Home page of BPDFamily.com, online relationship supportMember registration here
March 30, 2020, 12:34:15 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Board Admins: FaithHopeLove, Harri, Once Removed
Senior Ambassadors: Cat Familiar, I Am Redeemed, Mutt, Turkish
Ambassadors: Enabler, Forgiveness, formflier, GaGrl,  khibomsis , Longterm, Ozzie101, pursuingJoy, Swimmy55, zachira
  Help!   Groups   Please Donate Login to Post New?--Click here to register  
bing
Pages: [1] 2 3  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: 6.13 | How Can We Forgive Ourselves?  (Read 22893 times)
LionDreamer
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: married
Posts: 2862



« on: February 22, 2010, 03:45:34 PM »

How can we forgive ourselves?

“Why it is so hard to implement for yourself what you know is the best thing to do when you give advice to others?" ~ Better Tomorrow, February 20, 2010

“Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.” ~Wilfred Peters, 1961

Much has been written about forgiving the people who have hurt us or who are causing us pain.  But there is very little written about forgiving ourselves.   This workshop is not about forgiving our abusers or those who didn’t protect us but about forgiving ourselves.  It’s about learning to silence that voice that berates us inside our own heads.  Many of us here on the Parent, Sibling and In-Law board have experienced abuse, often as children.  And everyone in a BP environment knows and understands what is means to live in “toxic chaos.”   Children will often take on the burden of the troubles of their lives.  It is so easy and common for children to believe:  



    • “If only I hadn’t behaved badly, my mother wouldn’t have had to hit me.”


    • “If only I was quieter, my father wouldn’t have needed to drink.”


    • “If only I was a better child, my parents could have loved me.”


    [/list]  

    To put it simply, we learn the patterns of beating ourselves up.  

    As we grow up, we learn that what happened to us isn’t our fault but still we often carry that burden of guilt and shame built on the foundation that somehow this all happened because we deserved it or we did something wrong.  And those patterns of beating ourselves up for things we don’t cause and can’t stop become all the harder to change.  And then when we really do mess up, we tend to beat ourselves up all the harder, even though making mistakes is part of being human and we all make mistakes at times.  

    In this workshop, we will discuss:



      • What are the red flags that we are harboring inner guilt, or that we are beating ourselves up needlessly?


      • What are the red flags that we are being overcritical of ourselves?


      • How do we learn to recognize these red flags and how do we learn to forgive ourselves?


      [/list]  

      For none of us need to be carrying around the burden of such guilt.  

      The purpose of this workshop is to explore these questions.  If any of you have some stories or techniques you have used to forgive yourself please share with us.   Also please feel free to share any stories you have where you did something you felt was wrong and how you were able to forgive yourself.  

      « Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 07:11:37 PM by Harri » Logged


      kkriesel
      ****
      Offline Offline

      What is your sexual orientation: Gay, lesb
      What is your relationship status with them: living alone, wonderful girlfriend
      Posts: 291


      WWW
      « Reply #1 on: February 22, 2010, 11:42:11 PM »

      This topic couldn't come at a better time for me.  I only feel guilt in relation to my uBPDm (at this point in life, at least) when I feel like I'm proving her right.  This happened today - she said that I didn't want to stay at her place after taking care of the errands there I needed to do.  As soon as she said that, it was true; I tried to change the subject and, when she repeated her statement, I politely left.  Before I made it out the door, she lectured me a bit about my student loans.

      Now I feel a lot of guilt over both my financial situation and over proving her right.  There is nothing more I can do about my financial situation (this is my therapist talking) and I know, now, that I don't need to stick around someone who tries to make me feel lousy. 

      It seems to me that I've accomplished the biggest step: leaving when she tries to make me as miserable as she is.  Her feelings aren't my responsibility.  But I feel like I'm being controlled whether I stay or leave since she predicts that I'll leave - the guilt is the control.
      Logged

      random
      *****
      Offline Offline

      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Posts: 636


      « Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 06:15:48 AM »

      This is such a great workshop. I struggle with guilt and self-criticism so much. I'll have to go mull it over a bit. It seems that so much of the pain we struggle with feeds into itself, so that it's all one self-administering network: guilt -> worthlessness -> fear of punishment -> feeling undeserving -> guilt over being such an undeserving person -> worthlessness -> fear -> helplessness -> guilt, all of those things strengthening each other.

      Just naming what's happening helps already.
      Logged
      BMama
      ********
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: Married 18 years.
      Posts: 2485



      « Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010, 11:13:48 AM »

      It is a vicious cycle.

      Thank you for starting this, LD.

      I'm going to be watching to see where I maybe can leap in and help and get help on this.

      xoxox
      Logged
      better tomorrow

      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: living together since appr 8 years
      Posts: 7


      « Reply #4 on: February 23, 2010, 11:15:33 AM »

      I have spent many hours wondering what I could have done different, what I could have don to make my uBPDmom see my needs or see me, why I was in the wrong place in life, why I had not been more true to myself, why I did not know who I really was etc etc.

      One night, several years ago now, I was out walking late at night in the town where I lived then, and walking down one small street I suddenly realized something. It was such a big life-changing insight to me, that I can still remember the moment although it is more than 10 years ago; where I was walking, what it felt like and looked like. And the thing I realized was this:

      Knowing the way the human mind works, and knowing that I have always done the best i could, I suddenly realized that

      put in the same circumstances, with the same options, being the same person I was at the time of the choice, I would make the same choices all over again because it was the best I could do then. No matter if I could re-live my life I would have to do the same choices, because they were the best for me at that time! And my life right now is the result of all my choices, of all those times that I did he best I could. And if I continue to do my best that is enough, and will bring me to what is the best for ME.

      And it was such a relief to feel that I could not have done different considering my knowledge, experience and actual options. And whenever I feel guilty or bad today I can remember that moment and that insight, and it helps me to accept the present situation as it is. Because it is as good as it can be, and that is enough.

      Smiling (click to insert in post)
      Logged
      random
      *****
      Offline Offline

      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Posts: 636


      « Reply #5 on: February 23, 2010, 12:25:29 PM »

      What's been helping me most recently is two things:

      1. Simply noticing when feelings and thoughts that are very harsh and negative come up. Just to notice is a huge part of the battle because these things are so internalized and habitual, they are now unconscious.

      2. Trying to think and act the opposite as much as possible. Like, if I am doing something hard, I mentally pat myself on the back. Praise myself when I do something well. Think things like, "you had a tough and busy day. Now do something to help yourself relax and rest up."

      The more kind thoughts you have towards yourself, the less room and processor power goes to the negative ones.

      I find if I try to argue with the negative ones or "dissuade" them, it's about as effective as dissuading Momster from the position that I am a bad person: not at all, the thoughts just come on stronger. I end up spending days arguing with myself in circles, and all it does is give me a headache.

      Logged
      random
      *****
      Offline Offline

      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Posts: 636


      « Reply #6 on: February 23, 2010, 12:37:40 PM »

      Excerpt
      Also please feel free to share any stories you have where you did something you felt was wrong and how you were able to forgive yourself. 



      I did a couple of things in the last three years that I feel were huge mistakes. I've done a lot of crying and beating myself up over them. I am starting to move on from that, even though it's tough going.

      Mistake one was quitting a perfectly good full-time job at a perfectly good ad agency, to work freelance, and then turning down a job offer from another to take an art study sabbatical.

      How I am starting to forgive myself: I made what I thought was the best decision at the time. First, I felt less financially vulnerable because I was strongly connected with Momster and felt that I had a safety net I could count on. Second, I was trying to protect myself when I quit. When I left my job, the agency was starting to turn into a sweatshop, and there were some ugly politics brewing. On top of that, I wanted to have periods of downtime when I could focus on my art practice.

      For a couple of years, the freelancer/contractor work format worked very well for me. I feel too vulnerable for it now, and want the security of a permanent job with benefits, but that doesn't mean it was a stupid decision, or that I made it frivolously.

      Mistake two was doing the study sabbatical on credit, and now being up to my ears in debt I won't be able to pay off in full.

      How I am starting to forgive myself: I may have gone about it the wrong way, but I was trying to honour something that is really important to me. And again, when I made that decision, I hadn't yet separated from Momster and did not know just how financially vulnerable it would leave me. AND I was also listening to all the arguments Momster was making, to spur me on to do it, and while it was a mistake to do that, I was doing the best I could in the face of sneaky, well-disguised emotional abuse and constant manipulation.

      Finally, one strategy I learned from my CBT counsellor is, OK. Admit you made a mistake. What did you learn and what will you do differently in the future? When I started to think this way, I realized it gave me power back. I can't change my past mistakes. But I CAN change what I do from now on!
      Logged
      BMama
      ********
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: Married 18 years.
      Posts: 2485



      « Reply #7 on: February 23, 2010, 02:07:53 PM »

      Very good, Random.

      It's almost akin to a "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" type thing, right?

      Hindsight is always 20/20, for one.  And for two... .hindsight in the far off future will view your decisions much more kindly than you even have here. 

      Smiling (click to insert in post)
      Logged
      AFinallyFreeWoman
      **
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Posts: 66


      « Reply #8 on: February 23, 2010, 02:42:25 PM »

      Forgive myself?  What's that?  Okay... .in all honesty, this is my absolute worst problem in my life.  I haven't found a way to forgive myself yet for something I did when I was 7. 

      I feel like the only kid in class who forgot to do their homework... .

      I'm going to be paying a lot of attention to this thread.  I'd love to see how other people have found ways to forgive themselves. 
      Logged
      LionDreamer
      ********
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: married
      Posts: 2862



      « Reply #9 on: February 23, 2010, 09:10:17 PM »

      kkreisel, I think you brought up an interesting point that guilt can be a trigger that makes it’s easy for us blame ourselves for the abuse as if we are at fault for the unhappiness of someone else.   For many of you this will be a reminder of what it means to be in FOG (fear, obligation, guilt)  Understanding how these emotions effect us, control us, hurt us is an important first step toward clearer thinking.  Below is a link to our workshop on FOG

      https://bpdfamily.com/content/emotional-blackmail-fear-obligation-and-guilt-fog


      Random and better tomorrow both made the excellent point that self knowledge is an important factor in self-forgiveness.  You both basically said:  “I did the best I could under the circumstances I was dealing with at the time.” You’ll be happy to know that Confucius agrees with you.  He said much the same:  "the more you know yourself, the more you forgive yourself."

      Random you also made an excellent point that admitting to our own mistakes and working to prevent ourselves from repeating those mistakes is a powerful way to regain ones sense of an unwounded self.  Yes, we can’t change the past but we can affect the future.   Random, I also think it is important that you honored something important to you and perhaps even more important that you recognize it. 

      BMama, I have to say I don’t agree with you that hindsight is always 20/20.  I think very often that we have to go back to situations that were painful and work to “remember” how hard we tried.   But I do think you are right on in pointing out that hindsight in the future will judge us far more kindly than we do ourselves. 

      AFinallyFreeWoman:  I think you will find many of us here who never did their homework (and I can tell you my son never did his!)

      To review here are some steps to self-forgiveness:

      1)   Recognizing when we are in FOG

      2)   Remembering ourselves when we did the very best we could under extremely difficult circumstances.

      3)   Learning to know thyself

      4)   Admitting to your own mistakes

      5)   Honoring what is important to you

      6)   Recognizing that the future will be judging us more kindly than we do ourselves so we can work to bring the future closer, faster.

      Now that we are beginning to lay out some of the steps lets focus on some of the other key questions:

      What are the red flags that we are beating ourselves up needlessly?  How do we know when we are harboring inner guilt?  

      For myself, a red flag that I am beating myself up is that I can’t stop thinking about an incident.  When I can recognize that my mind is moving in circles I have to just stop and figure out what is underlying the incident.  Usually if I can find the trigger that made me feel like I had done something stupid (which makes me feel ashamed) or I had been inattentive to someone else’s needs (which makes me feel guilty) then I can work out a plan to make it better such as speak to the person I may have hurt or ask myself, “if someone else had done this, would I have thought their actions were stupid?” and that answer is almost always no. 

      Logged
      pooh2
      ****
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Posts: 282


      « Reply #10 on: February 23, 2010, 09:15:44 PM »

      Love this thread.  This is a HUGE problem for me.  I think, as children, we actually feel safer believing that we are responsible or "at fault."  If we caused the reaction or our momster then we must have at least a little control, right?  I think it's the child struggling to feel that there must be some way of controlling the situation.  

      Now, unfortunately, it is completely automatic and reflexive.  I often feel bad on top of it because I feel that I am trying to make the situation "all about me" which sounds very narcissistic.  When you realize the origin of the reaction, you realize it is not as much narcissistic as a survival strategy.

      I have made very, very little headway with this one.  Mostly I feel responsible for taking care of everyone and keeping everyone happy... . like I used to do for my momster.  If they are happy, I will be safe.  If they are not happy... . oh boy!  

      So, I often feel responsible for people's bad feelings or problems.  It's so exhausting.  
      Logged


      BMama
      ********
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: Married 18 years.
      Posts: 2485



      « Reply #11 on: February 23, 2010, 09:18:01 PM »

      You are right, LD.  Always is much too strong of a term to use.  Hindsight can give us the ability to see more clearly if we have to tools to allow ourselves to do so.  That work better?   Smiling (click to insert in post) Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)
      Logged
      anker
      *****
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: in a good relationship now with a kind fellow
      Posts: 631


      « Reply #12 on: February 23, 2010, 10:26:36 PM »

      I gave a baby up for adoption when I was a teen. I am glad not to have kids and have no interest in being a parent never have. But I think that I've been punishing myself... .I was with an alcoholic and abusive guy at that time... .I think I still have guilt about not being parental or about not wanting kids. And I think my bad relatiinships have been a way of punishing myself.


      I haven't forgiven myself for that and also haven't forgiven myself for choosing abusive partners. So I punish myself more then I feel bad about that and on and on... .its a vicious cycle... .

      This thread ... .I'm following it closely. Between this and the positive entitlement thread I've had a lot of breakthroughs on this board lately! Thanks
      Logged
      blackandwhite
      Retired Staff
      *
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
      What is your relationship status with them: married
      Posts: 3115



      « Reply #13 on: February 23, 2010, 10:44:18 PM »

      Thanks for this workshop, LionDreamer, and to all who have participated so far. Interesting and perhaps relevant quote, from Overcoming Traumatic Stress: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques, by Claudia Herbert and Ann Wetmore:

      Excerpt
      In your attempts to create meaning from what has happened, in other words, to make sense of what was senseless, there is a danger that you will develop a heightened degree of self-blame, holding yourself responsible for a tragedy over which you have no control... .Frequently, the standard of behavior we expect from ourselves in this respect far exceeds what we would expect from any other human being.

      The habit of self-blame, "making sense of what was senseless," forms in childhood and then we carry it forward. The self-blame is there when we're not actually at fault and also when we are at fault, perhaps in the extreme ("standard of behavior we expect from ourselves... .far exceeds... .".

      LionDreamer asked:

      What are the red flags that we are beating ourselves up needlessly?  How do we know when we are harboring inner guilt?   

      She mentions circular thought patterns. Random mentions noticing the thoughts and bringing them to consciousness. There's definitely a script in there for me. Red flags would be:

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Noticing in my self-talk if I use certain words ("stupid" is a good one  )

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) A specific feeling of shame, very physical, like the feeling of blushing (like a red tide sweeping through me)

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Talking to myself. Usually I do this silently, but I don't always withhold the gestures. 

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Avoidance. If I avoid a certain train of thought but have it circle back unbidden or avoid a particular person or situation. Sometimes I avoid things for other reasons (PTSD triggers and also normal reasons!), but avoidance can be a Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) for guilt.

      B&W
      Logged

      What they call you is one thing.
      What you answer to is something else. ~ Lucille Clifton
      healinghome
      ******
      Offline Offline

      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
      Posts: 771



      « Reply #14 on: February 24, 2010, 03:44:26 AM »

      just wanted to add that its a common belief that children in abusive situations blame themselves as a way to try to maintain some control in the situation. i don't personally believe this.  i think its a case of we feel love and trust for them naturally as our mothers and believe them.  sadly due to their warped reality they don't love, trust us or have our best interests at heart.  i think its the denial of that reality that is so painful and unnatural to accept and in trying to make sense of such an unnatural behaviour, we believe that we must have done something wrong to cause it. we have done nothing wrong.  we are good people who had bad parents.

      in fact the reason they had us was to create hostages to vent all their anger and sickness onto.  so the sickness was there long before we were, and now i am nc with ubp/NPDm her sickness continues with my sisters.  how could it be our fault?  how could we be guilty of anything?
      Logged
      Backtome09
      *****
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: New mate (non)
      Posts: 710


      « Reply #15 on: February 24, 2010, 05:27:28 PM »

      I beat myself up for lots of things. I knew even before I knew what was wrong with foo that their negative comments have ruined many a "good day" for me. I internalized the negative comments and beat myself up FOR them even when they were miles away and I was LC.

      I was a work-a-holic because I just had to be perfect with everything in my life. I was never thin enough, fit enough, rich enough, happy enough, smart enough, etc. Like my uBPD mother was sitting on my shoulder through my life coaching me to self-destruct so she could have a good laugh.

      Stress induced illnesses pop up whenever I am overcritical and over anxious about any scenario. Worst was when my sibling passed away and I was at the scene. I felt guilt (still do sometimes) that I couldn't "bring him back". That guilt nearly killed me with ulcers and weight gain. Then I stayed too long in a relationship when it grew toxic. Beat myself up pretty darn good for years.

      I had to analyze and overanalyze the situation until I realized his death wasn't my fault. Neither is my foo's BPD my fault. How I REACT to these problems is my real concern. It's not what happens to you that counts. It's how you come out of it that counts.
      Logged
      AFinallyFreeWoman
      **
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Posts: 66


      « Reply #16 on: February 24, 2010, 09:37:59 PM »

      ask myself, “if someone else had done this, would I have thought their actions were stupid?” and that answer is almost always no. 

      This really speaks to me because I hadn't put myself in someone elses shoes before and looked at myself from an outside point of view. 

      When a friend of mine was murdered by her boyfriend of 1 year, I blamed myself for years for not protecting her because I knew her boyfriend for about 3 or 4 years and knew he was violent.  If I took a minute to look at myself from an outside point of view, I would have realized that anyone else in my position would've did what I had done.  He threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend of 10 years a few times in front of me and I thought he was going to kill her so I protected her.  I was looking almost in the opposite direction because I thought his anger was still pointed at his ex.  Anyone would have thought the same thing I did.

      I finally did put the responsibility where it belonged a few years after it happened.  I blamed myself as if I were completely responsible and it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I didn't kill her, he did.  He was the one responsible for the heartache and pain of the people who loved her.  Not me... .

      Logged
      Cordelia
      formerly salome
      ********
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
      Posts: 1465



      « Reply #17 on: February 25, 2010, 07:44:47 AM »

      I have been reading lately about how to change one's actions and attitudes, and read that while we cannot control what comes into our minds, we can control what we return to and think about deliberately.  I thought this was very freeing, and have begun to put it into practice with anger - if someone irritates me, I immediately react with anger, but then I have a choice, whether to continue to think about that situation and let it make me more angry or whether to think about something else - the weather, what I will have for dinner tonight, anything else.  That might be something to put into practice with self-forgiveness too - if we start thinking how lazy and selfish we are or whatever, we can let those thoughts go and replace with with positive thoughts as random and BMama suggest - how we will do things differently in the future or just positive self-talk about how we have good intentions and generally try very hard to do the right thing, and so on.  It might be helpful to have permission to have these thoughts - because the truth is we cannot completely control  what thoughts come into our heads - but also a plan for what to do when these thoughts are damaging.  The truth is everyone has damaging thoughts, everyone has a part of themselves that is self-destructive, and the problem is that our parents let that part of themselves roam wild rather than demonstrating strategies for not letting those impulses get in the way of how we really want to live our lives. 
      Logged
      Backtome09
      *****
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: New mate (non)
      Posts: 710


      « Reply #18 on: February 25, 2010, 01:17:51 PM »

      salome, great post Smiling (click to insert in post)
      Logged
      LionDreamer
      ********
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: married
      Posts: 2862



      « Reply #19 on: February 25, 2010, 01:46:50 PM »

      I want to thank everyone who is participating for your thoughtful and important contributions:

      We are getting a strong list of red flags that can alert us to when we are beating ourselves up needlessly:

      Pooh2 pointed out about how we seek to control our environment and as a survival mechanism we often take the blame for troubles onto ourselves.

      Anker spoke about how she punished herself through bad relationships.

      B&W brought the issues of self-talk, that red tide of shame, talking to self and avoidance.

      Backtome09 used work-a-holism and seeking to be perfect.  She also referred to self-induced illness.

      AFinallyFreeWoman took responsibility for the actions of someone else.

      Healing home, I love your validation statement:  “We have done nothing wrong.  We are good people who had bad parents.”  I will add this onto the first list - steps to stop the beating up process.   I know with my own alcoholic father, I remember feeling very clearly that if only I was somehow a better daughter or a better person or could do things better then he wouldn’t need to drink.  It took me well into my 30s even 40s to grow into knowing that I had no part in his drinking, that it was his choice and his alone.   

      Salome also presented with a really good strategy for learning to turn around this vicious cycle; taking control when negative thoughts come into our minds and replacing them with positive thoughts.   

      To put the red flags into a list:

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) People pleasing (and the extension of making ourselves into doormats for someone else)

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Setting ourselves up in bad relationships (and the extension is setting ourselves up for failure)

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Using negative self-talk

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Feeling that red blush of shame

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Talking to oneself

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Avoiding a situation

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Work-a-holism (and the extension of any addiction)

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Self-induced illness

      Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Taking responsibility for the actions of someone else or of something that we had no control over.

      I am going to ask the questions again to see if we can add to our lists:

      What are the red flags that we are beating ourselves up needlessly?  (2nd list)

      What steps can we take when we notice ourselves engaging in beating up thinking?  (1st list)

      Lion Dreamer

      Logged
      cwotton
      ***
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: widowed
      Posts: 158


      « Reply #20 on: February 26, 2010, 07:38:20 PM »

      As a mother of an uBPD, I feel guilty that somehow I may have done something, or not done something, that added to her illness. All parents feel regret. I've often said if I had it to do over again, I'd just make different mistakes.

      But my daughter (age 50) WANTS me to feel guilty for the awful, terrible life she thinks she has had. She never lets up reminding me how terribly unhappy she was as a child. When I said, "Gosh, you seemed like a happy little kid," she said "I was faking it." She just won't let go of whatever it is she hates me for. But I've just about worn out my guilt gland. I've reached the point where I think I'm no longer responsible for her happiness. I've provided financial support and help with her kids, so that she will have a better chance to be happy, but nothing helps. I'm so tired; but I'm not guilty.
      Logged


      anker
      *****
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: in a good relationship now with a kind fellow
      Posts: 631


      « Reply #21 on: February 26, 2010, 09:30:02 PM »

      When someone is treating me poorly or I feel hurt, and I start to excuse it, I think that is a big sign to me that I am punishing myself.

      I don't know how to let go and treat myself with forgiveness. It's like I am clueless about how not to hold a grudge against myself.
      Logged
      blackandwhite
      Retired Staff
      *
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
      What is your relationship status with them: married
      Posts: 3115



      « Reply #22 on: February 27, 2010, 12:17:09 AM »

      Excerpt
      When someone is treating me poorly or I feel hurt, and I start to excuse it, I think that is a big sign to me that I am punishing myself.

      Gosh, that's so true, anker.

      Excerpt
      What are the red flags that we are beating ourselves up needlessly?

      Here's an exercise from Surviving the Borderline Parent that's a start on helping to sort out "beating self up needlessly" from "may have made legitimate error and it would be good to act on that (apologize, change in future)"... .with neither meaning you are a bad person.  xoxo

      Excerpt
      Am I Guilty?

      [When you experience feelings of guilt and responsibility], ask yourself the following questions:

      1. Is (or was) the criticism aimed at me in proportion to the perceived offense? (Either way, acknowledge that you're human and humans make mistakes.)

      2. Did I violate a boundary the other person had communicated to me?

      3. Did I make a promise or commitment I didn't keep?

      4 Was I truly responsible? Did I have control over the outcome?

      5. What was my intention or motivation?

      6. What does my gut or intuition tell me about the situation and my level of responsibility?

      7. Given a similar set of circumstances, would my close friends (or someone else you admire) think I was responsible?

      8. Were any of my words or actions efforts at self-protection or self-preservation?

      Also:

      9. What are the costs of feeling guilty when you're really not responsible? Does it sap your energy or emotional strength, take time away from your family, or affect your health?

      10. Are there ways in which feeling guilty serves you in your relationship with your [BPD relative (or another person)]? Doe sit make you feel more in control, perhaps? Are there other ways it serves you?

      11. What do you stand to gain by giving up your feelings of guilt and responsibility?

      If you determine that your feelings of guilt are actually warranted, then consider the ways in which you might address and correct your actions. If you determine that some of your feelings of guilt are not warranted, you'll have to work on letting go of them, and not accepting any more blame than your fair share.

      B&W

      Logged

      What they call you is one thing.
      What you answer to is something else. ~ Lucille Clifton
      BMama
      ********
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: Married 18 years.
      Posts: 2485



      « Reply #23 on: February 27, 2010, 06:53:10 AM »

      I'm SO glad you brought up this part from the book, B&W.  I got stuck in the forgiveness chapter the other night.  I'm gonna think about it more, and see if others contribute to this exercise so I can maybe understand it better.

      Thanks!
      Logged
      LionDreamer
      ********
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: married
      Posts: 2862



      « Reply #24 on: February 28, 2010, 06:35:43 PM »

      For everyone who has contributed, a great big thank you!  I think it is time to move on.  I originally listed these as steps to self-forgiveness but I am not going to rename them as strategies.  I think they can be viewed as steps but because they are in no particular order I think strategies is a better definition.

      1)   Recognizing when we are in FOG

      2)   Remembering ourselves when we did the very best we could under extremely difficult circumstances.

      3)   Learning to know thyself

      4)   Admitting to your own mistakes

      5)   Honoring what is important to you

      6)   Recognizing that the future will be judging us more kindly than we do ourselves so we can work to bring the future closer, faster.

      7)   Stopping the cycle of compulsive negative thinking by replacing with positive thoughts.


      I would like to ask if anyone has any stories of how they were able to implement any of the above strategies (or any others you might have) to release a sense of guilt and that feeling that we are unforgiveable to ourselves. 

      Cwotton wrote an excellent example of #2, when she recognized that she did the best she could under the very difficult circumstances. 

      I know in my own life, #4 has been very important.  I have found that admitting my own mistakes and making atonement if possible and/or necessary has been key to forgiving myself for my failings.   One of my patterns is that when I feel barraged by anger or any strong emotion coming at me from others, I find it hard to think straight and will say angry or mean things as my defense mechanism.  Years ago I didn’t even recognize the pattern.  Then when I first began to recognize the pattern it took me some time maybe even a few days before I could understand that the pattern happened yet again and than apologize if necessary.  Now, I am finding that I usually recognize that pattern rather quickly and have learned to either hold my tongue or if I have snapped out at someone, apologize in the moment.  By recognizing and apologizing I am able to let it go and move on.  Previously I might have held onto it for a long time - all that time feeling like something was wrong with me.  But when I recognize, own and make amends for my mistakes, I find I can let it go. 

      I know this is a very challenging topic for most of us because we feel so damaged inside us, its difficult not to turn it inward.  By sharing stories we can not only share successes but provide examples for others to follow. I invite anyone with a story to share.  Even a small step to self-forgiveness is valuable.

      Lion Dreamer
      Logged
      MiddleOne
      ****
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Posts: 271



      « Reply #25 on: February 28, 2010, 09:11:00 PM »

      Liondreamer

      This is a wonderful workshop.  thank you.  I will think about the questions you have raised and see if I have anything to add to the conversation.

      MO
      Logged
      immadone
      **
      Offline Offline

      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      What is your relationship status with them: Widow since '92-see above. I'm turning into a cliche'
      Posts: 96


      « Reply #26 on: March 01, 2010, 08:30:19 AM »

      Thank you LD-good topic. I've thought about this very topic so many times through the years... .You know, my uBPDmother lied, manipulated, chaosed, crisised, etc. for years. Up close and personal it was ugly. But on the other hand, she really DIDN'T mislead me at all. All those years, the themes remained constant; although the details/people may have changed, she herself was very, very consistent. I just kept responding-responding-responding in an attempt to create what I wanted/needed and becoming frustrated/hurt/angry/fearful. She didn't deceive me as much as I deceived myself into believing I could, by force of sheer will and tenacity change a snake into a butterfly. This whole situation (I'm speaking about myself as an adult) was as much about me as it was about her. In refusing to come to terms with what reality presented I continued to expend myself in pursuit of a dream that she kept showing me was impossible to achieve. All my history with her made not one iota of difference in her life, our relationship. This became stunningly clear after NC: from what I understand the craziness continued until her death. You can be sure she's taught me some powerful lessons about myself, what it means to be human, what it means to live in this world.
      Logged
      Cordelia
      formerly salome
      ********
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
      Posts: 1465



      « Reply #27 on: March 01, 2010, 08:30:52 AM »

      I think I took a big step toward #3 recently.  I realized that I feel very uncomfortable when people ask me what I want, or try to be solicitous of me and make me happy.  I get very nervous and anxious, because I am afraid that if I am not happy with their efforts, they will be disappointed and upset, and even if I am happy, will I be happy enough (the truth is, though I am generally a happy person, I have a bit of a critical gaze and can find a fault with anything, so it's hard to find something that I am 100% happy with).  It's hard for me to let go and be honest about my feelings and accept that if the other person really wants to make me happy then they will want to know if there is something I am not satisfied with, and if they just want me to fake it, then it is really about themselves wanting validation and not about me, and it's not my job to provide them with that validation.  I have such a sense of shame at "making them feel bad" though!  And it's really unfortunate because this behavior pattern virtually guarantees that I'll be disappointed, because I didn't say what I really wanted, I just pretended to be happy with whatever I got!  Being clear about what I want really feels like an unforgivable sin.  Wish I could get over this... .
      Logged
      Cordelia
      formerly salome
      ********
      Offline Offline

      Gender: Female
      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
      Posts: 1465



      « Reply #28 on: March 01, 2010, 08:40:16 AM »

      All those years, the themes remained constant; although the details/people may have changed, she herself was very, very consistent. I just kept responding-responding-responding in an attempt to create what I wanted/needed and becoming frustrated/hurt/angry/fearful. She didn't deceive me as much as I deceived myself into believing I could, by force of sheer will and tenacity change a snake into a butterfly.

      This is so, so familiar.  Maybe it's related to being involved in these relationships as teenagers.  As we all know, teenagers don't have a good sense of where their limits are, they think they can do anything and nothing bad will happen to them.  It's only with age that we realize there are battles we cannot win and should not try.  Maybe it's a step toward forgiving ourselves to realize that it's not that we're so arrogant or delusional, it's just a natural part of this developmental stage to commit yourself 100% to impossible goals, and this is in fact the great strength of this time in one's life - the ability to throw yourself into achieving your dream.  And many times in history, this type of dedication has resulted in stunning achievements!  It was just our misfortune that the goal we dedicated ourselves to was a truly fruitless one... .the goal of changing someone else's personality and behavior rather than saving the rainforest or ending racism. 

      Sorry for the double post, I just couldn't not respond to this great comment! 
      Logged
      random
      *****
      Offline Offline

      What is your sexual orientation: Straight
      Posts: 636


      « Reply #29 on: March 01, 2010, 06:22:48 PM »

      I read this bit in a blog entry by Roger Ebert, where he talks about the article written about him in Esquire, and featuring a big honking picture of his devastated-by-illness face:

      Excerpt
      If we think we have physical imperfections, obsessing about them is only destructive. Low self-esteem involves imagining the worst that other people can think about you. That means they're living upstairs in the rent-free room.

      He is talking, of course, about letting other people live rent-free in your head. I think this is such a great insight. If we think the worst of ourselves, could it be that we actually think the worst that has been told to us about ourselves by other people? If we think kindly of ourselves, that means a certain amount of negative judgement simply has to be denied entry. And that's a big part of forgiving ourselves, isn't it? Judging not, because we've been bloody judged enough already.

      And I think his insight about not obsessing about physical imperfections could also apply to not obsessing about one's imperfections, period.

      Ebert has been a huge inspiration to me lately. An amazing example of how to stay compassionate to yourself and to be accepting of yourself AND of those adversities you can't change. And of how to rise above them.
      Logged
      Pages: [1] 2 3  All   Go Up
        Print  
       
      Jump to:  

      Links and Information
      CLINICAL INFORMATION
      The Big Picture
      5 Dimensions of Personality
      BPD? How can I know?
      Get Someone into Therapy
      Treatment of BPD
      Full Clinical Definition
      Top 50 Questions

      EDITORIAL DEPARTMENTS
      My Child has BPD
      My Parent/Sibling has BPD
      My Significant Other has BPD
      Recovering a Breakup
      My Failing Romance
      Endorsed Books
      Archived Articles

      RELATIONSHIP TOOLS
      How to Stop Reacting
      Ending Cycle of Conflict
      Listen with Empathy
      Don't Be Invalidating
      Values and Boundaries
      On-Line CBT Program
      >> More Tools

      MESSAGEBOARD GENERAL
      Membership Eligibility
      Messageboard Guidelines
      Directory
      Suicidal Ideation
      Domestic Violence
      ABOUT US
      Mission
      Policy and Disclaimers
      Professional Endorsements
      Wikipedia
      Facebook

      BPDFamily.org

      Your Account
      Settings

      Moderation Appeal
      Become a Sponsor
      Sponsorship Account


      Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2020, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!