Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Copabanana, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am looking to forgive myself for mistakes I have made in my life.

    Tomorrow is the 2 year anniversary of my mother's death.

    I hold myself responsible for distancing myself from her during much of my adult life. While there may have been a valid reason to do so, I loved her very much. No reason to have not been with her, and close to her, seems enough, now that I no longer have her. I will post here some of what I find that seems to address self-forgiveness.

    Forgiving Yourself - Personal Action
    Proverbs 16:25 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." The energy it takes to harbor anger, hatred, and resentment towards yourself is exhaustive. Every bit of energy we give to negative activities and dwelling on regrets, robs us of the energy we need to become the person God wants us to be.

    Life is full of choices and every choice we make will either take us in a positive, life-giving direction or rob us of the opportunity to be a life-giving individual. Forgiving ourselves does not let us off the hook, it does not justify what we have done, and it is not a sign of weakness. Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength, and it gives us the opportunity to become an overcomer rather than remaining a victim of our own scorn.

    If you do not forgive yourself of past sins, it is a form of pride. Whenever we enact a different set of rules, a higher set of standards for ourself over others, that is pride. When we can find it within ourself to forgive others, but not ourselves, we are saying that we are less capable of making a poor decision than others. We are somehow more intuitive, wiser, more insightful, more careful than others, and therefore, we are without excuse and should not forgive ourselves. When we reject the forgiveness extended to us by God and others, when we refuse to forgive ourselves, what we are doing is setting ourselves above others and that is pride! Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Unforgiveness of oneself will bring self-destruction, a haughty spirit, and a fall. Christian forgiveness will bring peace.

    Forgiving Yourself - Helping Others and Yourself
    Forgiving yourself is also important for those in your sphere of influence. It is a well-known fact that hurting people hurt others. The longer you avoid forgiving yourself, the longer you allow yourself to harbor the feelings that you deserve to suffer for what you did, the more explosive you will become and, therefore, the more apt you are to hurt others.

    The reality is that you cannot change what has happened. You cannot restore lives to where they were before the event. However, you can make a difference in the lives of others. You can give back some of what you have taken away by finding a different place to invest your time and compassion. Forgive yourself and let the healing begin!

    Forgiving yourself will change the direction of your life. Consider the following prayer. Read quietly through the following declaration and then read it aloud. Or perhaps you would like to use your own words. Whichever you do, give voice to it. You need to hear yourself forgive yourself! There is great power in the spoken word!

    Dear Heavenly Father, I understand that there is nothing to gain by holding myself in unforgiveness and there is everything to gain by releasing myself from unforgiveness and beginning the process of healing. I want to move forward and make a positive difference in the future. I confess the ungodly accountability, self-abasement, and the vows I have made to never forgive myself. Because Jesus died for my sins, I choose to forgive myself--to no longer punish myself and be angry with myself. I forgive myself for letting this hurt control me and for hurting others out of my hurt. I repent of this behavior and my attitude. I ask for Your forgiveness and healing. God, help me to NEVER again retain unforgiveness of myself or others. Thank you for loving me and for Your grace to move forward with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Lasted edited by : Sep 12, 2015
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    The New Yorker Magazine

    Biden, Alone in a Crowd

    When Vice-President Joe Biden arrived to tape“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” on Thursday, it had the makings of an ordinary, slightly decorous affair. Two nights earlier, the guest, Jeb Bush, had put in a serviceable performance: hands clasped, a look on his face that was only slightly terrified. Bush didn’t know how Colbert would play it, so Bush maintained the wary, affable bearing of a dad plucked from the audience to go onstage at a magic show.

    But with Biden Colbert wasn’t going for laughs. Biden, of course, has been grieving for his son, Beau, who died on May 30th of brain cancer, while discussing, with more openness than most politicians, the emotional costs of a potential run for President. Colbert asked Biden how he kept a “soul” in Washington, and Biden replied with an old line about Amtrak—“I commuted every day for thirty-six years”—before turning serious. He admitted that the culture of falsity in D.C. baffled him. He wondered “why in the world would you want the job if you couldn’t say what you believe.” Colbert offered condolences, and asked him for a story about Beau. “I never once—my word as a Biden—never ever heard my child complain.” He recalled a conversation shortly before Beau died, when Beau said, “Dad, I know how much you love me. Promise me you’re going to be all right.”

    Biden was looking down, eyes wet, staring at his hands, kneading them. He went on, “I don’t know what it was about him. He had this enormous sense of empathy. I’m not making this up. I know I sound like a father.”

    In 1972, Biden’s first wife, and their daughter, were killed in a car accident. Colbert, a fellow Catholic, asked Biden how his faith had helped him, and Biden might’ve been tempted to draw a gentle distinction between himself and politicians who wield their faith like a weapon. (Earlier that day, Bobby Jindal, a low-polling governor of Louisiana, had said, “It’s clear Donald Trump has never read the Bible.”) Of his own faith, Biden said, “I go to Mass, and I’m able to be just alone. Even in a crowd, you’re alone.” These days, he said, his wife, Jill, sometimes sticks notes on his bathroom mirror to read while he shaves; not long ago, she put up a quote from Kierkegaard: “Faith sees best in the dark.” He said, “The faith doesn’t always stay with you.”

    Biden looked down again, elsewhere for a moment. He patted one hand with the other, and looked up at Colbert, eyebrows raised, as if seeing him for the first time. Colbert was asking a question about “what lessons would you give other people,” and Biden mentioned, as always, an expression from his mother: “As long as you are alive you have an obligation to strive, and you’re not dead until you see the face of God.”

    He marvelled at people who have suffered and “don’t have anything like the support I had.” Then he leaned into Colbert, and said, “I’m not going to embarrass you, but you’re one of them, old buddy.” For a moment, Colbert looked genuinely stumped; he smiled, closed his eyes. When Colbert was ten, his father and two brothers were killed in a plane crash. Biden went on, “Losing your dad when you’re a kid . . . It’s like asking what made your mother do it every day? How did she get up every single day?”
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I hope you both found comfort with forgiveness.

    I am not a Christian or a Jew, although I believe in a higher power that binds us all together and is in all of us, and I believe that we live elsewhere after death. So my way of handling these difficult issues is different. I will share, although I'm sure I have before.

    I do not believe in forgiving people who do not ask for redemption and are not sorry. It's not a part of my beliefs and I don't believe it is the way to let go and move on for myself. I had to let go without forgiveness. I did not let go with hate in my heart. I let go with wisdom, knowing the relationship was dead and that it does no good to stay invested.

    However, I do forgive myself for all the silly mistakes I have made with FOO...and for the times I was not at my best too. I do not blame anybody for my own bad behavior except me, but I forgive me. All of us were provoked and treated badly. I forgive myself for reacting to that and anything I ever did to hurt anybody is on my shoulders. But I won't dwell on that either anymore. I am not "baaaaaaaaaaaad." I am good. All three of us are good. It does not depend upon what a dysfunctional family member thinks of us. It depends on the clarity we have come to see and how our loved ones view us. There are people who want us to feel like we are "baaaaaaaaaad." I invalidate them as insignificant a of today. They do not matter in my life. Those who feel ill of you for family fights and competition and role issues should not matter to any of us. This is the core of where I think all of our problems with some members of our FOO are rooted. Childhood.

    Thank you for some excellent, thought-provoking articles.
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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    The Birth of Forgiveness (Vayigash 5775)
    22 December 2014

    There are moments that change the world: 1439 when Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press (though the Chinese had developed it four centuries before), or 1821 when Faraday invented the electric motor, or 1990 when Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web. There is such a moment in this week’s parsha, and in its way it may have been no less transformative than any of the above. It happened when Joseph finally revealed his identity to his brothers. While they were silent and in a state of shock, he went on to say these words:

    “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Gen. 45: 4-8)
    Lasted edited by : Sep 13, 2015
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    To me, this means that the course of events in our lives have been laid out. They were meant to have happened or were foretold. Free choice exists in how we respond to the events with which we are confronted.
    This is the part of Genesis where the brothers have not understood that Joseph had forgiven him years before. When their and Joseph's father dies, they believe that Joseph will exact vengeance upon them. They have invented the lie that Jacob has ordered Joseph to show mercy to his brothers, upon his father's death.

    What is implied here is the understanding that the brothers are not entirely responsible for their bad acts. Because they had been put in the situation having sold their brother into slavery, before even the concept of forgiveness and repentance had been codified. And thus were ignorant. Also implied is the fact that while they had free choice, they had been in fact agents of G-d, in that they had been enacting G-d's will by their acting in circumstances that he had in fact created and willed.
    To me this means, that Joseph had no will for vengeance. In fact, he suffered as his brothers suffered. He was not served by continued and unnecessary suffering, nor is G-d or life itself, served.
    I find this fascinating. The author cites higher mammals as demonstrating this behavior, but dogs and cats do too. Subordinate themselves to restore hierarchy and diffuse conflict.

    Actually, I do this too. A lot. I call it giving up my power. In my life I have shown my jugular all of the time, in order to make myself safer to others.
    Well, now we are getting to my situation. I think I have been trapped in abasement, for much of these past couple of years.
    Yes. How painful to understand, finally. But of course, a sweet pain.
    So we are back to FOO here. The answer is in FOO. I have put myself to bed, in an abasement ritual. To show the powerful one who I have wronged that they do not need to punish me:
    The rest of the article goes on to explain why Joseph forgives, in this first recorded instance in human history. And why specifically a new morality was born specifically within Judaism.
    I believe my bad act with my mother is that I put myself first. I left her. I felt that at her side I would never become a full person or adult. I felt that I would always subordinate myself, and my own needs to serve her and her interests. I felt that I could never go beyond hiding in her skirts, which did not protect me. Rather, they were a prison. I wanted a life...even if it was a crippled and difficult one. I left that was my offense. And I would never go back to change the balance of power. I would never submit again.

    The thing is that in my family, in me, family responsibility is everything. I put personal expression, my own personal development...ahead of my family responsibilities.

    In the course of this post I have seen that I changed. That when I went back for my mother, and the months while she was dying, I changed. While there were missteps I changed. I did put my mother first. My family first.

    While I know why I left my mother and stayed far from her for most of my life, inside of me, this was wrong. I know I would have been consumed by her. I know that she did wrong things to me. But inside of me, I did a wrong thing. Even if I did the right thing, inside of me it was wrong. I admit that. I did wrong.
    And I see that I repented. Because when faced with the opportunity to commit the same offense again, I did not. Over and over again as my mother died, I chose to stay by her and with her. I had changed. I have earned forgiveness. I deserve to forgive myself.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    An overcomer (of scorn), rather than a victim of, our own scorn.

    The betrayal of self; that is what we engage in ~ an ongoing betrayal of self, when we refuse to forgive, not them, but ourselves, for the essential betrayal of self involved in believing ourselves to be who they told us we were.

    For believing we could ever be that cheapened thing they told us, and tell us, we are.

    What they believe has nothing to do with us unless we betray ourselves into believing what they see when they see us.

    That is the sin to be forgiven. That is the betrayal, here.

    How forgive ourselves for having been sold, like Joseph, into slavery to the precepts of some game we do not understand and yet, cannot forgive ourselves that we were betrayed, that we were not cherished? How forgive ourselves for believing we could be so easily bought or traded or sold?

    How forgive myself that I am hated; that I am not cherished. That I am not generously welcomed; that I am not seen with joy by those I betrayed myself to believe loved me.

    How forgive myself for the taste of betrayal in it; for the taste of betrayal in believing, time after time, that their betrayal could make me less than I intrinsicly am?


    Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength.

    Victims of our own scorn.


    There is not even anger, here. Only the deep sadness that is the loneliness of having been shunned; only the feeling of walking into the night, of navigating by what stars there are. (A multitude; a countless, uncountable number of stars reflected, as we search them for meaning, in our eyes.)

    So will I know you, by the stars...
    by those brilliant, icy stars, shining undiminished in your eyes.

    Here is the poetry:

    Tomorrow will find me
    a prisoner
    Locked from sight; from scent and sound
    of you

    Time measured not in hours
    but in decades

    So, come near to me, now...
    come gaze upon those brilliant, icy stars
    Then let this be the memory, deep engraved
    on both our hearts

    into both our fallible brains

    So that when I return
    years hence
    Though your beauty then, be spent ~
    though my face be a caricature of the face
    before you now

    Yet will I know you, by the stars....

    By those brilliant, icy stars
    shining undiminished, in your eyes.

    That's us.

    Coming home.


    Forgiveness: A choice that takes courage and strength.

    Victims of our own scorn.

    Forgiveness has everything to do with the scorn in which we hold ourselves. I may have been sold, but I am the one who, in believing myself saleable, betrayed myself.

    That is the thing that needs to be forgiven.

    That is the essential betrayal.

    Forgiving them or myself for what they have done brings anger; their actions are not forgivable things. Harm was done me; betrayal occurred and is ongoing. In forgiving either them or myself, I declare myself powerless. I choose a chosen happiness in the now over that forever secret of shame.

    That is not victory.

    In forgiving either them, for what they did, or in forgiving myself, for having been powerless to stop them, I revictimize myself. Those poops are not going to change.

    The system is working, for them.

    I betray myself, in forgiving them or myself for what happened, by giving over to them, one more time, the power of self definition. Like Joseph, I was sold. The betrayal here is that, unlike Joseph, I believed myself that which could be sold.

    That is the essential betrayal, here.

    That is what must be forgiven.

    That I carry the shame of having been sold; that I name myself a sold thing.

    That is the sin that must be forgiven.

    That is my sin.

    That I did not hold faith with myself; that I came to scorn myself for their betrayal.

    The shame of naming myself slave in the master / slave relationship my mother set up and my sister seems, unbelievably enough, determined to inherit. This is what my mother and my sister know.

    That is why my sister could claim the righteousness of walking with the Lord regarding her relationship to me.

    That is why she could do what she did to my daughter; to my son.

    Forgiving ourselves for having sold ourselves out; forgiving ourselves for having believed that they, or that anyone, could ever define the value or purpose of a life. Forgiving ourselves for the crime of self-hatred, forgiving ourselves for having come to view ourselves with their scorn; for viewing ourselves with the scorn they hold for those enslaved. Forgiving ourselves for having worn the abusive mother's valence like a skin; scornful of the slave.

    Beauty, for ashes.

    Ashes, on the westwind, blown.



    To hold ourselves in scorn, or to forgive ourselves for having believed them when they told us we were slaves; for having believed, because they sold us, that we could be sold.

    Forgiveness, for having believed them in all things; for having believed with them that the wonder of our aliveness could be a cheapened thing.

    Forgiveness for self betrayal into shame, into scorn.

    A haughty spirit. This describes that feeling attending the term grandiosity addicted.

    So he is describing humility, here.

    This is Alice Walker: Expect Nothing

    Expect nothing. Live frugally
    On surprise.
    Become a stranger
    To need of pity
    Or, if compassion be freely
    Given out
    Take only enough
    Stop short of the need to plead
    Then purge away the need.

    Wish for nothing larger
    Than your own small heart
    Or greater than a star;
    Tame wild disappointment
    With caress unmoved and cold
    Make of it a parka
    For your soul.

    Discover the reason why
    So tiny human midget
    Exists at all
    So scared unwise
    But expect nothing. Live frugally
    On surprise.

  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Maybe this is where I will get to, Serenity.

    I still feel sad; I still feel betrayed.

    "I invalidate them as insignificant as of today."

    It doesn't feel insignificant, to me. I am so angry, still. It all feels so stupidly wrong.

    A treasure of tin.

    A cheat, or a trick.

    It is what it is. I am coming into acceptance of that, but I don't much care for it.

    I will just have to be angry and offended for a little time more, maybe.

    That would make sense, as I refigure the shame base. It could be that this is the anger I once turned on myself. Now, I am focusing it outward; now, I am naming criminal behavior for what it is, instead of believing the fraud or the coward or the criminal here, is me.

    But I am seeing that I am the one who imprisoned myself.


  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Cedar, just keep posting. As you see them with more clarity, they will seem almost cartoonish in their behavior. They are not worth your anger, but anger is part of the cycle to apathy. Now I'm not apathy is even healthy. I posted a new thread about THAT. But I'm sort of there. I think I could see them b oth at my dad's funeral (hopefully in twenty years) and not even care. At one time I was thinking of not attending because they feared and hurt me so much. Now? What can they do to me that they haven't already tried? And they failed to break me then and they can't now.

    Daphne about did me in. Only a very insignificant person in my life would bother to post things like she apparently did. I am obviously more important to her than she is to me. And I spent so many tears over her for nothing. She was never the well
    balanced, stable person I thought her to be. She was always weak, needy, demeaning, and controlling, but I saw that as stable. I didn't realize that what she'd done to my brother and then my grandma was cruel...and that it could be turned on me. WTH?

    Well, she can say what she wants about me now. I won't know or care. You can't care if you don't know.

    Boy, do I have a warped sense of stable. or I used to.
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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Alright for Joseph, then.

    So the wisdom in the parable is that, in telling the end of even this story, we are locking ourselves (imprisoning ourselves, again) into a version of reality that may have no validity.

    Sort of like saying, "I don't know why this happened, but it did. And here I am. And I don't know anymore about why than they do.

    But it happened.

    And either we have faith, or we don't. Since we are still here, then we are here on purpose, and our job is to do whatever is in front of us to do in the kindest way we know to do it, today.

    But here is the thing: Did Joseph's family re-enslave him. Did they resent and revile and reject him in their hearts.

    I did prepare food for them.

    And I suppose the answer is still the same.

    Either we have faith, or we don't. And whether we do or not, here we still are.





    For me, this is the issue of self betrayal.

    Do we betray ourselves because we've been betrayed. (shame) That is where we fell.

    Into shame.

    That was the wrong thing we did. And was probably the only thing we had a choice in.

    But I think Joseph cried, when he saw the father's supposed letter, because he felt himself forgiven of the shame, of the stain of the betrayal, in his having been sold away from his family by his family. In that the letter proved that the father had believed, all along, that what the brothers had done in selling Joseph away was wrong, Joseph could come clean in himself, to himself.

    There was validation, from Joseph's father, of Joseph's value in the father's eyes.

    In that the father had validated him, Joseph could forgive himself for having been named a thing whose value in trade was worth more to his people, to his own people (!) roar :919Mad:than he was, himself. Joseph could forgive himself for having been named, by his own people, as something with no intrinsic, irreplaceable, value.

    Joseph was intentionally entrapped and exchanged for money, was used as currency in a game of power over.

    Oh, wait.

    That was me.



    The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being.

    I forgot who said that.

    But that is the sting of the thing.





    Well, so I am in an angry frame of mind, today. But what I see, even in this, is that the brothers still see Joseph as someone who hasn't the moral fiber to do other than what they would do, themselves.

    So, given that the brothers take no responsibility for what they've done, going so far as to forge a letter ordering Joseph not to take vengeance, instead of manning up to their deceitful and jealous natures ~ which would indicate the change of heart that mandates forgiveness ~ in this, Joseph sees they have not changed.

    So maybe that is why he cried when he received the letter purportedly written by the father.

    The brothers believe him still to be a thing of no value; a person who can be tricked, but not a person who can be respected.

    The brothers are despicable.

    The other side of that is the craven nature of the brothers' own realities, and of how sad a thing it would be to know no other way to see.

    It comes back to personal choice, again. To forgiving the self and requiring decency in our behaviors, and letting go of outcome.

    It just is what it is. The brothers are in Joseph's power and still believe him to be trickable; they cannot see him as other than they are, themselves.

    If there is anything to forgive the brothers for, it is that they cannot see him as other than they see themselves.

    That is what my sister says, too.

    When she says she walks with the Lord.


    He had conquered his emotions and reframed his understanding of events.

    I don't know how to conquer anger.


    Appeasement of anger.

    So, is the problem I am having with anger these days really an unmasking of the shame of having subordinated myself, even in the core of me where I am who I believe myself to be, to restore hierarchy?



    That's it.

    And diffuse conflict?

    There is a Rambo movie where Sylvester is tortured but refuses to give in until one of his soldiers is threatened. (By the torturing biatch ~ oh, wait. That was me.)

    Okay. So, this makes sense to me, then.

    If the soldier had then turned on Rambo and joined the torturers for dinner, leaving Rambo to eat all alone.

    With no food.

    So I should not blame myself that the soldier chose dinner with the torturers.

    I would do it again; would go through it again. But here is the question: Did I ever have a choice, or am I making a fantasy of protection.

    No, I think that was true.

    The trauma times that I touch that are most traumatic have to do with my brother; with what was happening to him. There are other traumas, but they don't carry guilt. They are shaming, but they do not carry guilt.

    Okay, then. I am sort of a hero. Especially when we remember I was just a little girl then, too.

    I have my own table, now. As it was for the French in their meeting with the English king, it is "Very nice."


    That's good, then.

    I am good, and not a worm, at all.

    On we go.

    Who did you hurt, Copa?

    You were the victim.

    The perpetrator may abase herself to the victim....

    Copa, you were the victim.

    Who have you wronged, Copa?

    You are punishing yourself.

    You are the powerful one.

    I hear what you are saying in one way: That you believe yourself to have committed an unpardonable offense and, fearing vengeance, have punished yourself.

    But you have committed no crime, Copa.

    I hear you when you post about where you believe yourself to have committed actions meriting punishment...but I see those same actions as heroic.

    As necessary, and heroic, and loving. Courageously defiant, even.

    Yet you insist on interpreting your thoughts and actions as intentional unkindnesses.

    A state of cognitive dissonance, because both interpretations are true.

    Have mercy, for Copa.

    It seems to me that Joseph restored his own dignity in acknowledging that his brothers did not have the capacity to be other than they were. There was no shame then in having been devalued and sold. He had not been devalued and sold by people like him, by people he could respect because they were like him. So, Joseph no longer felt himself in complicity with his own devaluation.

    Joseph forgave his brothers for who they were. Not for what they did. Joseph made what sense he could out of what they did and in that, freed himself from their interpretations of his value.

    Because they did not love him. That was the hurt in having been sold, for Joseph. The slavery, that part, he survived. It was the betrayal in the way the brothers (and the father) saw him, the betrayal in who they were determined he was, that Joseph needed to heal from.

    Joseph needed to answer that question about who he was for himself.

    All around him, all his life, every mirror reflected a dark and ugly reality.

    In figuring everything out, Joseph, finding his self respect, was able again to love his own life.

    Yes, Copa.


  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member


    1. the action or fact of abasing or being abased; humiliation or degradation.
      synonyms: humiliation, humbling, belittlement, lowering, degradation, debasement

      "only a fiend delights in the abasement of his children.


    Dictionary entry overview: What does self-abasement mean?

    The noun SELF-ABASEMENT has 1 sense:

    1. voluntary self-punishment in order to atone for some wrongdoing

    Familiarity information: SELF-ABASEMENT used as a noun is very rare.

    Joseph is not absolving the brothers from responsibility for their bad acts. He is dismissing their power over acts and attitudes as inconsequential. The brothers are nobodies.

    He is saying, G-d and I determine the meaning of things. Not you. The power you think you had and have is illusory. My life has been defined by me. In the circumstances in which G-d has placed me (or nature or providence) I have defined myself. I give you no importance whatsoever (French Soldier. I already have one. It is better.)
    Yes. Our self-betrayal is accepting their definitions.
    Cedar, I think there is a choice here. Joseph had the choice to accept the brother's definition or accepting G-d. He chose to see himself in accordance with G-d's plan (or nature's or providence or destiny) instead of the brothers'. There is always this choice available to us. To take control mentally. I believe that Existentialism is founded upon this.

    By using the concept of shunning, you keep the power in the abusers, Cedar. Why do you choose to do that?
    But Jacob Joseph's father was still limited to thinking in terms of abasement, that Joseph would require that his brothers be humiliated or shunned, in order to restore the social relationship.

    Joseph cried because he had moved beyond this. He had gone to the next level. The next level deprives evil, bad actors of their power over us. Their power over our minds and the way we understand ourselves and our lives.

    We have no control over whether or not others think in terms of abasement. Our power is limited to ourselves. At every instant we can transform our own thinking about ourselves, and thus render absolutely powerless the abusers acts.
    That is what Serenity tried (and pretty much succeeded) with Daphne and her sister. She defined herself as beyond their petty bull. Her sister and Daphne could not touch her...because she went to the next level. What they do to her and think of her do not matter. Because she is in a different and more meaningful relationship. Whether you call it G-d or providence or destiny or nature or her purpose. Where she defines the meaning and nobody else.
    The task for us here is to provide that validation to each other and to ourselves. And to render their language and their naming, something that no longer matters.
    The crimes are the same against Joseph and against each of us. Until Joseph, the only response to crimes against us was abasement.

    If one believed a crime was committed against one, we required the other to submit, to lower themselves, to degrade themselves to us. Conversely, to restore good graces with the "winner" the "loser" would abase themselves to re-enter and restore relationship.

    Cedar, it is this that your mother is requiring you to do to rejoin the family. She is requiring a ritual of abasement, of humiliation.

    Serenity, it is this that your sister is trying to submit you to. By public humiliation. She is attempting to restore the relationship with you, by lowering you and elevating herself.

    I am atoning for a perceived wrong in my family by self-abasement. I have been voluntarily punishing myself in all manner of ways.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

    Difference between shame and guilt cultures

    In shame cultures what matters is what other people think of you: the embarrassment, the ignominy, the loss of face. Whereas in guilt cultures it’s what the inner voice of conscience tells you. In shame cultures we’re actors playing our part on the public stage. In guilt cultures we’re engaged in inner conversation with the better angels of our nature.

    The biggest difference is that in shame cultures, if we’re caught doing wrong, there’s a stain on our character that only time can erase. But guilt cultures make a sharp distinction between the doer and the deed, the sinner and the sin. That’s why guilt cultures focus on atonement and repentance, apology and forgiveness. The act was wrong, but on our character there’s no indelible stain.

    In shame cultures, if you’ve done wrong, the first rule is, don’t be found out. If you are, then bluff your way through. Only admit when every other alternative has failed, because you’ll be disgraced for a very long time indeed.

    Shame has a place in any moral system, but when it dominates all else, when all we have is trial by public exposure, then the more reluctant people will be to be honest, and the more suspicious we’ll become of people in public life, not just in medicine but in politics, the media, financial institutions, corporations, and let’s be honest, in religious organisations too.

    We need to make it easier for people to be honest and apologise, which means that we too must learn how to forgive.
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Had Joseph remained trapped in shame because of how his family defined him, he could never have recovered himself. Because self-definition would have been impossible. You were defined socially.

    When Joseph began to have an inner conversation, he came to have the means to define himself, independent of anybody else. His father's or brother's definitions had lost their power. It was as if he learned another language, and was no longer responsive to the old one.

    There is never change possible in the language of our families. That is a shame-based language. As long as we think of ourselves within that system, we remain enslaved to the system. There is no way out for us.

    I disagree Cedar. Joseph did not cry because he felt freed by Jacob's words. He felt sadness because he saw that his family was still trapped in their old way of thinking. In abasement thinking. Joseph saw he was alone. That is why he cried, I think.
    I think Joseph had left behind, long before, the betrayal of his brothers and father. I think he cried for their limitation, that still endured. Like Serenity's sadness for herself, because she has no real sister anymore. Her illusions are gone. Her sadness is for herself, because she will never have her...and her sadness is for her sister...who remains so limited and will likely always be. She does not cry because her sister can define her. Like Joseph, Serenity's internal change in the way she sees her life and herself means her sister cannot, and can never again define her.
    See, Serenity and Daphne are still working in a shame-based culture, where abasement is the only way to respond to social breaches, to restore relationship.

    With Serenity it no longer works. For Serenity shunning is a word that no longer exists in her new language about herself. She (still imperfectly but better and better) has rendered herself impervious to the language of shame.
    Yes. To wit, Serenity.
    Joseph did not have to reject his brothers or to punish them. He chose to in order to educate them, so that they would be changed.

    This is where the works (that were above and now are not) are pertinent. We will always hold as wrong bad deeds. We have the capacity to differentiate between bad deeds and the actor that has committed them. I believe I have done this with my mother. What has been hard is doing it for myself.

    It is not that I believe consciously that I did wrong, bad things. It is because I am holding myself responsible as if I did. This is an opportunity to change myself. To begin to learn mercy for myself.

    When I went to my mother I seem to have taken on again her language of seeing myself in relation to her and my sister, perhaps too.

    I guess the process for me is returning to my own language or learning a new one, in relationship to myself. While I integrate my life with my mother and sister. I do not believe I have ever done so.

    Like Joseph, I went to Egypt and I built a life there. I never had to deal with the brothers and Jacob until one day they showed up at my house.

    I cried, too.
    This is an earthshaking distinction that I need to understand better.
    My Mother and especially yours, Cedar, come to mind here.
    Or what we think of ourselves.
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    "The Greek word sugnome, sometimes translated as forgiveness, really means, says Konstan, exculpation or absolution. It is not that I forgive you for what you did, but that I understand why you did it."

    (This quote is from my orig. post which has been deleted by mods. It is from the article by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks about Joseph and forgiveness.)

    I think this explanation about the roots of the word forgiveness, for me, completely cleanses the horribleness of the conventional understanding, which seems colored by the necessity of self-abasement. You as if have to betray yourself, in order to forgive. To me, to understand, does not require this self-humiliation, the need to as if say, I did not deserve better.
  17. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Guilt, and expiation, for an action taken.

    For an action taken.

    Versus shame for being a person who would take such an action.

    As I am seeking to label and blame and shame my family of origin for being people who would take the actions each has taken. Versus noting the right or wrong of whatever the action was without condemning the person who took the action. Or, without condemning myself for having been the person the action was taken against.

    The guilt culture allows for circumstance; stealing bread if you are too poor to pay the price asked versus overcharging for bread though you are aware the price asked is more than necessary. But nonetheless, the breadmaker accuses the poor man of thievery. Both things are wrong, but the greater wrong is the person overcharging for bread. In the culture of guilt, the person overcharging for bread would be responsible for both crimes.

    And would make expiation and continue making bread. Only this time, the poor man could afford it and so, no thievery because the correct criminal was indicted.

    No shame.

    A simple acknowledgment of human nature. Any of us might do what any of us have done, given the right set of circumstances.

    No moral highground to be claimed or defended or lost.

    I am thinking about this, Copa.

  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Your post was deleted?

    I am sorry, Copa. I enjoyed reading each of your posts, and found nothing offensive in them.

    I wonder whether I got to see that one.

    I will look it up online. I am enjoying our discussion very much. I am learning new things, new ways of thinking.

    I am very sorry your post was deleted.

    For heaven's sake.

  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I can tell you, Daphne was the finally straw. It made me laugh.

    "SWOT, you can not take this seriously anymore. Grow up."

    Sometimes things get so ridiculous, they no longer matter.
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I believe I have done this too.
    Now, this is tough for me. This is the hard part. I am feeling very sad and bad because of this latest issue involving censorship. It is hard not to feel wrong. Shut up. Silenced. Shamed. Shunned. I feel on the verge of tears.

    I am afraid because, still, the powers that be have something I need and want. I need and want this work. By inserting a power relation in it, that can muzzle me, make me bad, I am not safe. The choices are to stop and leave, or to continue and be censored.

    There are no other remedies. This is the nature of a power over relationship. I accept it. Then why do I feel so sad and bad? Why not angry?
    Yes, as we were accused.
    It can be. But I think the learning here is that nothing is gained by it. Rather we lose part of our best selves.

    When I insist upon seeing my sister as an abuser, I put myself in the role of her victim. When I want the best for her, I liberate myself from the need to be her jailer or accuser in my own mind. I no longer have to be in conversation with her. She is speaking in another language. I have my own. Anything I say to her in my own mind...where I return to speak her language...diminishes me. I choose not to do it. I will speak in my own language. As did Joseph.

    I can apply the same thinking to this current situation.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015