for what we did and then forgive ourselves, this will stand in the way of truly being able to forgive someone else for what they have done to us.

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness (Photo credit: Celestine Chua)

No one is perfect or we wouldn’t be here.  Whether you believe in original sin or not.

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Who Are You? Does anybody Know?

It's Still Like a Secret

It’s Still Like a Secret (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The secret, sacred self is highly guarded.  There are lots of things about yourself that even you don’t know.  Life is a process of discovery.  When you let someone into your secret, sacred self (even yourself), you are very vulnerable.  It could be deadly.  People have committed suicide over feeling rejected, not only by others, but also by themselves.  What is so unacceptable about you.  What can’t you admit about yourself (even to yourself) that is so dangerous?

There used to be encounter groups of all kinds, often not run by qualified group therapists.  Confrontation was often the style of group process.  People got hurt mentally and physically when they had to admit the worse about themselves and some terrible deep dark secret was revealed.  Sometimes the person was released from the session to grin and bare it alone.  Reliable, reputable groups did not do this but were there when the sessions ended to handle the fall out.  They were there to catch the recent participants before they fell to far.

What is so unacceptable about us?  Who led us when we were little children to accept the fact that we were unacceptable for some reason and to keep it a secret.  Unconditional love handles the whole problem.  Is there any sin that can’t be forgiven?   We often build walls around ourselves which prevent people from getting too close and discovering our unacceptable secret sins.  Confession is good for the soul.  It might even be that what you did did not hurt anyone in spite of what you thought at the time.

There are astonishing stories about victims’ families that forgave the person who took their child or family member from them and even took the perpetrator into their own family circles.  If they can do that, what is holding you back?  What kind of conceit is it that says that you (among all the evil people in the world) do not qualify for forgiveness and for unconditional love?  Unconditional love is just that, unconditional love.

If you are religious, who are you to tell God that he can’t forgive you and accept you (and your shortcomings) among all people in creation?  Nuff said!  Move over; there has got to be somebody in worse shape than you.  If you don’t believe me, read something on satanic ritual abuse.  Second thought, don’t.  It can creep you out.

Psychotherapy‘s ultimate goal is to forge a relationship between the patient and the therapist that is strong enough to withstand any revelation to the therapist by the patient.  If the therapist has been in business of psychotherapy long enough, he or she has heard it all.  Nothing surprises him or her anymore let alone what you have to tell him or her!  This confession is often the real beginning of the therapeutic relationship, not the end.

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Psychosis Is Like A Bad Trip

PsychosisVonnegutCoverPsychosis is like having a bad trip on drugs but it never ends.  You are no longer in control of your own mind and you may not even know that you are not in your right mind.  You might do some crazy things that hurt others.  It used to might have even sent you to “prison” at an insane asylum.  Lock them up and throw the key away.

The closest I ever got recently was when I was  coming out of back surgery and having an IV for a pain pump.  I know I pushed it too much and time crawled by.  I just wanted it to wear off; but I knew I was “not in my right mind”.  What if I didn’t know and was that way anyway and had no control over my trip.  I apologized to several different people for what I might have said or did at that time.

At a very young age I had visual hallucinations from taking codeine cough srup for my asthma.  I saw orange and green bugs everywhere and they didn’t go away when my mom turned my light on.  When the codeine wore off, the hallucinations went away.  Seeing is believing.

Also this happens when someone like my father has Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia (my dad’s was Parkinson’s)and we have been more aware what that is like with all the coverage the victims and caregivers have been given.  Victims are frequently not themselves and don’t know it.  The frightening thing is that many victims (with our new ability to diagnosis this early) know what is going to happen to them.  Because these people are so hard to care for nursing homes have developed special locked Alzheimer’s units so they can’t get away and get lost not knowing who they are, where they are going, and where they came from.

People with paranoia can get very dangerous ideas.  They often feel that somebody is out to get them.  Voices in their heads tell them to do bad things. They may think that they have a special mission in this world and that they have to fulfill it no matter what they have to do.

When do we take away a person’s personal freedoms?  Why don’t we have places for them to go that recognize that they have special needs and meet them.  Diabetes is more accepted than psychosis.  It can be the person’s own personal hell.  When people are incapacitated because of these changes in their brain where do we put them?  Do we care for them.? There are illnesses of all kinds, some are socially acceptable.  These people get treated and others who do not get socially acceptable diseases are not.  We often allege that people suffering from mental illness want to be that way and that they choose their own path.

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