Identify Defenses: Don't Let Them Interfere with Your Amends

18632798_sThis blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s, Elana Clark-Faler, LCSW, CSAT-S, CGP-S.

When making an amends it’s important to think about the person you are making an amends to.  You want to make sure you empathize and speak to this person from a place of understanding his or her feelings.  This means letting go of your agenda and your need to be right.  You are focusing on cleaning up your side of the street, even if this person brought some part to the table.  You do not want to include this person’s part in the amends, simply your side.

What are some of the defenses that can get in the way of an amends….


-Angry Outbursts (Avoidance by Uproar)




-Omitting Information





These are just a few defenses.  Defenses surface when individuals feel threatened (either internally or externally).  You may use a defense to avoid feeling uncomfortable when admitting you have harmed another person.  The person you’re making an amends to might verbalize unpleasant feelings to you.  You have no control over what someone does or doesn’t do.

Empathy is the key to support you through the process of an amends.  Just keep hearing what it’s like to be this person.  You may want to have a script (or letter) ready to read.  Schedule the amends and make sure you have a starting and ending time.  Keep the process simple and to the point.

After conducting the amends, let go and forgive yourself.  You have learned.  It’s important to keep moving forward.  Be mindful of your actions.  Continue to make amends along the way.




Elana Clark-Faler
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