The man who released himself from his story
Why do we hold onto a story?
The woman who would not release herself from her story
What is required in order to release a story?
You either take responsibility or you attribute it to "outside"
Now is your chance to not ever repeat it
What will you do now?

[Definition:  A "racket" is something deceptively pulled on another or oneself where there is a false promise of a payoff and a real cost or harm.  Other than normal mistakes, anywhere you are having problems you can virtually rely on the fact that you are pulling a racket on yourself.  To learn how to use the methods of handling your rackets, read Rackets; apply it often until your problems in life are all gone in the moment.  You may wish to read also, on an outside site, Tell Me A Story.]


In the beginning of the workshop, Doug was an angry man, sent to the workshop by his family, who was finding his behavior to be damaging for all around him.  He was a police officer, and certainly anger was not useful in that position.  He didn't strike anyone, but he was very intimidating.

Underneath it all, he wanted to be a good human being.

He could not understand the concept of “:story” on the first day of the workshop. It seemed heartless to him that he would not be pitied for his story, for surely it seemed to have great meaning and hurt.

“2 years ago, my 8 year old son died of cancer.  That was so unfair and ...”  The “unfair”s, “ain't it awful”s, etc., continued on and on in his protest.  He was one very unhappy, angry, obsessed person.

He shared on the second day, struggling to understand the concept of “story”, but he seemed to make little progress.  On the third day, he seemed to be more in the question, but was still very unhappy..

On Tuesday night the participants in the seminar and their guests who they wanted to do the seminar gathered for the “completion” evening.  They had 2 days to live with the viewpoints and new definitions of the workshop, out in the real world. 

Doug raised his hand to share.  He said something like “I understand now.  2 years ago my 8 year old son died of cancer...and that's all.”  At that, the workshop attendees, all stood up and applauded, probably leaving the guests thinking they were nuts, for the guests didn't understand the great gift he had given himself. 

Doug was no longer angry and those around him were now able to enjoy being with him.  He gave up ever telling his “story” again (though he could tell “what happened”, when it was appropriate and relevant).  He was now “free” of the “made up” that caused him to suffer – and he could now accept reality and just move on to create what he wanted in life, rather than repeat the past and have it determine much of his future.


Because we think we have a reason or “payoff” for  holding onto it.  However, the payoff is virtually always a payoff with little, if any, benefit.  That would not be a problem in and of itself except for the fact there is also a cost, one that is real and usually quite substantial.

Often it is as a form of protest or a "I want to be heard" or as an indirect way of seeking to be rescued.  Or it is an unsound belief that "I must do harm to myself to keep myself in line so that I'll be good enough to be OK for the Big People."  (By Big People I mean whoever is the caregiver who provided the food and/or "love.")


(Note that I use “would not” instead of “could not”, to indicate that there is a choice in the matter for she surely was capable of releasing it as other human beings have done so.)

Although I was already very familiar with her story, Barbara kept on telling it to me very, very frequently.  She tied it into our discussions as what looked like, to me, a justification for why she is the way she is, although it appeared in the cloak of using it to add clarity to the discussion.  [I say "cloak" because it hardly ever was used to go further toward a progressive goal.]

The story:  "I was abused as a child.  I was constantly told how bad I was, how I had made a mistake, how I compared poorly to someone else, criticized... And then I was manipulated by my parents into caring for them or giving in to what they needed..."  And on and on. 

And then I was asked by her to 'admit' that she, indeed, have a harder childhood than others (which I agreed was a possibility that was probably true) and that, therefore, it was no wonder that she is the way she is now (to which I never agreed).  On the latter, it is true that the exposure to what others taught and did and the exposure to influences (such as TV) were what helped form a person's possible viewpoints and beliefs.  But it is also true that one has a choice on whether to retain them and to create new ones.  And the final test to see if beliefs must be permanent given the inputs is that various people have had virtually the same inputs (or worse) but decided to create a different life.  If it was "determinate" then the similar past of people could not have them choosing to live different lives.  People can "cause" their lives to be different, but often don't, because they are still caught in the belief that they are stuck, damaged forever.   (You may wish to read the numerous examples of making a better choice in Bad Past, Good Life.)

Oh, but she was a "smart rat" (as they are called), who said of the latter "well, I know that, but it just keeps coming back onto me before I can think..."  Basically, if a person is still suffering based on one's past, then one is still holding on to the story.

What she needs to do is to give up the explanation of why she is screwed up (or at least she thinks so) as it is the story that helps her remain not responsible for acting to create a better life.

She could do like Doug did:  "My past was my past that gave me the pieces of my life.  I accept it as so.  It is not the determinate of my life and I release it forever.  Now it is up to me to always life from the point of view of 'What can I do now to create what I want and to live a life of progressivity and 100% responsibility for the results in my life?'"  (You may wish to study and do the key process, called  Completing The Past.) 


The only way to release a story is to decide to, based on recognizing the false or lower value payoffs and the costs of maintaining the story.  Preferably, though I believe it is absolutely necessary for quicker progress, you'd use the worksheet for handling a racket, linking via Rackets,

[Denial of the following being true is a common practice that will keep one “stuck” in something that will continue to create “net” harm overall.  If you don't believe that it is necessary to forever stop telling the story, try it on 'as if' were true, and you'll see the harm disappear. ]

Recognize the payoffs of your “racket”, mostly included in the items below:

- The satisfaction of making another person  (or situation) be “responsible” for the perceived harm done to you [this is a victim or child point of view based on a false belief that one can get something from another person or absolve oneself of responsibility.  This is the viewpoint that the 'cause is out there', from other people or circumstances, rather than having oneself be the cause of all that is in one's life no matter what the circumstances.]

This includes: 

    Making another person wrong, or making oneself right (the other side of the
         right/wrong figurative coin)
    Evilizing or criticizing another person for his/her behavior or beliefs
- Releasing oneself from being responsible for having to act in the future [this sounds like the same thing as first listed above, as it is simply the other side of the same coin.]

- To punish another, often in absentia, including a person who is dead

Recognize the costs of your racket, mostly included below:

Loss of happiness

Stress (your body tenses to prepare itself for a threat, which happens every time a
   harmful story is told)
   The loss of health

Isolation (from fear, lack of responsibility, and a preoccupation with the remaining

Giving up the good things that could be created by using this time for that, instead

Decide whether it is worth it or if it should be released

As on the worksheet for rackets, you look at the "payoffs" and the costs to decide which is greater. 

Admit the racket and that it is just a story,

Say it.

Then commit to never using it again...

Though you may not recognize the harm of ever telling the story again, be assured that there is harm, including imbedding the story ever deeper into your habitual thought pattern.


The reason for keeping the harmful story, in short, is to avoid personal responsibility [to simply do what is next and useful].  As such it is just part of the viewpoint called “I am a victim” with all of its various versions and maskings.

A person who is responsible, who knows he/she is cause over his/her life, simply acknowledges what is and then is proactive in going into action to create that which is desired. 

Simply:  A story is typically just a sign of the teller choosing to be irresponsible.  And the life of a person who is being irresponsible is a life of suffering and difficulty, one full of unresolved crap.  A responsible person has few problems (as he/she solves problems quickly) and lots of satisfactions (as he/she creates them).


You must never repeating any harmful story, for every time it is repeated it is grooved in deeper.  Though a person may protest and say “I am only telling the facts, the 'what happened' or 'what is' so that it will add information”, that is usually a coverup - as there is still some reason and some payoff for telling the story.  [It is only permissible to relate what happened, including the reactions and identifying the former story that was told at the time, only when using it for a progressive purpose, such as in counseling or problem solving or growth of some kind.  In other words, only for a true benefit.]

It seems so innocuous to merely tell the story of the harm or unfairness that fell upon you, but underneath it is a false payoff, a reason to tell it again.  Just consider this as a possible truth:

1)that no behavior is done without a cause
2)that there is a payoff or you wouldn't tell the story again
3)that there is a cost greater than the payoff
4)      that you will be better off not repeating what has a net negative payoff!


Spend at least a few hours reading this and the related articles until you understand it sufficiently to both know you MUST never engage in the story and how you can use the worksheet (or process) to use it effectively to create a better life.

You'll know that you have been applying this responsibly and effectively when you note that you are no longer telling your stories AND are now living your life based on generating it instead of being the victim of it. 


Stories, Main Page - Used by us for centuries, we have adapted them to tell a bit of untruth and often to justify.  See especially Byron Katie's extensive use of the term in The Freedom Not To Be Your Story.

Rackets - Discussed extensively in Transactional Analysis, this is a useful term to use as a bucket for a very human behavior!

Tell Me A Story