FORGIVENESS,
ACCEPTANCE & MOVING ON
How to Better
Recover from Hurts
Adapted from Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, and other...
John R. Williams, MMFT 2
Introduction
John R. Williams, MMFT 3
Objectives of this Presentation
1. Review religious ideas of forgiveness and problems
that can re...
John R. Williams, MMFT 4
Bible-Based Faith
Teaches Us to Forgive
• “Lord, how often
should I forgive
someone who sins
agai...
John R. Williams, MMFT 5
“Forgive or Not Forgive” Model
Invites Problems
Cheap Forgiveness
• “No Fault” shortcut
• Does no...
John R. Williams, MMFT 6
Common Phases in
Processing a Bad Experience
Grieving
losses is
also occurring
Reactions to
the o...
John R. Williams, MMFT 7
Healthy Recovery from a Hurt
Is a Learned Skill
Good recovery takes insight, skill and practice
1...
John R. Williams, MMFT 8
Evidence of Not Yet
Recovering from a Hurt
• Preoccupation with anger, resentment, guilt, sadness...
John R. Williams, MMFT 9
Costs of Prolonged
Anger & Resentment
1. Ties us to whatever and whoever hurt you, long past the
...
John R. Williams, MMFT 10
Alternative Ways of Viewing
Forgiveness
John R. Williams, MMFT 11
6 Factors in
Different Kinds of Forgiveness
Unconditional Conditional
Want Reconciliation No Rec...
John R. Williams, MMFT 12
Unconditional or Conditional
Unconditional
1. Asks nothing of the offender
• Though it may still...
John R. Williams, MMFT 13
Cooperative or One-Sided
Cooperative
1. Reciprocal and mutually
satisfying
2. The offender is re...
John R. Williams, MMFT 14
Wants Reconciliation or Not
Want to Reconcile
1. Hurt person wants to
restore the former bond or...
John R. Williams, MMFT 15
Acceptance & Forgiveness:
What It Is
1. May be unilateral pardon, or two-sided effort
2. Giving ...
John R. Williams, MMFT 16
Acceptance & Forgiveness:
What It Is Not
1. Condoning what the offender did or minimizing
the in...
John R. Williams, MMFT 17
Steps towards Acceptance &
Forgiveness
John R. Williams, MMFT 18
14 Steps towards Full Acceptance
& Forgiveness, Part 1
1. Clarify what you feel about what happe...
John R. Williams, MMFT 19
14 Steps towards Full Acceptance
& Forgiveness, Part 2
(9.)Humanize the offender
(10.) Consider ...
John R. Williams, MMFT 20
1. Clarify What You Feel
about What Happened
Recognize how you feel about the offense and what i...
John R. Williams, MMFT 21
Exercise: Write Your Grievance Story
1. Write down what happened during the offense
Include:
• W...
John R. Williams, MMFT 22
2. Take Responsibility for Your Part
in Your Distress
Recognize
that your
distress now
mainly
co...
John R. Williams, MMFT 23
Blame & Victim Story
Our grievance story
• Used to win
sympathy and
support
• Theme of having no...
John R. Williams, MMFT 24
3. Examine Fears of Letting It Go
Look at why you might be afraid
to accept and forgive
1. Anger...
John R. Williams, MMFT 25
Exercise: Reaction Reflection
1. Divide a sheet of paper into 3 columns, labeled “Thoughts,”
“Fe...
John R. Williams, MMFT 26
4. Commit to Do What Is
Needed to Feel Better
Protect yourself from further damage and focus on ...
John R. Williams, MMFT 27
5. Clarify Forgiveness &
Acceptance as Options
1. Clear up any misconceptions about forgiveness
...
John R. Williams, MMFT 28
Exercise: Forgiveness Declaration
1. Ask to meet with the person for a moment
2. Briefly tell of...
John R. Williams, MMFT 29
Exercise: Pretend to Forgive
1. Sit with an empty chair facing you
2. Imagine the offending pers...
John R. Williams, MMFT 30
Exercise: Decide Your
Apology Language
Decide what kind of apologies you require and let the
coo...
John R. Williams, MMFT 31
(6.) Practice Positive Coping When
Thinking of the Offense
1. Need to reduce stressful
reactions...
John R. Williams, MMFT 32
Exercise: Heart Meditation
1. Sit in a quiet place where you will be undisturbed
2. Breathe deep...
John R. Williams, MMFT 33
(7.) Question Unrealistic
Demands and Expectations
Part of your distress may arise from
demandin...
John R. Williams, MMFT 34
Exercise: Turning
“Musts” into “Wants”
1. Listen to your repetitive thoughts about the painful
e...
John R. Williams, MMFT 35
(8.) Take the Offense Less Personally
1. Pain is
universal
• Details are
personal but
not suffer...
John R. Williams, MMFT 36
(9.) Humanize the Offender
1. Look for exceptions to
your picture of them as
selfish or cruel
• ...
John R. Williams, MMFT 37
Exercise: Through Parental Eyes
1. Sit quietly, breathing deeply
2. Think of your offender as a ...
John R. Williams, MMFT 38
(10.) Consider Your Own Mistakes &
Contribution to the Problem
1. Look honestly at your own part...
John R. Williams, MMFT 39
Exercise: Ask the Offender
for Forgiveness
1. Ask to meet with the
offender, even for a short
ti...
John R. Williams, MMFT 40
(11.) Decide on Your New Relationship
to the Offender
Carefully decide what kind of
relationship...
John R. Williams, MMFT 41
Exercise: Reorienting
the Relationship
1. Divide a sheet of paper in two, labeling one side, “Gi...
John R. Williams, MMFT 42
(12.) Focus on Positives: Appreciate,
Improve, Connect & Protect 2
Connect
• Cherish loved ones
...
John R. Williams, MMFT 43
(13.) Seek to Meet Your Original Goals
Look for other ways to get your needs met, in spite of th...
John R. Williams, MMFT 44
(12.) Focus on Positives: Appreciate,
Improve, Connect & Protect 1
Affirm the good that is stron...
John R. Williams, MMFT 45
Exercise: Reclaim Your Intention
1. Consider what goals you were
pursuing when the offense
occur...
John R. Williams, MMFT 46
14. Create a Victorious
Survivor Story
Edit the story of your hurt to remind yourself of the her...
John R. Williams, MMFT 47
Exercise: Creating a Survivor Story
Retell your story with yourself as the star, naming your ori...
John R. Williams, MMFT 48
Exercise: Emotional Layers Letter
Write to someone:
1. Anger & Blame
• I’m angry that—
• I hate ...
John R. Williams, MMFT 49
Resources
• Steven Stosny, You Don't Have to Take it Anymore: Turn Your
Resentful, Angry, or Emo...
John R. Williams, MMFT 50
John Williams, MMFT
• John.Coach1@gmail.com
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  • EXAMPLES FROM FATHER, ETC.
  • Cheap Forgiveness is premature, unreflective, can excuse too much, cave into demands that “you should forgive me,” and leads to feelings of being trapped, and using things to medicate suppressed pain
    Inability to Forgive leads to endless anger, resentment and stresses the body and mind
  • This process is going on at the same time as grieving the loss
    One is recovering from the loss and the other is reacting to the offender; for example, if your young child broke a vase, you would be mainly be grieving the loss of the vase, and would quickly let go of reactions to the offender
  • Example of survivors of a crash airplane landing: Some kiss the ground and embrace loved ones, while some get on the phone to call their lawyer
    Consider people who have made peace with what happened to them, how they are: “I chose to become better instead of bitter,” etc.
    Those who have been fired many times are more skilled at recovering than those who have not
  • UC knows that resentment is related to the very origins of evil—it is dangerous
  • EXAMPLES
    Father helping the Japanese police torturer to escape Korea unharmed;
    The man who was stabbed and blinded as a boy, visiting and caring for his assailant in prison;
    Nelson Mandela, cooperating with the white dominated government;
    David and Isabel Byrne, forgiving the murderer of their daughter
  • This is like extending love and having the other reciprocate
    Makes it easier to extend more love
    This exchange of love is satisfying for both
    Completed
    One sided
  • See Quotes sheets for definitions
    4. May have to forgive daily if the pain comes up that often, as with an affair
  • This is a combination of various experts and researchers. It provides some structure to what often can seem like being lost at sea, trying to approach acceptance and forgiveness.
    When we recover well, we do all of these things automatically
    So it can be helpful to demystify the process and imitate more deliberately when we are stuck
  • Skipping this leads to “cheap” forgiveness—not processing the anger, trying to quickly dismiss your injury to please others, to please own expectations of being a “good” and forgiving person. This is easily done in abusive relationships between spouses or parents and children.
  • This step and exercise plus step 13 can be enough!
  • Anger is addictive
  • This step and exercise plus step 13 can be enough!
  • This also may include the idea of seeking to conform to your own values of forgiving, to follow Father’s teaching
  • Helpful when the hurt is too recent or serious to even consider forgiveness
    Gives you a chance to feel something other than anger, self-pity or the desire for revenge, and may open a way to consider other ways of dealing with your hurt and anger
  • Even deep breathing while thinking of the offense is helpful
  • Evil rules the world, and God’s love does not control the world. Suffering is to be expected, and God suffers, too
    Don’t waste energy being police handing out tickets for violators of rules that they didn’t agree to (or even if they did)
    Examples:
    My child should be grateful to her parents
    Laws should be applied fairly
    I must be treated respectfully
    A grandparent should care about his grandchildren
    Innocent people should not be punished
  • Father: Recognize that the person was driven to compromise their original nature by pain, lack of love, ignorance, fear, etc. (“they don’t know what they are doing”)
    Think of God’s suffering as much greater and so your suffering is not so bad: even when being tortured to death or when he lost Heung Jin Nim
    Offer up your suffering to indemnify past sins of our ancestors; interpret it as necessary to reverse offenses that our ancestors or other group members or even you committed in the past
    My own recovery from infertility was helped by believing in intergenerational “reaping and sowing,” that my ancestors may have killed a family’s lineage off, so I inherited the restitution debt
  • Father: Appreciate the offender apart from his offense: being grateful to Christians for caring for God for hundreds of years when he could not
    Think of God’s great love for the offender and how He looks at him, and how the offender’s family loves him
    Think of the offender’s original nature and how God and his parents saw him when he was a child
    Recognize that the person was driven to compromise their original nature by pain, lack of love, ignorance, fear, etc. (“they don’t know what they are doing”)
  • This may not apply to situations with children or others who are truly innocent; most situations with adults have shared responsibility
    Father: Take responsibility for your own limitations that led to the offender’s suffering or resentment: failures of Christianity led to Communism and its viciousness, his late appearance led to his persecution at hands of Christians
    We may blame ourselves as a more comfortable alternative to blaming the other
  • This helps to free us from our involvement with them, and deal with our own guilt over the poor way we may have reacted to their hurting us
  • Father: Appreciate the offender apart from his offense: being grateful to Christians for caring for God for hundreds of years when he could not
    Think of God’s great love for the offender and how He looks at him, and how the offender’s family loves him
    Think of the offender’s original nature and how God and his parents saw him when he was a child
    Recognize that the person was driven to compromise their original nature by pain, lack of love, ignorance, fear, etc. (“they don’t know what they are doing”)
  • Connect
    Ask for advice on how to cope better
    Don’t lean on others too much
  • Recall the response of some survivors of a plane crash
  • Father: See the hand of God behind the suffering, that He is testing you and showing how strong you are in faith, that He will open up new possibilities through this difficulty: Father saw new opportunities will open after Danbury prison, or as he was led of in chains to Heung Nam, he envisioned that he would make many new followers there
  • Forgiveness, Acceptance & Moving On: How to Better Recover from Hurts

    1. 1. FORGIVENESS, ACCEPTANCE & MOVING ON How to Better Recover from Hurts Adapted from Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, and other resources
    2. 2. John R. Williams, MMFT 2 Introduction
    3. 3. John R. Williams, MMFT 3 Objectives of this Presentation 1. Review religious ideas of forgiveness and problems that can result 2. Describe successful recovery from a painful experience 3. Help define forgiveness and acceptance and differentiate between different kinds 4. Review 14 steps and elements of successful recovery and forgiveness
    4. 4. John R. Williams, MMFT 4 Bible-Based Faith Teaches Us to Forgive • “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No!” Jesus replied, “seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22 • “‘I will forgive you one hundred times.’ This is the fatherly heart.” Sun Myung Moon Divine Forgiveness • Unconditional, never withheld • Grants endless “second chances” • Made as a decision, not by feelings • Expresses unconditional compassion for the offender and welcomes reconciliation • Assumes that all people are equally prone to sin • Based on how you have been forgiven undeservedly
    5. 5. John R. Williams, MMFT 5 “Forgive or Not Forgive” Model Invites Problems Cheap Forgiveness • “No Fault” shortcut • Does not face your real pain • Does not admit your needs • May not hold offender accountable • May enable the offender to repeat the offense • Does not yield insight and growth • Leaves you feeling trapped Inability to Forgive • If you cannot find enough compassion • If you insist on an apology • If you want restitution • If you don’t want the offender in your life • If you can’t “forget” • Leaves you resentful, stressed and guilt-ridden
    6. 6. John R. Williams, MMFT 6 Common Phases in Processing a Bad Experience Grieving losses is also occurring Reactions to the offense and offender Adapted from Dr. Sidney B. Simon & Suzanne Simon
    7. 7. John R. Williams, MMFT 7 Healthy Recovery from a Hurt Is a Learned Skill Good recovery takes insight, skill and practice 1. Can think about the offense without getting upset 2. Able to name gains: • Lessons learned, • What is now more meaningful, • Greater coping skills, • Deepened faith in God, • Greater compassion for others • May even be grateful for gains 3. Enjoys life in spite of injury • “You hurt me, but I have forgiven you, and released myself from the hurt, and am willing to work things out with you.” • Or, “You hurt me, but I have released myself from you, and I don’t want you in my life.”
    8. 8. John R. Williams, MMFT 8 Evidence of Not Yet Recovering from a Hurt • Preoccupation with anger, resentment, guilt, sadness • Getting emotionally upset or physically distressed just to think about the offense • Obsessing about the offense more than the good things in your life • Telling the story about it over and over in your mind • It gets in the way of advancing in some area in your life
    9. 9. John R. Williams, MMFT 9 Costs of Prolonged Anger & Resentment 1. Ties us to whatever and whoever hurt you, long past the actual event • Relives the injury and prolongs suffering • Makes you powerless, chained to what you have no control over 2. Stresses the mind and body • Fosters depression, tension, heart disease and lower immune function 3. Prevents real healing and recovery • Restricts responses, prevents flexible coping • Pushes friends and family away
    10. 10. John R. Williams, MMFT 10 Alternative Ways of Viewing Forgiveness
    11. 11. John R. Williams, MMFT 11 6 Factors in Different Kinds of Forgiveness Unconditional Conditional Want Reconciliation No Reconciliation Cooperative One Sided
    12. 12. John R. Williams, MMFT 12 Unconditional or Conditional Unconditional 1. Asks nothing of the offender • Though it may still require them to earn trust 2. Expression of compassion and desire for connection 3. Or, the opposite—may have little affection and want to simply disengage from the offender Conditional 1. Based on the offender meeting certain requirements • May want signs of remorse, taking responsibility, making restitution, etc.
    13. 13. John R. Williams, MMFT 13 Cooperative or One-Sided Cooperative 1. Reciprocal and mutually satisfying 2. The offender is repentant and makes effort to facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation • Their actions invite and trust and further investment of heart One-Sided 1. The offender may be unwilling to cooperate • Unrepentant 2. The offender may be unable • Absent or impaired Also called Acceptance
    14. 14. John R. Williams, MMFT 14 Wants Reconciliation or Not Want to Reconcile 1. Hurt person wants to restore the former bond or create a new friendship 2. Chooses to believe in the ability of the offender to change and willing to remain vulnerable 3. Assumes there is more to gain than to lose Not Want to Reconcile 1. Assumes there is more to lose than to gain • Offender may seem too untrustworthy and unsafe 2. Relationship does not seems worth investment • May change if offender is highly cooperative
    15. 15. John R. Williams, MMFT 15 Acceptance & Forgiveness: What It Is 1. May be unilateral pardon, or two-sided effort 2. Giving up resentment and revenge, while possibly seeking a fair resolution 3. Separate from trusting, trust may still need to be earned 4. A gift to yourself, if no one else, to prevent further damage from the offense 5. Reduction of the pain when remembering the offense 6. A process and may need to be repeated frequently 7. “Peace and understanding that come from blaming less… and changing your grievance story”
    16. 16. John R. Williams, MMFT 16 Acceptance & Forgiveness: What It Is Not 1. Condoning what the offender did or minimizing the injury 2. Giving up the need for restitution 3. Empowering the offender and making yourself weak and vulnerable 4. Forgetting what happened 5. Automatically meaning you want reconciliation 6. The same as trust 7. Necessarily asking nothing of the offender 8. What anyone can demand of you 9. Simply done once and for all
    17. 17. John R. Williams, MMFT 17 Steps towards Acceptance & Forgiveness
    18. 18. John R. Williams, MMFT 18 14 Steps towards Full Acceptance & Forgiveness, Part 1 1. Clarify what you feel about what happen 2. Take responsibility for your part in your distress 3. Examine fears of letting it go 4. Commit to do what is needed to feel better 5. Clarify acceptance and forgiveness as options (6.) Practice positive coping when thinking of the offense (7.) Give up unrealistic rules and expectations (8.) Take the offense less personally Adapted from Dr. Fred Luskin and Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D.
    19. 19. John R. Williams, MMFT 19 14 Steps towards Full Acceptance & Forgiveness, Part 2 (9.)Humanize the offender (10.) Consider your own mistakes and contribution to the problem (11.) Decide on your new relationship to the offender (12.) Focus on positives: Appreciate, improve, connect and protect (13.) Seek to meet your original goals 14. Create a victorious survivor story Adapted from Dr. Fred Luskin and Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D.
    20. 20. John R. Williams, MMFT 20 1. Clarify What You Feel about What Happened Recognize how you feel about the offense and what is wrong 1. Allow yourself to admit all your feelings and thoughts •Take all your emotions seriously as useful messages 2. Acknowledge that the situation is wrong or hurtful in some way •Describe what aspects of the situation are a problem 3. Tell your story •To one or two trusted persons
    21. 21. John R. Williams, MMFT 21 Exercise: Write Your Grievance Story 1. Write down what happened during the offense Include: • Who was involved • How it made you feel • What you don’t like about it and why • What you want to do about it 2. Keep it as a reference for a later step
    22. 22. John R. Williams, MMFT 22 2. Take Responsibility for Your Part in Your Distress Recognize that your distress now mainly comes from your reactions to the offense, not the offense itself The situation is in the past, but how you have chosen to respond is ruling the present • “Renting far too much space in your mind” to whom or what hurt you • Blaming the offender for your current unhappiness • Mentally replaying the injury over and over • Tensing the body and draining your energy with anger and resentment • Using the hurt as an excuse to hurt others or neglect important matters or other actions that damage your self-respect
    23. 23. John R. Williams, MMFT 23 Blame & Victim Story Our grievance story • Used to win sympathy and support • Theme of having no power and being the victim of the situation • Sense of being personally targeted with unfairness and wrong 1. The offender is the main character, not you • As the victim, you just highlight the villain’s power 2. Blames the offender for any unhelpful reactions and their consequences • Justifies and excuses poor coping strategies • “I can be mean because people have been mean to me” 3. Fiercely defended and protected
    24. 24. John R. Williams, MMFT 24 3. Examine Fears of Letting It Go Look at why you might be afraid to accept and forgive 1. Anger tends to be healthy only for a short time, like pain •Good to prompt action to prevent or correct a wrong 2. Over time, becomes crippling like chronic pain •Controls you, restricts choices and makes you sick 3. Holding onto anger and resentment can feel good • Energizing • Feels powerful and protective when you are feeling weak • Prevents feeling sadness, guilt, and weariness, as part of the healing process
    25. 25. John R. Williams, MMFT 25 Exercise: Reaction Reflection 1. Divide a sheet of paper into 3 columns, labeled “Thoughts,” “Feelings,” and “Actions” 2. Under the proper heading, list all the thoughts you have about what happened to you, the feelings, and the actions you have taken in regard to the offense 3. Think about each item: How effective has it been to reduce your distress?
    26. 26. John R. Williams, MMFT 26 4. Commit to Do What Is Needed to Feel Better Protect yourself from further damage and focus on what will help you heal, recover and move on •You cannot change the past, but you can have a better present •Being free is more important that being “right,” getting even or punishing the offender •Resentment and anger may feel protective, strong and in control, but forgiveness creates real strength and freedom •Only you can release the injury’s—and offender’s—grip on your life •Don’t wait for apologies or the offender changing •Do it for your sake, if not for others
    27. 27. John R. Williams, MMFT 27 5. Clarify Forgiveness & Acceptance as Options 1. Clear up any misconceptions about forgiveness 2. Aim for unconditional • Don’t let it depend on certain conditions to be met 3. Assume you don’t want reconciliation • But consider if it were possible within certain conditions 4. Aim for one sided • But consider if offender might cooperate and if so, what you would want them to do
    28. 28. John R. Williams, MMFT 28 Exercise: Forgiveness Declaration 1. Ask to meet with the person for a moment 2. Briefly tell of your view of other person’s offense 3. Declare that you forgive them 4. If the other person begins to deny the offense or defend what they did, politely state that you are not interested in debating, but rather that you don’t hold it against them 5. Thank them for listening and leave
    29. 29. John R. Williams, MMFT 29 Exercise: Pretend to Forgive 1. Sit with an empty chair facing you 2. Imagine the offending person sitting in that chair 3. Pretend you have decided to forgive them 4. Imagine telling the person you forgive them, or say it out loud 5. Imagine the person’s positive reaction • Softening, apologizing 6. Sit and feel your own response • Your anger and pain may have decreased a little
    30. 30. John R. Williams, MMFT 30 Exercise: Decide Your Apology Language Decide what kind of apologies you require and let the cooperative offender know 1. Remorse: “I am sorry (about how you were hurt).” 2. Responsibility: “I was wrong.” 3. Restitution: “What can I do to make it right?” 4. Repentance: “(Here’s how) I won’t do that again.” 5. Request (for forgiveness): “Will you forgive me?” Adapted from Gary Chapman
    31. 31. John R. Williams, MMFT 31 (6.) Practice Positive Coping When Thinking of the Offense 1. Need to reduce stressful reactions to the thought of what happened • Prepares you to forgive and let go • Hard to choose a new response if your “fight or flight” reaction gets triggered 2. Use practices to feel calm and safe while recalling the upsetting situation • Prayer • Distraction • Relaxation • Visualization • Meditation
    32. 32. John R. Williams, MMFT 32 Exercise: Heart Meditation 1. Sit in a quiet place where you will be undisturbed 2. Breathe deeply, with eyes closed, until your body relaxes 3. Think of someone or something that represents love to you, and welcome that love into your body for a moment 4. Now recall the upsetting event, noticing the reactions in your body 5. While holding that bad memory still in your mind, reach out to the image representing love and let it again fill your body, breathing deeply and slowly for a few minutes 6. Release the bad memory, and dwell in the love 7. Slowly return to the present 8. Note if recalling the offense seems less disturbing
    33. 33. John R. Williams, MMFT 33 (7.) Question Unrealistic Demands and Expectations Part of your distress may arise from demanding that people and life give what they cannot or choose not to 1. Give up trying to enforce “unenforceable rules” and expectations •Recognize “shoulds,” “musts” and “need to’s” outside of your control •Convert them into the hopes and desires they are 2. Decide to accept life and people as they actually are • Remind yourself that you can hope for good things and work hard to get them—but not expect or demand them 3. Give up wanting the past to be different
    34. 34. John R. Williams, MMFT 34 Exercise: Turning “Musts” into “Wants” 1. Listen to your repetitive thoughts about the painful experience and write them down 2. Pull out your underlying beliefs, expectations and “rules” for life that were violated by the offense • “People should be fair” • “A mother-in-law must show respect for her son-in-law” 3. Turn these demands into statements of preference, using, “I’d like,” “I want,” “I wish,” “I hope” • “I’d like people to be fair, but I can’t expect that” • “I want my mother-in-law to show respect for me, but I can’t control what she does”
    35. 35. John R. Williams, MMFT 35 (8.) Take the Offense Less Personally 1. Pain is universal • Details are personal but not suffering • Consider how your situation could have been even worse 2. Frame the offender’s behavior as more about them than you • They were struggling with old wounds • They lashed out less at you as a person than at what you represented 3. Accept that you may be paying for others’ offenses • Committed by your group or ancestors • The harm was inevitably coming to anyone in your position, as restitution
    36. 36. John R. Williams, MMFT 36 (9.) Humanize the Offender 1. Look for exceptions to your picture of them as selfish or cruel • Look for good they have done • Imagine how their family sees them and how they treat their loved ones • Imagine them younger and more innocent 2. Consider any small resemblance to yourself • When you have hurt others either accidentally or intentionally • When you have received a pardon that you did not expect or deserve
    37. 37. John R. Williams, MMFT 37 Exercise: Through Parental Eyes 1. Sit quietly, breathing deeply 2. Think of your offender as a child 3. Imagine how their parents loved them and looked at them with hope and joy 4. Visualize that child earnestly striving and achieving something good 5. Picture them being wounded by painful experiences 4. If you can, imagine how God might see them
    38. 38. John R. Williams, MMFT 38 (10.) Consider Your Own Mistakes & Contribution to the Problem 1. Look honestly at your own part in how you were hurt • Enabling the offender • Not heeding warning signs • Not preparing better • Failing the offender in some way 2. Challenge irrational self-blame • Over that which you had no control • Taking on the offender’s responsibility 3. Admit any guilt over how you reacted to the offense • Retaliation • Selfishness • Neglecting others 4. Forgive yourself for your own failings
    39. 39. John R. Williams, MMFT 39 Exercise: Ask the Offender for Forgiveness 1. Ask to meet with the offender, even for a short time 2. Briefly tell them your view of their offense 3. Apologize for any negative attitudes you have held towards them • Anger, resentment, bitterness, vengeance, etc. 4. Ask for their forgiveness 5. If they begin to deny the offense or defend it, politely state that you are not interested in debating • Instead, you want forgiveness for the bad feelings you have been holding towards them • Repeat your request for forgiveness 6. Thank them and leave
    40. 40. John R. Williams, MMFT 40 (11.) Decide on Your New Relationship to the Offender Carefully decide what kind of relationship you want •Look at the offender apart from their offense, weighing the good against the bad •Honor the blessings •Protect yourself from further abuse • May decide you love but cannot trust • May include restitution and other conditions to be met before you can restore the bond
    41. 41. John R. Williams, MMFT 41 Exercise: Reorienting the Relationship 1. Divide a sheet of paper in two, labeling one side, “Gifts,” and the other, “Hurts” 2. List the ways the offender has brought blessings to your life on one side 3. List on the other side how they have caused harm, or pose risks 4. Use this lists to decide what degree of reconciliation you seek, if any 5. Also determine what boundaries, if any, you will enforce, even as temporary conditions
    42. 42. John R. Williams, MMFT 42 (12.) Focus on Positives: Appreciate, Improve, Connect & Protect 2 Connect • Cherish loved ones more and invest time • Reach out for support in recovering • Don’t lean on others too much Protect • Focus on those who need you • Help alleviate the conditions that hurt you, to prevent others’ suffering Adapted from Steven Stosny, Ph.D.
    43. 43. John R. Williams, MMFT 43 (13.) Seek to Meet Your Original Goals Look for other ways to get your needs met, in spite of the hurtful situation The offense involved not getting what you originally wanted or getting what you didn’t want •Don’t overreact to the injury and give up on your goal •Reclaiming your original intention gives power to move forward •Can be related to reversing or overcoming the loss or harm •Look for how God might be working through this to provide new opportunities amidst the suffering
    44. 44. John R. Williams, MMFT 44 (12.) Focus on Positives: Appreciate, Improve, Connect & Protect 1 Affirm the good that is stronger than this difficulty • “A life well lived is your best ‘revenge’” Appreciate • Recognize how others have helped you • Be grateful that it was not worse • Acknowledge how you have grown as a person and any other benefits you have received Improve • Use the difficulty to become a better person Adapted from Steven Stosny, Ph.D.
    45. 45. John R. Williams, MMFT 45 Exercise: Reclaim Your Intention 1. Consider what goals you were pursuing when the offense occurred 2. Compose a statement of what you wanted • Personal: “I wanted…” • In positive terms; not as what you didn’t want • Expressed as a wish, not a demand, free of anger or self righteousness • Focused on changeable things, like behavior: “treat me respectfully,” not “care more about me” • Get specific, using names and descriptive words: “I wanted to make a warm and productive friendship with Lee”
    46. 46. John R. Williams, MMFT 46 14. Create a Victorious Survivor Story Edit the story of your hurt to remind yourself of the heroic choice to accept, forgive and overcome Cast yourself as the hero and point to how you have prevailed or are prevailing over the difficulties •Focus on coping—its challenges and successes •Emphasize what is means the most to you •Reinterpret the experience in terms of how God will use the difficulty to do greater things
    47. 47. John R. Williams, MMFT 47 Exercise: Creating a Survivor Story Retell your story with yourself as the star, naming your original intention, and let the difficult situation highlight your strength 1. “I was trying to… 2. “I am prevailing over or coping with the situation by… 3. “Because of this challenge: • I have learned… • I have become a better person because… • I appreciate others who helped me by… • I appreciate even more such things as… • I see how strong I am because… • I realize I need to learn… • I want to do something about… • I want to better protect… • I want to help others by…”
    48. 48. John R. Williams, MMFT 48 Exercise: Emotional Layers Letter Write to someone: 1. Anger & Blame • I’m angry that— • I hate it when— • I’m fed up with— • I resent— 2. Hurt & Sadness • It hurt me when— • I felt sad when— • I feel hurt that— • I am disappointed that— 3. Fear & Insecurity • I was afraid that— • I get scared when— • I am worried that— • I’m afraid that I— 4. Regret & Responsibility • I’m sorry that— • I didn’t mean to— • I may be to blame for— • Please forgive me for— 5. Wants • All I ever want(ed)— • I want you to— • I want(ed)— • I deserve— 6. Appreciation & Forgiveness • I appreciate— • I realize— • I forgive you for— • I love you for—
    49. 49. John R. Williams, MMFT 49 Resources • Steven Stosny, You Don't Have to Take it Anymore: Turn Your Resentful, Angry, or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate, Loving One (New York: Free Press, 2007). • Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002) • Janis Abrahms Spring, How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, The Freedom Not To (New York: HarperCollins, 2004)
    50. 50. John R. Williams, MMFT 50 John Williams, MMFT • John.Coach1@gmail.com

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