Recognition and reparation

by Mar 29, 2018Articoli0 comments

Among the eventualities that may slow or prevent the full and complete transformation of maladaptive behaviour and emotions, acting as a block, there is the subconscious desire to be compensated by (presumed) damages and/or to receive an acknowledgment from particular people or social environments.

As those who have a bit of FastReset practice have already noticed, these sentiments are rarely referred to a single part or a single person, but often invade, as a sort of insidious tide, many aspects of the psychological and daily life of the subject, leading to countless and sometimes unexpected difficulties.

When we have to take into account the presence of these “blocking” reactions and what to do is the topic of this article.

It may be hard to believe that a feeling regarded as legitimate and innocent as the will to receive proper appreciation or recognition from the next – or an apparently even more reasonable one: the compensation for “moral” damage if we resented of others’ choices or actions – can lead to other problems, not just those arising from the absence of what we require.

Nevertheless, it’s pretty blatant and frequent, using the FastReset, to note that the presence of one of these feelings is not only quite “cumbersome” for the subject, but also spoils and affects many different fields of his life.

Not only the effective and “physical” block reactions (like the uneasiness arising from an unmanageable situation, or the inhibition to act, talk or expose ourselves to avoid conflicts), in fact, are able to prevent the full resolution of the issues we are dealing with.

In some cases, resistance to get rid of reactions that in the eyes of an external observer can look like useless forms of suffering is also determined by the persistence of one of these attitudes: reparation or recognition.

Therefore, if they are detected, it is useful to treat them – like other types of blocks – previously compared to other emotions that may be expressed by the subject in that moment *.

* In particular, in case of chronic rage, contempt and hatred and before those I elsewhere defined the “judgment” and the “undue compassion” emotional blocks. (See also the article The Main Emotional Blocks, in


Why we do want to be recognized

As social beings, we all have the innate need to receive assurances of support from our fellows, particularly those with which we have the closest emotional ties.
Being seen and noticed by others, getting their attention, feeling their presence and participation, being assured that our most obvious needs are known and understandable: these are requirements that biology considers basic for the success of the species.
In fact, they are part of the inheritance of instinctive responses we’ve catalogued as emotions of support/belonging, based on the mutual capacity for empathy.
Since they are needs, their satisfaction involves a certain pleasure, and their dissatisfaction is a source of frustration and unease or suffering.

Of course, attention and support given by people we can rely on are fundamental and indeed vital for a child or a person who is unable to manage himself, but somehow less important for a healthy adult who is physically and economically independent. In any case, they don’t lose completely their power of rewarding or, if we feel their absence, demeaning and devaluing ourselves.

You see me, therefore I am

Being “seen” and considered has a very deep impact on our psyche. A helpless baby needs almost constant attention to every need, having no other means to compensate himself. It is a common remark that a child does not love for too long to be left to do something alone. Occasionally, he will check for the presence of an adult. This is, moreover, a powerful safeguard mechanism of the individual and of the species. If this contact fails, as I said, it can trigger a deep discomfort that goes beyond the rational aspect.

“He doesn’t greet me anymore”, “In the office nobody see me”, “I’m always the last of the row” are expressions of the common language that perfectly define the suffering of being excluded from the view and attention of others.

There is also a more subtle and therefore even more unsettling feature regarding the lack, real or supposed, of acknowledgement on the part of others, and concerns our identity.

Belonging to a family, to a particular location or a circle of people can validates who we are and how much we are worth in the eyes of others. Then, also tells what is our place in the group and how much we can rely on it.

If we aren’t recognized in our features and needs, if we are ignored by others, we risk, at least in theory, to suffer a serious injury, being no longer protected by the social network that sustains us.

All this can be relics of epochs in which the group literally guaranteed survival, but it is certainly very present and active in human “civilized” beings. Thus, the sense of self-preservation can be closely related to the need to be “recognized”.

In fact, anger and hatred, if properly analysed, often reveal that the subject who feels them lived a lack of recognition on the part of certain people or environments (family, school, work).

Not infrequently, the simple treatment of the will to receive the compensation of a non-recognition issue is enough to rehabilitate old or chronic situations of resentment, hatred, negative judgement, blame and even contempt.

We see now a concrete example of how a chronic lack of recognition can generate offshoots far distant from their true origin and interfere negatively on aspects that apparently are of a quite different nature.

“They” are against “us”

Carla tells me she’s living a bad situation in the office. After her former division was dissolved and incorporated into another, she and three other people were absorbed in a new division. The colleagues in the new office seem to be very cohesive altogether and form a solid group that, according to Carla’s words, soon appropriated of many privileges and many “done right”, which she and the other new arrivals had not hardly ever hope to get.

Permissions, releases, choice of holidays and most desirable tasks always seem to be destined only to the old staff members of the office which, above all, make the minimum required to manage the job, while the “new” ones share most of the charges, without being able to access the honours. In short, they have formed a real “caste”; and it is precisely so that Carla and her friends have nicknamed the other group.

Emotions that this situation raises in Carla are different and rather contrasting with each other: rage, impotence, intolerance, negative judgement, blame. I ask Carla if she made attempts to get in tune with the people of the “caste”, before it was constituted at her eyes. «Earlier, I made many attempts, but then I got to the point of thinking that, if you want to understand me, you do it immediately; otherwise, if I have to explain myself every time, it means that you want to exclude me and stay on your own.»

Now I ask Carla if the attitude of closure and exclusion that she attaches to her colleagues is reminding , in her memory, someone else. It is not difficult: in the girl’s family dialogue and communication were absent or very difficult, and she was very distressed to deal with that situation.

How did she feel, at the time? Blocked and inhibited! Or, alternatively, angry and powerless. Then we proceed with our phrase of integration, while Carla tunes on the same sensations she felt when she couldn’t support his point of view in relation to persistent know-it-all attitude of his parents: «My sense of inhibition in order to clearly express my different way of being and living want to avoid me to deal with conflict and choke!».

After a “round” of FastReset (integration sentence, shift of attention, release sentence and new shift of attention), Carla has changed his view of the problem. Now, in fact, she seems having a judgmental attitude toward parents, explaining that: «My judgement to my parents wants them to downsize and stop judging me!». After this “tour”, Carla feels lighter, and is able to experience again the affection for her family, although they are so far from being as she wanted and express values very different from hers’.
However she tells me that, even today, thinking back to some of her never approved or even belittled efforts, she feel the hatred and the desire to keep them away1.

I focus Carla’s attention on the lack of this recognition and on the sensations that this raises in her, then I ask to proclaim: «I want to be recognized and appreciated by my dear ones!», shift of attention, repetition of the sentence followed by another shift, then, after some repetitions: «I let go away from my claim to get the recognition and appreciation I desire all that I don’t need anymore, I don’t care about and that no longer belongs to me».

Immediately, Carla looks completely cheered up and in better spirits and seems also to have reconciled with the attitude of the parents. She has understood that all that criticism and devaluation was an unaware defence from their unresolved weaknesses.
I ask her how do the members of the “caste” appear now.
Carla looks at me a little surprised: they seem so far and harmless…! «I have just realized that they have a different view from mine, but it doesn’t appear so ominous. Sure, some issues need to change, but we can make proposals too, instead of shelter ourselves and lock us in the idea that only “we” are the right ones and must wait for “them” to suit our needs and recognize us. It seems as I have changed my mind, and now we’ll work on. I never imagined that what happens in the office was a sort of continuation of what I lived in the family!»

Reparation and compensation

Why we do want to be compensated

The desire to receive compensation is often the result of having perceived an impairment, usually permanent, and/or an unfair treatment which has infringed the individual or group dignity or capacity.
In most cases, this is accompanied by feelings we define contrasting, i.e. involving a reaction in opposition to that of someone else, for defensive purposes or to re-instate what was lost.
Anger, hate and resentment are the most common faces of contrast reactions, witnessing the frustrated need to get the right counterpart from those who damaged us.
Also the desire for compensation, which is based on so deep and in some way archaic instances, can be deservedly defined as a need.
It represents an universal and very effective way to maintain or restore equilibrium in the relationships between human beings, for whom solidarity is more than a virtue, being born as an instance of survival.
The exchange of favours and the repair of errors and wrongdoings has a much more fundamental importance as the human group in which it takes place is struggling with the existence or the division of scarce or poor resources, or in a situation of temporary and acute crisis. In most cultures this mutual exchange is highly ritualized and valued.
We can’t pretend to have no moral or material debts with whom helped us or was innocent victim of our errors, if we want to maintain decent relations with our fellows, continue to belong to the group and have access to the social security benefits that it provides.

Apparently, this “need” to return or balance what the other provide to us can partially fail with the detachment of the individual from the direct support of the people around him.
In the large and modern cities, in most cases we don’t know directly, and we can pretend to be independent from each other and not needy of anyone, nor of special links with other people. But of course it is not so, and our deep component is well aware.

For the same reasons, the desire to receive compensation is rarely based on purely rational instances.

If that was the case, most of the quarrels that result in judicial processes would probably have no reason for being!

In fact, we often recognize also in non-compensation a complex involvement of our deepest feelings and a denial of our value and our identity. So, in a certain way, the lack of recognition on the part of those who harmed us gets back into the game.
If you notice the presence of this unresolved issue in the subject being treated, other possibly co-present contrast reactions (anger, hatred, resentment, inability to forgive) can withdraw even with one single round of FastReset on non-recognition/compensation, no matter how intense they can be.

An impossible restitution

When she was about ten years, Gina’s parents decided to move to Northern Italy, emigrating from their beautiful island, where her father couldn’t find any satisfactory job opportunities.
She still remembers that period as one of the most miserable of his life:
“I had just finished elementary school, and I was suddenly facing a new school cycle in a city that seemed cold and dark, full of indifferent, if not hostile, people and, moreover, I didn’t know anyone and they spoke in a strange way. I felt really like a fish out of water, and also my academic performance, sooner rather brilliant, collapsed miserably “.

It took some years before Gina, who had hardly started to make friends with a few schoolmates, began to feel accepted by an environment so different from the enchanted island of her childhood memories, and to have good results at school.
“I am convinced that many negative sides of my character – the introversion, insecurity, indecision, poor estimation of myself, find so hard to trust in others and therefore my difficulties in relations – depend on that forced separation. And, moreover, this sacrifice hasn’t produced such a great happiness in my parents: anything! My father worked very hard, especially the first few years, and he was outdoor all day long. Even my mom had to find a job because one salary was not enough, so I felt even more lonely, sad and cheated. They had described this city as a kind of El Dorado, where I would have found excellent schools and many more opportunities, but I felt robbed. Yes, I would say that this is the right word. ”
In the jumble of emotions that inhabit in Gina (anger, pain, sadness, bitterness, sense of injustice, reprimand), I try to isolate the one that encloses them a bit ‘ all.
I suggest Gina to think which kind of sensation would give her having the chance to receive fair compensation. She is almost outraged: it’s impossible! Nothing and no one will ever return what that unfortunate choice of parents caused her to suffer. I agree, but specify that it is not necessary for this to really happen, but we can try to let it occur at least in a moral or metaphorical sense.
Gina is now persuaded to give the right space to her acute need to be compensated and composes by herself a sentence for integration: “I want to be compensated by my parents of my childhood, my sea, my destiny and my lack of happiness”, shift of attention, repetition, another shift, then: “I let go away from my claim to be paid by my parents for everything that I’ve experienced all that I don’t need, I don’t care and that doesn’t belong to me anymore”, followed by a final shift.

When she emerges from this “tour”, I see her thoughtful. “Now I have got the impression I can see all things in a different perspective,” she says. “Actually, my parents made that choice for sense of responsibility and they too have accepted a huge sacrifice, leaving both their dearest affections in the homeland. And I think they have done it especially in the hope of giving a future to me. What I feel now is pain mixed with tenderness for them, a painful form of gratitude, I mean. Don’t feel more hatred, neither anger, nor do I blame them. ”
We work then on the pain, who wants Gina to accept what happened in his life and treasure it, without fighting futilely against the reality.

Definitely relieved and in better spirits after this new “round” of FastReset, Gina suggests me to work, in the coming sessions, to improve its ability to deal with people and to open with more confidence towards life.

What suggests a “block” due to unmet recognition/compensation

We have to consider we are faced to a (more or less conscious) dissatisfaction or lack of recognition or compensation:

  • in the presence of anger or resentment to events far away, which resist the usual treatment (i.e. dealing directly with the emotion or the episode in question), but also in the presence of irrational demands (sometimes with a decisive infantile imprint) concerning impossible repairs.
  • The person who is prey to this feeling can also act many behaviours, mostly unaware, seeking to declare to the world that he/she is a victim and to get his/her expectations from others, even if the request is not at all clear, not really expressed or is simply absurd.
  • Even in adulthood, can try to make other people feel guilty with complaints and exaggerated reprimands, or require attention and affection, but not directly (thus exposing to the risk of a rejection), rather with attitudes of “sulking”. The interlocutor is required to understand exactly which kind of recognition the person is expecting to receive, and to satisfy and fix the implicit instance. In most cases, all this is made without explaining the whys of this hostile or judgmental attitude.
  • This feeling can manifest itself also expressing aggression, either direct, with exaggerated rage attitudes to derisory or easily resolvable matters, or indirect, i.e. (unknowingly) boycotting commitments with others: the person may “forget” or do not complete just what others have requested. Also excessive coldness or mistrust regarding the real intentions of others can be a common corollary to this feeling.
  • It’s not over yet: we have to consider an unresolved problem to be recognized or compensated even in the presence of self-sabotaging convictions involving personal or professional success. The lack of recognition exposes these people to act unaware attitudes and behaviours that will be difficult to be totally satisfied with their work, economic role or their love life. Often they feel “wasted” or not enough appraised and enhanced, or constantly misunderstood by family or by the partner. They may perceive themselves as if they never believe to be up to the expectations of their environment but, at the same time, they also justify their real or alleged faults or incapacity due to misfortunes, destiny or adverse will of someone else.
  • A more or less subtle sense of psychological superiority (useful to compensate for the sense of frustration and powerlessness) can eventually resides in the idea that: “no one can understand how I suffered!”. This impairs the interlocutor to argue anything that could help solving the issue; furthermore, it makes the subject who got the “failure of recognition” feeling free from the responsibility of having to accept a real change, as well as giving him virtually all the possible space and right to claim to be recognized and compensated.

It is conceivable that, with the necessary changes, one could extend the guidelines here exhibited even to treatments dedicated to far more damaging behaviours, and even to group issues, for example in the case of family or corporate conflicts and, why not, in the widest social sense.



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Maria Grazia Parisi

Medico psicoterapeuta, ideatrice del metodo FastReset.