Blog 118. Therapy Part H. Therapy: The Importance Of Judgement, Compassion and Forgiveness – and Forgiveness In Relationships.
(If you find this informative helpful, then please find the donate options at the end of this blog in order to ensure this website’s future. Thank you.)
During the process of therapy, as clients unpack and make sense of their issues, often an important spin off occurs. Clients quickly learn to realise that just like them, other people may have unresolved issues or indeed issues that might make them behave in certain ways, but that without fully understanding the bigger picture it is easy to jump to conclusions – to judge or even discriminate. In other words, as therapy evolves, it becomes evident never to judge a book by its cover – especially as we would certainly not be happy if this were ever to be done to us.
And as clients learn the value of judging themselves and others less, another learning emerges – compassion, compassion for ourselves and for others.
Often therapy allows clients to realise that sometimes as we grow up, dreadful things can and do happen – and that people react differently to different situations. And sometimes how they react or act out what happened may seem odd to us. It may be shocking and it may even seem utterly unacceptable. But until we understand exactly what happened and how it happened and what the particular family issues – we cannot and should not judge.
Most importantly, sometimes trauma can create shame and that shame can be internalised and acted upon accordingly – resulting in behaviour that recreates more shame. Dr Edith Eva Eger in her book called “ The Choice”, or in some of her interviews, explains how she become her worst own enemy as she brought shame upon herself by not thinking she was worthy of anything else.
Anyone having experienced trauma, abuse, and so on, may then choose to act out this behaviour. The behaviour may be insidious and it may not even relate directly to what happened to them. This usually occurs if they were left feeling degraded or unworthy. It usually results in the victim finding scenarios that underline what they feel about themselves. They may even begin to find ways of abusing themselves via destructive relationship choices, repeat abuse, addictions, debt, and so on.
Realising how this may relate back to early trauma is not always obvious to others, and certainly not always to the victims. And sadly, like with many people, the obvious route to therapy may not have dawned on them and they may even land up abusing others in the process – until that is, the penny drops and they either find support groups or head into therapy and so on. And then finding the right therapist may of course not be that easy either.
Most importantly however, is that usually any negative or destructive behaviour in whatever form it takes – is a cry for help. This is why, when people act in ways that may seem shocking, inappropriate or irresponsible to us – we should still at all times try to understand why or how they chose to do so.
Because as human beings develop we should be able to adapt our behaviour to help one another and indeed, the next generation cope better, rather than leaving them struggling and battling emotionally. And through better education hopefully we may be able to do this.
But also, the reasons people often act out what happened to them relates back to childhood – but more importantly, the reasons often lie within the dynamics of the family system.
How each family is structured or set up, and indeed, set up over many generations is usually due to what has happened to its various members, as well as, their beliefs, their expectations, the culture and so on, which then determines how the next generation reacts or behaves.
And this may also be determined by the support each member either does or does not receive.
Also, each family has it’s own moral compass. What is expected or accepted either of the individual or each sibling via the family dynamic, or family system – is set up by families within a culture or society.
And indeed, if there is any form of abuse and if the family allows this abuse to continue, then it may seem as if the abuse is acceptable and even normal. As a result, the behaviour could continue and get passed onto the next generation, if not addressed.
What is accepted in one family may not be acceptable in another. However in some cultures and in some societies what may seem irregular may indeed be recognised, accepted and never questioned.
As I pointed out earlier, sometimes issues can be carried down from one generation down to another. And each family is different and what they ‘carry’ is different. And what each person needs to heal is different. This is why we can never really compare one person’s issues or family with another person’s issues or family, and so on.
But also, once we begin to understand that behaviour and expectations can be held either consciously or unconsciously within each family, and passed from one generation to another, then it becomes more evident just how much our families can affect our behaviour or indeed, the choices we make.
And then, if a particular family member decides to question a certain inherited behaviour and if they then head off to say, therapy – they may be able to stop and heal any destructive behaviour from continuing down to the next generation.
If however you are experiencing blocks and if no matter what you do, you find yourself stuck – then another alternative is to do Family Constellation Work. This is highly recommend as it’s a useful tool leading to a deeper understanding of how families are set up, the reasons behind particular behaviour in a family and why a block may be occurring. A ‘block’ may be any issue that is stopping you from moving forward: depression, addictions, relationships, money, careers and so on. This is valuable work and it can create a shift in your understanding if not in your life as well.
One of the most important lessons that we can ever realise, is that no matter what happened to us, what was said or done to us – we have a choice:
We can either learn and grow from the experience or we can choose to become its victim. And often situations although horrendous can force us to grow. And who we become – can far outweigh the trauma experienced if that is, we are able to see the gift within.
Via my client observations, it was always clear that, the full extent of one’s growth, can only ever be achieved if there is a complete and unmitigated forgiveness of both the self and any other.
This level of forgiveness can and may include:
- Forgiveness of the self – and for any guilt or feeling that it was your fault,
- The person involved in the abuse, bullying, wrong doing, and so on.
- Forgiving the person responsible for what they may have done to a loved one, family member friend and so on.
If this level of forgiveness does NOT occur – then a client usually becomes a prisoner of the event and will sadly remain forever tied to the abuser, addict and so on.
If this ramification is not realised, it may begin to feel like there is an invisible tie or thread between the abuser and victim. This is not helpful to either party – as it will allow the abuse to continue – as the abuser will maintain their power over the victim or whoever is connected to the victim.
This is why true forgiveness has nothing to do with what the abuser, how they may act or what they may feel. It just doesn’t matter. Forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees them from corrosive resentment and anger.
Unfortunately, forgiveness isn’t always easy. It may sometimes seem impossible to ever achieve. But doing this, takes hard work and sometimes it can take many years to reach a level of understanding that even the worse kind of events can create a shift, which although difficult to understand and difficult to live with, especially if there has been a loss, yet it may force or at least nudge a growth in unexpected ways. Or the experience may help others in similar circumstances.
And sometimes the outcome lies in at least NOT becoming a victim which may in itself be the hardest part of this understanding or growth.
Like with anything, just as a you think you have reached a point where the pain is less, a memory or something happens to rekindle all the feelings that may invoke another wave of sadness, loss, fury, rage and so on. This is to be expected, until finally the moment passes and another level of forgiveness is managed.
This cycle, a wave after wave of painful emotion, may continue until finally the emotions begin to slowly subside. But this is why in order to reach this point, a massive amount of courage, and persistent dedication may be required, even if the benefits this process offers – isn’t initially recognised or fully understood.
But do not give up: Once forgiveness occurs, it can bring the forgiver peace of mind and an enormous sense of relief and a freedom from all corrosive resentment and anger. And in most cases this feeling is worth striving for.
Years of experience and knowledge has shown me that real healing only ever occurs when a victim is finally prepared to humbly ‘get on their knees, in order to ‘thank’ the ‘abuser’ for the lesson and growth involved. And even if this happens symbolically, the gesture remains very powerful nevertheless.
Doing this, begins the unlocking of any patterns or behaviour that may be still be tied to the abuse or negative circumstances. As any victim begins to let go of the need for attracting any drama, stalkers, destructive relationships/friendships, money issues and so on, or indeed any grief that may keep them tied to the abuse.
And this is when true compassion for the self and the abuser, the abandoner etc, begins. And a realisation that we are all souls helping one another learn lessons emerges. Then once the lesson is over, we can move on to use the lesson to our advantage, to help others or it may help us tackle the next lesson, and so on.
And often this is how we find an inner peace and this is how we move on. Fingers crossed.
Forgiveness in relationships:
Life can be stressful and so much can happen that over time many issues that seemed so important – can easily be forgotten. Small things are forgiven and life moves on.
However, when it comes for example, to an affair or a betrayal, like abuse and so on, usually it never gets forgotten. It may be forgiven – but not forgotten.
Time may soften the pain but the memory often lingers. And sadly, when trust is broken, trying to repair it can take a lot of hard work and commitment from both parties. And both parties are usually required to take responsibility with regards the role they both played – as it takes two to tango in any relationship.
I have already written about the complexities of having an affair so I won’t do it here. It may be ‘suffice to say’ that forgiveness is never about forgetting or letting anyone off the hook.
However a partner may be an addict and this could create havoc and loads of misery within the family and opening one’s heart to forgiveness may be very very hard indeed.
However, if you find that it is too much to ask and you cannot live with someone who betrayed you, instead of staying and destroying one another, it is often better and wiser, to make a choice. If the pain is too much and you find it starts getting in the way of you moving forward, then either:
- Leave the relationship, no matter how hard this may prove to be.
- Or make up your mind never to let it damage your relationship any further, no matter how hard this may prove to be.
Life isn’t always easy and it often throws us many challenges. As a result, we can so easily become a victim of any destructive or negative situation we find ourselves in – especially if we FEED the situation or the drama, with negative thoughts or actions.
This is when our struggle can become part of our identity and this never leads to growth.
With forgiveness comes choice. Or indeed, how we choose to respond to issues can lead to either a positive or negative outcome. Holding onto pain will only allow the situation to have a hold over you and it will keep you tied to recriminations and anger and it can lead to you becoming a prisoner of the event and this will never free you from corrosive resentment or anger.
As Steve Maraboli, in “Unapologetically You”, wisely wrote, “Free yourself from the poisonous and laborious burden of holding a grudge. When you hold a grudge, you want someone else’s sorrow to reflect your level of hurt, but the two rarely meet. Let go… Sometimes, forgiveness is simply a reflection of loving yourself enough to move on.”
Try it – you may find it works.
Next up Therapy, Part I : Letting Go And How Therapy Sessions Should End.
© 2019 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
Note: Please do subscribe to my blog website. I will not bombard you with e-mails. You will get a monthly reminder of my website for your perusal. However, if there is a new offer, separate to the blog site I will e-mail you. However, please be assured that I will not fill your inbox with e-mails. Thank you.
Help Support My Blog
Your contribution helps funds and support my blog. If everyone who likes this blog and finds it useful, then also helps to fund it, its future will be more secure.
Donations are taken via PayPal. You can donate with your PayPal account or with a card.
Your details will stay with us (and PayPal) and we won’t spam you..