Forgive and Forget in 5 Easy Steps

Blame is such a complex idea, and if you pay it too much thought, you can get trapped by it.

Carol Gignoux, M.Ed

Filed Under: Relationship Advice, Forgiveness, Executive Functioning Weakness / Disorder

Blame is such a complex idea, and if you pay it too much thought, you can get trapped by it.

Forgive and Forget in Five Steps
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1. Stop Playing the Blame Game

When something bad has happened in the past, clients often put the blame on the person who created the situation, as well as a third party (parents, managers, other people in authority) who should have stopped it, and deep down they often blame themselves, too, for putting themselves in the situation in the first place.

Who really deserves the blame? How should that person be punished? Those sorts of questions can be destructive. The more you dwell on it, the more blame you internalize, which can crush your life if it gets out of control. Instead, you need to identify what will help you put this situation in the past for good. What will make you feel okay about this, and let you move on? A coach, therapist or spiritual leader can offer incredible guidance through the healing process for anyone who is truly burdened right now by the pain of things that happened long ago.

2. Healthy Repetition

You know when your friend is angry at his boss, and keeps bringing the conversation around to hash out the same complaints over and over again? This is a normal response to trauma. Technically, that behavior is called repetition, and it’s an important part of the resolution process in therapy. (Although if you’re just an average listener, it might be nothing but annoying.) As a species, we feel the need to talk through surprising or traumatic incidents repeatedly until we fully understand them and know how to move forward. An ADHD coach or a therapist can kickstart the repetition process by using strategic questions and directions to uncover important insights more efficiently.

3. Act it Out

Even if you wanted to, it wouldn’t necessarily be healthy (or even possible) to initiate a face-to-face conversation with the person you’re trying to forgive. Sometimes the best thing to do to get your own closure is to role-play that conversation with a professional. Your coach, therapist or trained spiritual advisor will be able to use your information to take on the part of the person you need to forgive. Then, you’ll have the conversation that you really need to have. It can be very beneficial, even life-changing, to simply say out loud the words that you need the other person to hear.

4. Neuro-Linguistic Programming

I’ve written about the benefits of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) before, and it works wonders with forgiveness issues. In a three-part process, NLP transforms your memory of a specific event or purpose and drains the emotional significance of it. First, you compare and contrast a painful situation which you were able to forgive with the one you can’t get over. This helps the practitioners identify the complex emotional connections surrounding the unforgiven issue. Together you explore all of the memories, sensations and feelings that represent the unforgiven event in your mind.

Next, you admit all of the reasons you’re still holding on to your pain, digging deep to identify every big and little objection you have against forgiving this person. The older the grudge, the longer this phase takes. Finally, the NLP team performs their special sequences of reversals, replacements and other distortions, all carefully designed to scramble the associations you have towards the event. One by one, the emotional connections are broken and the event loses its meaning. When your NLP procedure is over, you still retain your memory, of course, but your feelings about it have been broken up and brushed away. The event can’t control you anymore.

5. The Forgiveness Reading List

Radical Forgiveness, by Antoinette Bosco
Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve, by Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiveness is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope, by Robert D. Enright
Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves: Healing Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families, by David A. Stoop and James Masteller
Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace, by Miroslav Voif

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Make Progress with the Right Executive Function Coach

As one of the 10+ million U.S. adults with ADD, I genuinely understand the challenges of living with ADHD as well as the positive results that can be achieved through coaching. With the help of a great executive functioning skills coach, adult ADHD treatment can change lives. With the right behaviors and coping mechanisms, it’s easier to overcome some of the worst symptoms. Those include distraction, lack of punctuality, untidiness, forgetfulness, failure to meet deadlines, and more.

By practicing these success strategies, performance at work can improve, too. Life at home will become more stable and relaxing. Enrich every important personal relationship. And most importantly, you’ll gain a new level of self-confidence.

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