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I am so glad that you are still with me — evidently still pushing through all the resistance that I know keeps coming up. As you deconstruct that story of yours bit by bit until it gets down to the bare facts of what happened, there’s a part of you that really doesn’t want to give up the story or the beliefs embedded in it.

After all, victim stories can be very useful. We can use them very effectively to get what we want and to manipulate other people. We can use our story to justify many of our otherwise questionable positions or behaviors. We can use our story to blame others for our shortcomings. These are known as ‘secondary gains.’

I bet you can think of many times when you have used your story for these purposes, not to mention fooling yourself. You might want to journal some of it.

Is it any wonder therefore that giving up the story brings up so much anxiety? Of course not. It is to be expected. However, hang in with me, I can assure you, the payoff will be worth it. Those secondary gains were not very valuable anyway. All they did was take away your power.

Leaving that aside for now, what I want you to do now is an exercise that will prove that you have been able to deconstruct fully your story and reduce it to just the bare facts of what happened.

I want you to imagine that you are a newspaper reporter and that you have been assigned to write a very factual, non-emotional, account of what happened. You are told to report only the factual elements of the story as such, with no interpretations. Write it as if you had interviewed yourself and the person you are working on forgiving, had researched the story carefully and you are now writing a report for the newspaper. Be as neutral and objective as you can. It should not take very long.

Click continue to access your online journal and begin writing.