Facing Our Shame

Part Four

Now that we are aware of some of the ways we avoid personal responsibility, I want to spend the remainder of this chapter discussing what it means to truly make amends to our partner or our family.

When we finally face the reality of how we have behaved, we see that we have spiritually wounded those people we love the most. This is not easy because it means facing a part of ourselves that we are ashamed of: the despised self. But if we do not face this part of ourselves, it will continue to control us from behind the scenes.

We need to take this difficult step very seriously. There is a reason that people used to drop to their knees when apologizing. It symbolized their humility and deep recognition of their transgression. When we can face how we have spiritually wounded those we care about, we are ready to make amends. We need to consider getting on our knees when we make our amends.

From our knees, we can discuss the nature of our wrongs, our remorse and sorrow, our recognition of how we have spiritually wounded someone, and how we propose to be accountable for our actions. We ask the person whether anything has been overlooked. We encourage the person to be forthcoming. And finally, we ask whether the person believes the apology, whether he or she believes our sincerity. If we are found to be insincere, we ask what it was about the apology that gave that impression. Be open to the response. If there is validity to what the person says, we apologize for that too
and make a commitment to return at some future date to restate the amends. Then we need to get to work on what blocked us from being sincere.

Many of us might say, “That is quite an order. How can anyone go through with that?” The truth is there are countless men and women who have made their amends and who have discovered the emotional freedom in their lives and the increase in their self-esteem that come from taking responsibility and being accountable for their actions. This is a real possibility. But we will have to face our demons and dethrone our false pride to realize it. I hope that most of us will choose to walk this road less traveled.

Stupid Thing #6: Not Making Amends

An Excerpt from 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery

By Allen Berger, PhD

To develop a strong spiritual foundation for recovery, it is essential that we accept full responsibility for our harmful and hurtful behavior and that we attempt to repair the damage that we have caused in our relationships with family, friends, and loved ones.