Two Stages of Healing Scrupulosity – Part 2

On May 30th, I highlighted the first stage of healing scrupulosity, which was to resist the temptation to see venial sin as mortal when it is not.  The second stage of healing consists of resisting the temptation to believe that no sin is venial when it is not.  Immediately a scrupulous individual would think: ‘Why would I need to avoid this tendency?  It won’t prevent me from receiving Communion?’  The problem is that the scrupulous person desires certainty.  Therefore the scrupulous often equate doubt with sin because they often ‘err on the negative side.’  Because they doubt about sin, the scrupulous can have tendencies towards rumination (ie. churning events over-and-over in the mind in order to find certainty).  Because there is doubt about sin, the scrupulous begin the tendency of rumination and this places the individual in a constant state of anxiety, fear, and doubt.

Here’s an example of scrupulous rumination…

1. Scrupulous individual speaks with friend.

2. After the conversation, the scrupulous individual asks his/herself: ‘Did I lie to my friend?  Was I 100% honest?’

3. The scrupulous individual cycles through the conversation over-and-over again in his/her mind, thus increasing anxiety levels as a result.

4. More doubts arise: ‘Did I gossip about someone else?’  Did I offend my friend after that joke I said?’

5. The scrupulous individual is placed in a state of severe anxiety and has therefore lost his/her peace.

The solution:

1. Scrupulous individual speaks with friend.

2. Do not ruminate about previous incident.

3. At the end of the day perform an ‘Examination of Conscience,’ for 3 minutes going over the events of the current day.  If you have doubt as to whether an action was a sin, ‘err on the positive’ and believe that the action is NOT a sin.  (Please see the 10 commandments for the scrupulous at the scrupulous anonymous website for more information).

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