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The Work of Byron Katie - inspired by Pattycakes57's thread

feelings acceptance

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#1 hedoesntcare



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Posted 26 May 2012 - 10:47 AM

About 15 years ago I attended a two day workshop which was run by Byron Katie. I learned so much about feelings in reaction to others, and learned how to look inside myself to see why I was having such strong reactions. Doing this work truly released me from the prison I created, I had a partiular person that I lived with, (roommate not intimate relationship) who really got under my skin. After filling out the worksheet, asking the four questions, and turning around the beliefs I held in my mind about this woman, I was truly free from my old anger and judgement of her. I realized that she represented a part of myself that I hated and refused to accept. So I worked on accepting that part of myself and we ended up becoming good friends and enjoyed each other's company.

Her process involves filling out a worksheet to identify your thoughts and feelings regarding another person and a specific event or pattern of events that upset you. You then ask the four questions;

Is it true?

Can you absolutely know that it's true?

How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

Who would you be without the thought?

Turn the thought around. Then find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation.

Examples of Turnarounds

Here are a few more examples of turnarounds:

"He should understand me" turns around to:
- I should understand myself.
- I should understand him.
- He shouldn't understand me.
"I need him to be kind to me" turns around to:
- I need me to be kind to myself.
- I need me to be kind to him.
- I don't need him to be kind to me.
"He is unloving to me" turns around to:
- I am unloving to me.
- I am unloving to him.
- He is loving to me.
"Paul shouldn't shout at me" turns around to:
- I shouldn't shout at me.
- I shouldn't shout at Paul.
- Paul should shout at me.

Here is a video titled "He Owes Me!" from her blog where a woman faces her judgement regarding her husband.

Here is a video of her leading a workshop

"I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn't believe them, I didn't suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always." Byron Katie

Here is a link to her site where you can download for free the materials needed to follow the process.

Edited by hedoesntcare, 26 May 2012 - 10:50 AM.

#2 PrudenceB


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Posted 26 May 2012 - 09:36 PM

I love Byron Katie. I can attest to this being a bang up simple method of thinking through emotional quagmires-- it's a nifty tool that has a lot in 4 simple questions--
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#3 DawnC



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Posted 27 May 2012 - 12:51 PM

I've tried to wrap my mind around her philosophy and actually have benefitted from asking "who would I be without this thought" when my thoughts felt overwhelming. But I don't understand how a couple of those turnarounds are helpful.

Paul should shout at me?
He is loving to me?

Can you clarify those?

#4 PrudenceB


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Posted 27 May 2012 - 03:19 PM

Dawn, it's not quite literal.

It is a way to free oneself of rigidity--

if i take the turn arounds as an introduction to there being mutliple possibilities of the way things could be, then I am less likely to hold onto unhelpful ideas.

"paul should shout at me" is ridiculous and once I say it, it is ridiculous, so "he SHOULD not shout at me loses steam...it's all ridiculous because it comes from ego. So, what if he is shouting at me? I can walk away from it...the shouting tells his story, not mine. DETACHMENT.

Maybe he should shout at me..maybe I can't hear him over the car engine, maybe I am stepping on his toe,,,,maybe I am being a drunken crazy and abusing my dinner guests...

it's an exercise in losing rigidity in thinking towards detachment, not always a literal statement and not meant to introduce moral relativism. It is also an exercise in losing entitlement - WHY should i accept that he shouts? Well, I do not accept it and he does not stop. I don;t accept it, yet nothing changes. How is THAT working for me? WHO is miserable here? Additionally, now I am broiling with ego. WHO is HE to shout at me? Game over. I am now not possible to relate to and I can not see clearly through my pride. Only I can change that and I have to change it. So I am angry with a bruised ego and he is still shouting. What if i took my ego out and said- ok, he's shouting?

I am now free of the thought that his shouting says something about me. I am free from having to control others. I now have POWER to decide what I am willing to live with, not frozen in self doubt. I can see what IS, and stop fighting REALITY. Ok, he shouts, so how do I take care of myself while he is a shouter, without trying to change HIM? Maybe I leave. As long as I fight reality- I am trying to control paul and not living within my boundaries.

As i lose entitlement, I am more able to see that he may express love by doing the dishes, not bringing flowers. So I Lose entitlement by creating an invitation to myself to see about the dishes as a positive about him, rather than the about the flowers as a negative about him by saying he IS loving to me. I can focus on the positive and who he really is an a unique person, not as someone who is there to cater to my particular desires.

I am now free of upsetting expectations and free to see the person Paul is and to realize he is just fine as he is and I do not have to change him.

caveat- this works on our thoughts and feelings to get us unstuk. It is not meant to say 'he should hit me" , "she should curse at me" etc and to stay in an abusive situation. This is a fix for depressive/entitled/wrong thinking, not for permitting abusive people to abuse us. Like everything, it has uses and limitations. It's use is to end suffering we create in our minds unnecessarily to free us to actually deal with situations in a realistic and loving way.It helps our stinkin' thinkin'. It is for clarity, empowerment and reasonableness, not for excusing people.

I think you come from a strong bible foundation- so if I put it like this: Y'know when people ask God for things like winning the lottery or a new car or for their loved one to return to them, how that's totally wrong? It's wrong because God knows what we need and knows that what we want and need are often two VERY different things. As humans we tend to think of we had more money or were thinner or whatever our problems would be solved.

To wit:

God should make a miracle and turn narc heart towards me

Is that true?

Can I really know that is true?
No. Only God knows. It is very possible that God is working in narc as we speak and he must go through some things so narc will turn to God and see how dependent he is on God TO SAVE HIS ETERNAL SOUL.

How do you feel when you have the thought about 'should"?

powerless, forgotten by God, angry that God won't give me what i want.

How do you react?
Maybe my relationship with him just lost some importance? Maybe it is also true that God removed narc from ME to help me stay closer to God and not be with the ungodly?

So, can I know it is true that God should turn him to me?

No. I am not God and only God knows.

Turn around

God should turn narcs heart towards God
God should turn my heart toward narc
God should turn my heart towards God

Now I feel good because I can let go and put narc in God's hands
I feel good because I know God will take care of us both and give us what we need
I feel loved because God will always welcome me

Edited by PrudenceB, 27 May 2012 - 07:09 PM.

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#5 SteffieB



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Posted 27 May 2012 - 04:03 PM

Hmmm....deep. I'm gonna have to think on this stuff.

#6 almadecasa



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Posted 27 May 2012 - 08:18 PM

for me, the turnarounds are about releasing my own self-hatred.

I realized that she represented a part of myself that I hated and refused to accept. So I worked on accepting that part of myself and we ended up becoming good friends and enjoyed each other's company.

Honestly, with my XH, I am realizing that I let him go on abusing me for so long because I essentially abuse myself (with my perfectionism stuff) so why should I expect him to treat me any better??

I hope that when I actually believe the turnaround "I shouldn't abuse myself," then I will be able to maintain a relatively peaceful co-parenting r'ship with my ex that is about me being kind to myself regardless of how he continues to treat me.

Maybe this resource will help some?? http://www.free-flow...bugging_you.pdf

So glad to know about Byron Katie!!
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#7 hedoesntcare



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Posted 27 May 2012 - 09:57 PM

Prudence, your post explains it so well, thank you so much! I have let go of my anger towards my stbx and it feels great, I know he won't change and I am ok with that. I worked on changing myself which helped me get out, now that I am out, I continue to work on myself through therapy to process the ptsd. I find that the more I am emotionally detached from him, the easier life gets.

Byron Katie is an amazing speaker, I remember how powerful her presence was and witnessed a lot of changes in myself and others that weekend.

#8 Tahwandaaa


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Posted 29 May 2012 - 07:54 PM

I've been a Byron Katie follower for about 5 years now. I've heard her in person and listened to her CDs for HOURS. It took me some time to figure out the statements hold no moral judgment, just reality.

"Paul should yell at me." It's not a moral statement, it's a statement of REALITY. Paul IS yelling, so he SHOULD be yelling-because he IS, he is doing what he SHOULD be doing (take out the moral judgment in the word should).

I have found The Work ... works! I've facilitated couples and individuals with The Work and have been amazed at the sanity that is found after realizations are made with the turn-arounds, especially.

Keep listening to her online videos ... better yet, get her CDs and read her book, "Loving What Is". Very powerful stuff and sanity making!!!
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#9 Kris


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Posted 29 May 2012 - 08:37 PM

"Paul should yell at me." It's not a moral statement, it's a statement of REALITY. Paul IS yelling, so he SHOULD be yelling-because he IS, he is doing what he SHOULD be doing (take out the moral judgment in the word should).

I guess maybe that makes a little more sense... I have to say, I'm a bit with Dawn on this, being kind of confused about how exactly this would work when you are dealing with an abuser. I mean... certainly I can find many examples where I am significantly contributing to the dysfunction, so I can see how doing the turn-around would help me to understand that part better. But at the same time, there are many many examples where I really don't think I was contributing and I can't see how "turning it around" would serve any purpose other than to abuse myself even more. The thing I was probably doing wrong was not removing myself from the situation, allowing myself to be victimized that way. It's hard for me to see how there can be any value or healing in converting "My stbx shouldn't grope me every time I go by him" into "My stbx should grope me every time I go by him." Sure, I guess I can see that if I drop the moral judgement part I am left with, "Ok, every time I was near him he did grab my breasts and squeeze them or stick his hands down my pants, even when I asked him not to, so he was just doing what he does." BUT.... I can't at all see why I should now tell myself that he should have been doing that when I honestly think that he should not have been doing that. (I just can't figure out for the life of me why I took it for so long..... :( ) It just seems to me like I would be heaping further abuse upon myself when I really have been abused quite enough already!

So I guess that's where I'm a little stuck... yes, I can see it in some contexts. But in other contexts it would appear to be harmful. However, I should probably read her book and see if that makes it more clear to me.

#10 Tahwandaaaa



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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:58 AM

BK doesn't advocate remaining in a situation where you are abused or treated poorly. What she advocates is looking inside self and taking personal responsibility, no matter how small, for a situation.

Here is my statement with the 4 questions and turn-around.

Dark Cloud shouldn't abuse me.
Is this true? YES!
Can I absolutely know this is true? No ... he abuses me, so he is doing what he does.

How do I feel when I think this thought (that Dark Cloud abuses me)?
I feel angry and frustrated.

Who would I be without the thought (that Dark Cloud abuses me)?
I'd be more patient, loving, and compassionate.

Turn this around.
I abuse myself.
Now, this is where I had to look inside to see how I abuse myself. I mentally abused myself with my thoughts and by believing the mean things Dark Cloud was saying to me. Any time I argued with him or defended myself were ways I gave credence to what he said about me. Now it was up to me to stop believing him by detaching myself so that what he said was like water off a duck's back. I could've done this by just saying, "That's what you say,"
and then just walk away or change the subject. If he persisted on saying mean things I have the choice to remain, to argue, or walk away and say, "I'll talk with you about this when you can show me respect."

Another turn-around
I abuse Dark Cloud.
Now I had opportunity to see how I abused him. I yelled at him. I treated him disrespectfully when I said mean things to him.

This is a difficult place to be for many who are not yet able to see their responsibility in the abusive conflict.

We are NOT responsible for the abuser's behavior. We are ONLY responsible for our own stuff. What I am saying above is not taking responsibility for the way Dark Cloud treated me ... but is only finding the irony in my blame towards him. Byron Katie does NOT encourage remaining in an abusive situation. She only encourages an individual to find their part and not expect somebody else to change, because, as she says, "Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to make somebody else change?"

I found as I was honest with myself in how I abused myself (and others) with my own actions and thoughts, instead of blaming Dark Cloud for what he was doing to me, I needed to take responsibility for mySELF, which strengthened and empowered ME to stop abusing mySELF. When I stopped doing this to mySELF, I got stronger and better able to stop looking at him and blaming. Blaming somebody takes away my power and gives somebody else control.

I know this may sound harsh. Remember, I was in an abusive marriage for 22 years before I finally gathered enough understanding to get outta Dodge. When I first began my journey out and came here, I became very angry when anybody even hinted I had ANYthing to do with contributing to my abusive relationship. But, as I began taking personal responsibility for what was mine, I began seeing more clearly. I've been out for 9 years now and the journey has been marvelous. It has been painful and joyous. I can now say to Dark Cloud that I am thankful for all those years together because I like who I am and I am who I am because of what I've been through. I am at a place where I have been able to let go of a lot of the blame ... I'm not completely there yet, but where I've taken responsibility, I've felt stronger and empowered and my relationships have changed for the better.

It took me many times of listening to BK to be able to take out the moral judgment and just see the reality. It's is a very peaceful place to be when you see what she is teaching.

Remember, neither she nor I advocate being abused .... by others, but most especially by self. I found that once I took responsibility for how I abused mySELF, I was better able to stay away from those who abuse me too.



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