Untitled design (41).png
 

FORGIVENESS OF SELF

In each course that Take Back Your Life Recovery has offered, the concept of forgiveness of self has always come up in discussion. Participants asked questions about how to move on when they cannot let go and forgive themselves. While we did the best we could to answer these huge questions in the time allotted, we knew it wasn’t sufficient. So, we started having discussions about how we worked through their own guilt and shame.


As survivors, we understand that being part of a closed system in which bounded choice is the only choice leads to poor decision-making. Knowing that, developing an answer to the question of forgiveness became a priority for us – thus, the Forgiveness of Self course was created.


The course is structured around 4 two-hour sessions (over 4 weeks) and costs $200. The maximum enrollment is 20-25 participants. There are short presentations on relevant topics, as well as plenty of time for questions and answers about the many common cult and trauma concepts that have affected each participant’s journey with forgiveness.

 
Image by Thought Catalog

BEFORE EACH SESSION

Before each session, handouts and/or supplemental reading material will be sent out via email to share background information on the concepts or topics that will be discussed in the upcoming session.


Additionally, optional homework is also sent to hopefully assist you in understanding the power of the group in which you were enmeshed and to deepen your understanding of why you acted (or did not act), given the self-sealing system (or bounded-choice environment) you were in at that time.


Homework assignments help clarify how PTSD, Complex PTSD (CPTSD), and moral injury can impact survivors’ lives, as well as how to make progress regarding these difficult aspects of trauma.

 

In this course, we walk participants through how living within a self-sealing system with a “bounded choice” mindset, acting as a deployable agent, experiencing dissociation, internal gaslighting, shame/guilt, and more work together to make unthinkable choices possible in closed systems.


Janja, Beth, and Sally strongly believe that the combination of cult education and trauma education helps explain what happens internally and externally that allows participants to “override” their own moral codes. This deepened understanding can assist in the path to forgiveness.

The purpose of guilt and shame are explored extensively. There are things for which people should feel guilty. The feeling of guilt lets us know that our behavior or actions are unacceptable to ourselves in some way. However, shame is when you accept that those actions are only your mistakes — that is, that you are the sum total of your bad choices. When you believe that you are a bad person, it makes it very difficult to do good things or be happy.

The concept of moral injury is defined and examined in the context of survivorship. Moral injury is a type of trauma that results from one’s own behaviors toward others when acting as a deployable agent for the cult, the family, the abusive program (TTI), etc. Additionally, this type of trauma could be caused by one’s inaction/ineffectiveness while witnessing something perceived as horrific happening to someone else.

Many, but not all, former members of cults, the TTI, or other narcissistic relationships become deployable agents. This occurs when a person has been so isolated from “the outside world” that the group or relationship becomes the only means of “survival” and of meeting one’s emotional needs. That bond between self and “other” becomes so important that the individual’s need for survival become secondary.


As a deployable agent, individuals become capable of behaviors that they would have never found acceptable in their former lives (or in one’s life after cult/coercive involvement). The will of the group or leader or the continuation of the ideals of the group or leader become the priority in everyday living.


While it is clear that being a deployable agent is only possible through bounded choice, we also know that many survivors have difficulty forgiving themselves for those behaviors while they were acting as a deployable agent.

 

Janja, Beth, and Sally strongly believe that the combination of cult education and trauma education helps explain what happens internally and externally that allows participants to “override” their own moral codes. This deepened understanding can assist in the path to forgiveness.

Image by Bethany Legg
 

Self-compassion will be introduced as a possible value to incorporate into daily living to negate the residual shame that can accompany having been in a cult or narcissistic relationship. Creating purpose through compassion for oneself and for others offers an end to some of the suffering that we experience without forgiveness of self.

After the course is finished, participants are sent an Evaluation Form (anonymous). We hope that these are completed by everyone, as we very much look forward to feedback so that we can continually improve our courses.


Janja, Beth and Sally are looking forward to embarking on this journey with you.  Thank you for your interest.

 

COURSE CALENDAR

SEPTEMBER 17
SEPTEMBER 24
OCTOBER 1
OCTOBER 8

This series spans over four Saturdays during the following times:
Eastern Standard Time: 12pm-2pm
Central Standard Time: 11am-1pm
Mountain Standard Time: 10am-12pm
Pacific Standard Time: 9am-11am