THE NECESSITY OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
IF ONE IS TO MOVE FORWARD IN LIFE FROM DYSFUNCTIONALITY
CLEAR, STRONG, DEFINITE, THE TRUTH
The making of a clear and complete acknowledgement is primarily for the person doing the acknowledgement, though it is definitely helpful for those people working with him, so that they can have some degree of faith that their working with him will have some value.
Faith and trust is vital to reestablish (or establish for the first time), but the key point is to use acknowledgement as a clear motivational vehicle and a clear path to the solution. This time this must work, guaranteed, no matter the effort. The person MUST get the results. He must see where he is and clearly recognize that is unacceptable to him to be in that condition or doing those things and to see that the bad results are no longer tolerable and that there is no excuse and no "exit".
He must take full responsibility and see absolutely where he is headed and commit to that destination, in writing, with no "hedging". If he is not willing to fully acknowledge what is so and he is not willing to sign the pledge in writing, then he has some barriers in the way and is not likely to succeed this time either. (For instance, if someone swears to do life learning and they will not sign The Life Value Productivity Pledge, then it is almost guaranteed that it will not work.)
THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT IS MISSING OR NOT CLEAR
To my chiropractor: "I just spent an intense week, with a lot of sitting, in a retreat with my friend and his wife, trying to get him to fix his life. He's 71 and he stays up late doing reports for his church and activities, with lots of pressure, impairing his relationships, health and making him stressed and unhappy."
Ch: "He still needs to work at 71?" (Obviously misheard or it didn't connect that anyone would do that by choice.)
K: "No, it's all for contribution and church purposes."
Ch: "That's crazy, why doesn't he just drop it?"
K: "He has erroneous beliefs and thinks he can't…"
Ch: "Well, good luck on that."
This anxiety of myself and of his spouse would be somewhat assuaged if he fully acknowledged in writing what is actually going on and the level of impact of each piece of it and then put it in his reminders notebook to read daily. (Putting it in definite acknowledgement terms also reduces the anxiety of the person writing it.)
Another vital part of acknowledgement is acknowledging the degree to which it is "crazy" and/or harmful is also important (on a 1-10 scale). Everyone else recognizes this instantly, but often the person doesn't. Because he may not see it, as it could be a blindspot, we have yet to be convinced that he actually sees it clearly.
He should, for sure, right now, put this on his todo list and then choose to do it or not…. If he chooses not to do it, then he is cancelling the agreement to work with him, as there is virtually no chance of his solving the problem.
In working with him, if we are bold and tell the truth, he might end up thinking that we are criticizing him and being unduly mean, whereas what we are trying to do is to speak loudly and clearly enough to make the point, repeating it if he rebuffs or resists it. However, we are actually just making an assessment, which is easy to make and very clear in this case. He has been responding with "reasons" that make sense to him, such as especially "they just don't understand" (I am helpless and overpowered). His reasons get him of the hook of responsibility as it is clearly seeable that he does not do the action necessary to make things work.
He attempts to wiggle out of responsibility or he obscures or he flat out denies what is going on (rather than at least listening and thoroughly examining what another observes).
So he MUST be persuaded to do a full and complete acknowledgement or his and our efforts are likely doomed to another failure.
HOW DO WE CLEARLY FULLY ACKNOWLEDGE SOMETHING?
If we acknowledge something, other than something minor, we MUST write it out clearly with the whole case presented and responsibility full acknowledge and taken. And it must include a commitment as to the actions that will be taken, followed up by actually doing the actions.
The purpose of writing it out is to make perfectly clear to oneself and any other person reading it what is true and what will be done.
The other person might ask for further clarification (which you would add to your written piece), particularly an acknowledgement that adequately, correctly identifies the true impact and urgency needed to solve the problem.
It will also help to convince the other person of your credibility and integrity with regard to what you say you will do, but it, if you are a person who violates your word frequently, as does the person above, may not fully convince them, as they need to see the action very soon.
Promises and intention actually mean nothing in the real world - only action and results showing up in the real world make a difference (promises and good intentions are better than nothing, but they exist only in the metaphysical, theoretical, mental world and don't count, though some people wish that it would).
WHAT WOULD ONE LOOK LIKE, IN DETAIL?
A full acknowledgement would look like the following, or be as close to it as you are capable of. (Yes, you might not realize all that is involved until you get into fixing things - and then it would be necessary to beef up the acknowledgement so that it includes the full, harsh, realistic truth. This should not be a mea culpa and throwing oneself on one's sword nor a confession, but an attempt at being fully objective and to reflect reality toward the end-purpose of solving the named problem completely.)
"I fully acknowledge that for 50 years I have not been sufficiently considerate to my spouse and that there is plenty of evidence backing that up. I have promised to improve, but I have consistently broken my promises, putting her in last place compared to dealing with urgencies and demands. I spent my time in anxiety over work and so I was frantically overdoing it at work, especially timewise, so that I closed out the time without time for her.
I am now retired and I am continuing the same actions but without legitimate financial needs or any true needs that might override my being considerate of her. I tell her that I will, this time, learn and do that which will hold her as first (outside myself, of course). She knows that I love her in terms of "feelings" and being dependent on her, but I do not do the actions that I promise. My behavior does not deliver in the real world. That means that I am actually not "loving" her in terms of reality. I am not meeting the third essential ingredient of "love": Loving. My actions belie my promises - they make my promises false, just as much as any lie would.
I would rate the negative impact on her happiness as an 8 on a scale of 1-10, though it might be higher as I can drive her to be enraged over my behavior.
What I indentify so far as being enraging and/or causing problems that I must and will address with thorough learning and setting aside the time is:
Breaking my promises to be somewhere with her and/or to meet her for some other reason because of my being busy elsewhere with my contribution work. And I don't even call her to let her know, which further upsets her - alot, not a little. I will not do a throw away on this. I will implement a written plan on what I will do. I have been utterly incompetent in this area, with great frequency and causing, thoughtlessly, many disappointments and emotional harm.
I do not listen, but have thought that I could do something else at the same time (!), but I found out that I didn't "get" (understand) the communication. I have not acknowledged and fedback what she said. I will implement active listening always from now on.
I realize also that my behaviors that cause me to feel pressure and anxiety have me feeling bad and preoccupied, so that I don't really have attentions units enough to fully listen. I will not fool myself that I can solve this listening problem without getting rid of the anxiety problem - I realize that it incapacitates me from full functioning. My level of listening is about a 3 and the impact is about a 6-7+ in terms of making her unhappy and discontent.
I realize that my justifications, explanations, continuing array of the same excuses is enraging and frustrating, such that I do not convey to her any acknowledgement of what I did and my responsibility in the matter and do not express specifically what I will do and/or follow up with action. I am totally out of integrity in that area, at a full 10.
I am very fortunate that she has stuck with me, despite my abuse of my commitment to her. I realize that she had good reason to just leave. I do not want to continue not adequately considering her and taking her for granted and throwing her away in terms of being so inconsiderate.
Furthermore, I see that I am not emotionally capable, so I must learn that area, which is a big project and will take time - but I will commit the necessary time and cut back on my contribution work, which has no requirement in it (though people try to impose one on me and take advantage of me). I see that she has much more value than any activity or all the activities put together in the contribution area. (My level of harm in my own emotional well-being is a 9 or 10, or maybe an 11. It must be repaired or I will never be able to reach the level of not continuing to have a negative effect on her overall, net. And I must learn to be emotionally well if I am to create a positive effect on her beyond removing the negative.)
The contribution area and its obligations make it impossible to live a good life, due to all the pressures and anxieties it creates - and I pledge that I will no longer abuse myself and correspondingly my spouse through my constantly "driving her away" such that she cannot hardly stand being in the tension filled toxic environment of anxiety and stress and wants to escape. She is engulfed by it and it hurts her greatly (10).
My repeated promises and my integrity have no more value than bull manure, despite my "good intentions". I realize my good intentions are just ways of excusing myself from actually delivering the goods, because they give me a "back door" to get out of my failure to be responsible.
I realize that I tried to keep my "work" and also do my growth learning and that that didn't work. So I realize I must make a big move rather than to ride the edge of trying to have it all. I realize I have limits and that things vary, such that I must leave buffers to absorb my estimation errors and the variations so that I am not stressed and anxious every other work or worse - I do not do well at that, which is why I need to make a big move and to drop my work so that it does not create harm and so that I have the time to follow through, for sure, on my commitments. My relationship cannot be good as long as I am stressed and anxious and passing that feeling on to my spouse. This incurs irrefutable "emotional contagion".
I also recognize the effect, perhaps from evolution, on my spouse of having a husband who cannot manage his own life. It is greatly alarming to her to have someone as her partner who she is depending on who is not capable and also not reliable at all."
Those this could be improved, that's the idea and the level the acknowledgement must be at. Do not dash it off quickly and inadequately. It deserves a full on effort.
And if that link in the chain of actions and conditions that must exist in order to reach the goal is weak or missing, the end objective WILL NOT be reached!!!!!
A GENERAL ABSTRACTION DOESN'T DO THE TRICK!
Previously he had said that he had a "ruined life" and "really wanted" to do all it woulc take to fix it, so I mistakenly thought that he was "motivated", but he wasn't.
He continued to operate based on the short term demands and urgencies, short term gratification, and on continuing failure to use long term thinking and recognition of consequences.
He continued his childlike viewpoint and stayed, largely, in the Child Persona role (he should use the affirmations and statements on that page).
And now we have "given him one more chance", which tends often to happen in interventions with addicts. And he must change something in his approach and at least do the full acknowledgement in writing.
So, now the question is, will he?