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Maintaining Identity While Letting Go: The Forgiveness Process Ted Klontz Ph.D., CSAT III, CET II Executive Director Onsite Workshops WWW.Onsiteworkshops.com.

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Presentation on theme: "Maintaining Identity While Letting Go: The Forgiveness Process Ted Klontz Ph.D., CSAT III, CET II Executive Director Onsite Workshops WWW.Onsiteworkshops.com."— Presentation transcript:

1 Maintaining Identity While Letting Go: The Forgiveness Process Ted Klontz Ph.D., CSAT III, CET II Executive Director Onsite Workshops th Renewal Convention on Adult Children, Recovery, & Trauma Las Vegas February, 2005

2 What Were You Taught About Letting Go/Forgiving? What does it mean? How does one do that? Where does one learn how to do that?

3 Why Do This? It is where the pain, wounds, and scars are. The areas that need healing Cannot truly forget anything, we can only truly forgive/heal Because we are successful at pushing it away from our consciousness, does not mean that we can make it go away, in fact it becomes a ghost that others can see and feel; often we can not Pain has no concept of time

4 Why Do This? Clean up the residue of psychic acid End the cycle of re-traumatization Re-establish balance Allows the energy used for repression and suppression of woundedness to be available as ‘life energy’ Find Peace

5 What Is Forgiveness? More than a mental exercise It is a difficult and painful process Self – Fish act Taking one’s own life into one’s own hands; of accepting life for what it is and is not, and living it with choice It does not mean to come to a place of condoning the behaviors, it does mean to come to a place of releasing the actors.

6 The Process Acknowledge what happened (or didn’t) Feel the feelings Let go of the fantasy Feel the feelings Integrate the reality

7 1. Acknowledging what happened (or didn’t) Therapy Movies Music Books Museums Anything one reacts strongly to “…When you ask me to forget, you ask me to deny my experience…”

8 James Baldwin “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

9 2. Allow the Feelings and Releasing the Energy Used to Deny/Repress Direct Expression Meditation

10 3. Let Go of The Fantasy of What Should/Might Be or Have Been The Fix…. If Only….

11 4. Feel the Feelings Loss Grief

12 5. Integrate the Experience “This being true, what do I do now?”

13 The Forgiveness Letter Remember a time when you were hurt, used, disappointed, abused, etc. by someone. Write a letter, it will be addressed to you from the person who did the deed In this letter they will admit to what they did, in detail, without excuse, and at the end of the letter they will ask for your forgiveness

14 “The Letter” Represents the people / things we are still holding on to. The chances are we will never receive a letter like this Once we recognize that and allow the feelings, we can release ourselves and the other person

15 A. Battista “One of the most lasting pleasures you can experience is the feeling that comes over you when you genuinely forgive an enemy-whether he knows about it or not…..”

16 How Does One Know When the Forgiveness Process is Complete? Full memory, without the crippling effect of recalling the memory Hurt, Anger, Shame, Blame are not recycled by the memory When there is enough personal restoration so that the relationship with the perpetrator no longer compromises self

17 Paul Tillich “…I forget although I remember. Without this kind of forgetting, no relationship can endure healthily. I don’t refer to a solemn act of asking for and offering forgiveness, these are often acts of moral arrogance on the one part and enforced humiliation on the other. I speak of the lasting willingness to accept him who has hurt us…” The ultimate act of forgiveness is that of forgiveness of ourselves; by ourselves

18 Ambivalence In forgiving someone, I release them from the purgatory that I have placed them in. I give up my only source of power over them. While they are in purgatory, I feel safe. If I were to release them from that place, by forgiving them, I put myself at risk for getting hurt again, believing that I am as powerless now, as I was the last time. If I don't forgive them, I must consistently be focused on guarding purgatory’s door, but by doing so, I serve my time in the same purgatory, just on the other side of the cell that I have created for them. If I forgive them, we are both set free.

19 Questions?

20 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each man’s life a sorrow and a suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

21 If we could read the secret history of those we would like to punish, we would find in each life enough grief and suffering to make us stop wishing anything more on them

22 Suzy Bogguss “Letting Go” Album: Aces 1991


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