I FEEL MUCH BETTER
when I’m forgiven
PREVIOUS: Asking forgiveness #8a
SITE: “16 Common excuses for NOT asking for forgiveness”
(Familiar excuses apply to anyone unwilling to be accountable, + Christian references)
RECOVERY from “Too Nice Syndrome” (TNS) cont.
TOOL 7. FORGIVEN by OTHERS (cont.)
1. WHO (in 8a)
2. For WHAT: Here again ACoAs get things backwards: (see Part 1)
• Too much: we apologize, often too often, for things what are not ‘offenses’, only because our S-H, via the PP, says everything we do & ARE is bad / unacceptable.
EXP: Billy’s sponsee was always making ‘humorous’ fun of himself & he wasn’t even a comic. When Billy wouldn’t laugh at yet another self-putdown, the sponsee was annoyed: ‘You don’t have a sense of humor!”. Billy’s response: “Self-hate isn’t funny!”
• Too little: at the same time we hide from admitting the actual insensitive or destructive things we say & do, because of shame, guilt & FoA. Yet such negative actions make us feel bad about ourselves, so we hide even more – acting like nothing ever happened, instead of cleaning up our mess whenever possible.
a. Imagined ‘character defects’ (see Part 8a).
The alcoholics & other narcissists we grew up with forced us to gauge relationships based on what they wanted or hated – which we now project onto everyone else. We assume others will be as weak, as judgmental, as demanding, as manipulative, as needy, as controlling, as dangerous, as easily upset…. as our parents were. So we’re always looking out for emotional traps, trying to avoid other people’s disapproval & anger.
That makes us constantly worried that we have annoyed, bothered, offended, disgusted…. everyone else. But if we were to ask a person about something we said or did that we were sure they disliked/hated – they couldn’t imagine what had us so worked up – it hadn’t registered.
And if we tried to apologize for some imagined slight (based on our mind-reading ‘talent’) & they did remember the incident but barely noticed it, they might look at us quizzically or with amusement – since to them it was no big deal!
b. Real ‘character defects’ – because of damage.
Shame is at the root of all our wounds, & asking for anything is considered shameful. So having to be humbly honest with someone we’ve hurt & then ask to be forgiven for our thoughtless or hurtful actions can be very uncomfortable, even terrifying – but only to the WIC part of us.
REMINDER – Admitting we have character flaws is NOT an indictment of our whole being. It’s not only human to be imperfect, but as ACoAs we definitely have more ‘issues’ than people raised in safer homes. All are a combination of our parents’ defects (which became our Introject), our native personality, & our response to all the abuse we suffered.
IMP: Before approaching others with your 9th Step – be very sure you will be talking to someone capable of treating you with respect. If they’re volatile or disdainful, don’t engage!
A WAY to START is to ‘lightly’ ask the person if they remember the event? that you’re concerned about – unless you already know. Don’t make it sound dire.
1. If they don’t remember, then drop it. If they ask why, say “I just wondered” & nothing more.😓
2. If they do recall, ask how they feel about it. Don’t put words in their mouth!
• If they say they’re OK, believe them – don’t try to mind-read their intention.
So leave it alone. Your guilt is your own – they don’t owe you absolution.
3. 😂If they express hurt, anger or disappointment, you know it’s time to apologize. Again – they don’t have to forgive!
NEXT: Passive-Aggressive Niceness – Intro-a