EP70 How to Forgive Yourself

Living With Your Child's Addiction Podcast
Living With Your Child's Addiction Podcast
EP70 How to Forgive Yourself

Do you feel guilty or blame yourself a lot? Forgiving yourself is the path to emotional freedom and connection.  If you feel guilty about something you did or didn’t do or you’re blaming yourself for your child’s substance use then forgiving yourself is how you work through it. If you don’t forgive yourself, the guilt and blame keep you stuck. In this episode, Heather gives you 5 steps to self-forgiveness.  


Resources From Heather Ross Coaching

NEW GUIDE ABOUT ENABLING – If you’ve ever worried about enabling, this guide is for you! https://heatherrosscoaching.com/perspective-about-enabling/

GROUP COACHING PROGRAM – Join the waitlist – New Group Starting soon! Be the first to get details. https://heatherrosscoaching.com/peace-of-mind-community/

If you want coaching about your child’s addiction or anything else Sign up for a 45 minute $17 call with me using the link below


There’s a new parent support group in Town. Use the link below to find out about the Invitation to Change support group Heather is hosting.

Learn More & Sign Up For The Invitation To Change Group

Follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/heatherrosscoaching

Follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/heatherrosscoaching/

Join the free Facebook group for parents who are struggling with a child’s addiction

Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/heather-ross9/message


This transcript has not been formatted or edited.


I’m Heather after many wasted years, trying outdated, approaches to my daughter’s addiction, that felt wrong to me harmed.

Our relationship and didn’t help my daughter.

I finally found an effective evidence-based approach.


That repair my relationship with her helped me.

Create my own peace of mind and made me an ally in my daughter’s recovery.

I teach you a loving and compassionate approach to help you encourage change.

And create connection addiction impacts the entire family system.


Family recovery is the answer.

This is my third attempt to record this podcast.

Episode today is one of those days and I want to talk about self-forgiveness and hopefully everything I’ve said isn’t going to jumbled into my head because this has happened before and then I couldn’t remember what I said in which episode, but self-forgiveness has been a critical part of my healing Journey.


Through my daughter Helena’s addiction and then through my loss of her, and I find myself talking to clients about them needing to forgive themselves as well quite often.


And they always ask me how, how do I forgive myself.

So, in this episode today, I’m going to give View the how certainly there’s other ways to do it but I think this way that I’m going to offer you today is pretty Universal and if you take the time to apply it it will work.


So do yourself a kind favor and go through the steps that I’m going to share with you.

But before I share those steps with you, I want to share that even though the invitation to change group has started, you can still join.


So if you signed up and you are not coming to the meetings, but you would like to then it’s not too late.

You can pick up right?

Where we are and either read the curriculum in the book, Or you can do it the next time around because I’m going to start over again in anybody who wants to that’s doing it.


Now, can go through the invitation to change program again or it will have new people in it, so anything that you missed, you can just catch the next time around and we’re having such great deep candid conversations in those.


Meetings as we learn the invitation to change approach and I love that like we’re learning and supporting that both things are happening at the same time, in the meetings.

I think that that’s a beautiful combination.

So I’m going to put a link for anybody who wants to sign up in the show notes and if you already signed up and you haven’t been coming to the meetings, then join us because I think you’ll really enjoy it.


Back to self-forgiveness so even though I’ve done I don’t know I feel like I’m good something that I’m constantly working on is forgiving myself.

I’ve never really documented the process.

So it’s always hard for me to answer when people say how and that’s also partly because my healing journey I think is always evolving and unfolding.


So I’ve used a lot of different processes at different times based on In the synchronicities are signs that I was seeing when I was following, what I was led to do.

So I don’t really stop and do some soul-searching about what to share is a process.


But I came up with a five step process and before I give you the steps, I just want to talk a little bit more about how important self-forgiveness is because it’s very freeing.

It’s a gift of self.


If healing that you can give to yourself and that gift keeps on giving to everybody, you love, because it frees you to expand into a deeper connection with yourself.

And then when you have a deeper connection with yourself, you can have a deeper connection with everyone else in your life, your relationship with yourself.


Is your most critical relationship in all your other relationships.

From that.

So when you’re right with yourself, it will help you be in a healthy loving relationship with everyone.


And another important part of that is your inner voice.

Your inner critic stems from how you feel about yourself and that inner voice is the narrator of your life, it shapes your experience of everything.


So you want to do this work so you can have a kind compassionate, loving relationship with yourself, so that your inner voice, reflects that and most of the people that I’ve worked with need some kind of self-forgiveness, and they also need to grieve the loss of what they expected, their parenting experience to be like, and who they thought they would.


As parents, there’s so much pain in there and that gap between expectations and realities that hasn’t been identified as a loss.

Even if it’s just something that you believed that you would have but you never had and you know that you’re not going to have that’s a loss that needs to be grieved and that’s a whole nother episode but it’s just something that I wanted to point out.


But self-forgiveness Des is needed for your perceived shortcomings, as a parent or mistakes that you think you made, that doesn’t mean I’m saying that you’ve done anything wrong, but if you think that you’ve done something wrong, you’re going to experience guilt.


Maybe shame self-blame, you’re going to experience that no matter what anybody else says, if you believe that about yourself.

So So that you need to forgive yourself.

If you’re feeling a lot of guilt or blaming yourself for everything in blame, comes from the belief that somebody or something has to be at fault, that everything is either right or wrong, that everything is Black or White one-size-fits-all rather than allowing there to be gray area.



Because humans in life are just really damn complicated and messy.

Blame Keeps Us stuck in the problem.

And what I’ve observed Within Myself about blame is I don’t blame her Lana for a lot of things.


I’ve not blamed her for her passing, or haven’t blamed her.

I’ve been mad at her for using that night.

I think it’s because I don’t see her substance use.

Is right or wrong.

It’s a gray area.

I haven’t had the need to find fault or blame her for a really long time years.


Her substance use is in that really, damn complicated.

Human Experience category for me, but I don’t give myself quite so much grace and that’s something that I’m working on.

There are things that I blame myself for that, I have to continue to forgive myself, That I feel guilt for and guilt.


Comes from thinking, we did something wrong or didn’t do something.

We should have in somebody will suffer because of it and those feelings.

Those emotions are important because they’re a signal, they’re sending us a message telling us something we need to learn that something we need to understand so that we can move into our future.


We’re not Meant to stay there.

When we don’t take the lesson and move forward, then we stay stuck in these emotions and they keep us in the past in like, reliving our transgressions.

And it keeps us from that free future that we want.


And it keeps us from connecting to the people that we love the way we want.

Especially if our kids, if we’re feeling guilty about them.

So over the last year or so self-forgiveness has And a critical part of my grief Journey.


Realizing things that I thought I had forgiven myself for that.

My forgiveness was conditional that I forgave myself, as long as I could spend the rest of my life, making it up to her by being a better mom.


But then when I lost that opportunity to make it up to her for the rest of my life.


I had to go way deeper into forgiveness because I felt so much guilt and shame about those things because of choices that I had made and people that I brought into her life.


So I’m working on forgiving myself at a much deeper level and I think something that’s important to point out about forgiveness is that it comes in layers like the Hours of an onion.


So sometimes I forgive myself like one teeny tiny, you know, so thin you can see through it layer of the onion and other times with other things that I don’t have as much of an emotional charge with.

I can forgive myself, several layers at a time.


I can move forward faster.

But some of my most painful regrets are the ones that I have to approach forgiving myself for over and over again.

And that forgiveness was necessary for me to move forward with any sort of peace and it’s the same thing for you.


And in these cases, where the thing that we need to forgive ourselves is pretty far as pretty painful.

I want you to think of it as an ongoing process rather than an event.

So it’s just like recovery.


It’s an ongoing process of learning and growing.

And I try to approach that with love and compassion and curiosity for myself.

So let’s move on to the how now it’s a five-step process.


Don’t let you that scare you.

It’s totally worth it for the freedom that it would give you to start releasing these things that you’re beating yourself up for Step 1, be specific about what you want.


Want to forgive yourself for.

So what is this specific situation?

That’s causing you that guilt or that you’re blaming yourself for.

So, instead of thinking something really broad, like I’m a bad mom, I want you to focus on a specific incident where you felt like a bad mom and maybe there’s something you did or didn’t do or didn’t know, write that down.


Hound, try to get it down to one percent ice sentence.

So, an example of that is something that I have to keep forgiving myself for is the times that I use tough love instead of listening to my heart and values and all of the anger and chaos and judgment that happened in our lives.


Because of it step, to decide that you are worthy of.


And you can do that right now while you’re listening, it can be that easy.

It’s just a decision that you are done, punishing yourself, and being held back by guilt and blame or shame mean.


What if there’s more to learn and forgiving yourself, then, punishing yourself.

Step 3.

Question yourself.

Did you actually do anything wrong?

Is the guilt that you’re feeling appropriate to the situation.


It is so important to question, what your brain is telling you that you did wrong because sometimes our brain tell us us big stories about things that we did, and that’s just to keep us safe.

That comes from our Primal brain, trying to keep us.


Making sure that we remain part of the tribe.

We don’t want to make anybody mad.

So it’s always looking for what we did wrong.

But there’s a reason that we do, the things we do.

So an invitation to change, one of the things we’ve talked about is how behaviors make sense that our kids substance use make sense because they’re getting something out of it.


If it was like putting their hand on a hot stove, they would stop.

So how does what you did make sense?

Where there any contributing factors to why you did it?

How have your life experiences played into the Actions that you took sort through it.


Try to understand yourself even though it doesn’t make sense.

Now, with hindsight and new information, how did what you did make sense back then according to what you knew, then, even if your actions were misguided like, you may have taken them thinking that it was the right thing to do.


At the time, that was my case.

That it Makes sense that I use tough love with Elana because everybody told me to, like all the experts that I turned to and I was scared and desperate and even though my behavior makes sense from that perspective, I still wish that I had done things differently and maybe the word wrong doesn’t feel like the best fit here.


What I don’t like is that I strayed from my values, as a mom, I treated my daughter differently than I have ever treated her before and nobody But he deserves to be treated that way.

It’s not who I want to be, is a person in this world.

So I need to keep moving forward on to step four and that forgiveness process, but some of you might stop right here.


This might be the end for you.

You might decide that the way that you were thinking about, it wasn’t very intentional and maybe you didn’t actually do anything wrong.

Step 4, can you make it right?

Is there something that you can do about what you feel guilty about and need self forgiveness, for that would make it right?


If you can do that thing?

One way that I did, that was by working hard to change the parts of me that were so full of fear that I was willing to act.


So, Only then my values as a mom when times got tough, I told her Lana that I was sorry.

And then I showed her over and over again that I had changed and that she could depend on me to be predictable.


And that she could trust that when times got hard again, I would continue to check in with my values in that she knew she could always count on me.

So if being a good mom, is measured by a willingness to take accountability for where I fell short and take responsibility for my actions and learn about our way.


That I’m a damn good mom because like Maya Angelou says, when you know better, you did better, you do better.

And that’s what I did.

The more I learn, the better I did, and I was willing to look long and hard in the mirror and tolerate the pain of not.


Liking a lot of things that I had done, and rather than turning back.

What I wanted to and numbing it out.

I just kept looking and changing.

And so when my brain is being an asshole about every single mistake that I ever made, I keep reminding myself of how much I change.


And sometimes you can’t make it right.

Like for me there’s nothing I can do to change what happened and also what I did to make it right.

Just doesn’t feel like enough at this point and there’s some situations that come up for me daily.


And until I’m able to totally forgive myself for them.

I will feel guilt and shame every time they come up, but I also feel self-compassion to like, I see the complexity of The Human Experience in it and the guilt and shame have slowly come down over the last year, as my self compassion has gone up.


And this is an example of forgiveness, being an ongoing process and not an event.

And something else that I think is really important to mention here, is that if anybody else is involved like a spouse, you can’t hold a grudge against that person and still be able to forgive yourself.


So, I realized one day when I was coaching someone and immediately knew that, that person could Not forgive themselves.

If they were still holding a grudge against their spouse, you have to find forgiveness for everybody involved in the situation.


If you want to fully forgive yourself and its complex, life is complex in the process of forgiving.

The most painful situations is really complex to Step 5, feel the guilt in your body so you can release it and this might be one of the hardest steps for you if you’re resistant to the way emotions, feel in your body, if that’s really uncomfortable for you and you’ve been resisting feeling your emotions, they start to collect in your body, waiting for you to release them.


So, if you think about like a dam with its blocking the water in a lake from going, It into a river.

If the you know, heavy rains is going to cause that water to rise and some of that water has got to be let out into the river.


So feeling your emotions like that in your body and releasing them is an important part of this process.

When an emotion is really intense like this, you can’t just intellectualize it.


You need to physically release that Energy from your body.

It’s like a duck flapping their wings.

After a run-in with another duck, right?

They flap their wings to release all of that energy and the process of steps.


One through four, right?

Those are happening in your brain, that’s intellectualizing it.

Those parts are important.

But step 5 of that mind-body experience of releasing.

It is just Important.


So if you’ve been resisting the discomfort of feeling emotions in your body, this might take some practice, but it’s well worth it.

And you might have to do it a couple of times, maybe even get some help.

Like I try to do this regularly, that’s why I get energy healing and go to a lot of sound baths because there’s been times that I’ve re-released what felt like a lifetime of emotions from just one energy healing session.


Or one sound bath when I was going through, some particularly heavy stuff in my life, I just left there feeling so much relief and so much lighter.

It was just incredible.

So if you struggle to do this on your own, look for what speaks to you a sound bath energy, healing, some somatic therapist, anything like that that will help you release these motions from your physical body.


So that’s the last step, I’m just going to recap now.

Step 1.

Be specific about what you want to forgive yourself for.

Put it in one sentence step to decide that you are worthy of forgiveness.


Step 3, don’t just believe your thoughts, question them decide, if you really did anything, wrong step 4, make it right?

If you can step 5, I’ve feel the guilt in your body so you can release it.


Okay, that’s it for today.

One last thing though.

If this podcast has helped you please, make sure you subscribe and leave a review on iTunes reviews.

Help me reach more parents that need this podcast and it would really mean a lot to me if you did that.


So thank you.

Thank you for listening to this episode.

If you want to learn more about my work, go to Heather.

Ross coaching.com if you want to help other parents who are struggling with a child’s addiction, you can do it two different ways.


First, you can share the podcast with them directly or you can share it on your social media second.

You can leave a review, talk to you next week.