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#218231 - 04/15/08 04:32 AM The Past- Crutch, or Essential?
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Hi gang-
I haven't started a new topic in a long time- but one thing that's been eating at me, is how to distinguish what is or isn't healthy about reliving one's past; on the one hand, getting a strong healthy connection between the boy i used to be before i was ever abused, and on the other, the adult that has begun to deal with what happened (and how it has affected, and still continues to affect me to this day). What is healthy, and what is just retreading very old and harmful ground? I realize there might not necessarily be easy or quick answers, i'm just raising a personal issue to see how others respond. Any response (other than a personal attack) is most welcome. I hope this makes some kind of sense to somebody...

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#218273 - 04/15/08 10:08 AM Re: The Past- Crutch, or Essential? [Re: dgoods]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
dgoods,

I confronted that problem in therapy by working on a long survivor story with my T. Every week I would add to it, shift things around, and so on, and then email it to her so she could read it before our next session. Then we would talk about things.

What I noticed after a time was that I wasn't learning anything new. I was adding details, little things that I had newly remembered, and I was seeing oh, okay, this was before that, etc. But nothing new was coming up. That is, I was investing a lot of emotional resources into a task that wasn't giving me anything back. I was done. It was time to move on.

That might be an approach that would help you. So long as you feel you are learning things that are significant and important to your recovery then the effort is probably worth it. But at some point you will see that you're kind of spinning your wheels and maybe it's time to move on.

That doesn't mean you are abandoning the boy you were back then; it means you are taking his hand and helping him to trust you as you move forward.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#218317 - 04/15/08 01:14 PM Re: The Past- Crutch, or Essential? [Re: roadrunner]
hogan_dawg Offline
Guest

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 492
Hey nice to meet you.

Yeah I don't try to reconnect with my feelings too much as a young boy because the abuse started when I was extremely young.

So I try to live as an adult - I have no connection with my inner child. I think that's ok.

You can re-traumatize yourself if you're not careful. That's why I only relive stuff when I need to remember something. Though sometimes flashbacks force me to remember despite my best wishes.

_________________________
I can say unequivocally that the lie of "To truly heal you must first forgive" has derailed more victims than the abusers themselves.
Andrew Vachs, 2003

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#218377 - 04/15/08 07:11 PM Re: The Past- Crutch, or Essential? [Re: roadrunner]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Thanks for responding Larry-
What i couldn't help but wonder when i read your post was, "Did his T knowingly let him exhaust this avenue, or was it just 'patient-directed'?" Maybe i'm just having trouble trying to draw a definitive line between what is healthy and necessary, and what is just potentially negative reinforcement of old and ignorant (in the literal sense) survival habits... Others have had to point out to me when i've been wearing my "that's not ME, it's just somebody's life-story" goggles, so obviously my confidence in my own grasp on what's good or bad is a bit shaky... again, thanks for responding.

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#218381 - 04/15/08 07:22 PM Re: The Past- Crutch, or Essential? [Re: hogan_dawg]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Thanks for responding-
Every time something affects me, it always seems to be a surprise- therefore, though i would like to just "get on with it" as who i am now, i'm tired of being ambushed by my subconscious. You're right, there's some nasty surprises out there, but while i can't exactly feel OK about trying to simply "
start over", there's still some crap that an adult mind seems to like to dress up as being reasonable, while the real reason has more to do with having been emotionally frozen in time since age 7... the real trick is trying to separate what is "core identity", and what has grown up as a coping response. At least now, i listen to my instincts as far as, "If it really freaks you out, don't go there yet", instead of forcing myself to plunge headlong into the middle of it...

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

Top
#218386 - 04/15/08 07:43 PM Re: The Past- Crutch, or Essential? [Re: dgoods]
frost Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 1377
Loc: Eh?
dgoods,

I'm going to go along with what the others have said thus far and add a bit to it.

I think it is up to each of us to decide if trudging through past memories is going to be useful to us or not. As Hogan says, you can re-traumatize yourself by going back there and running through those things.

As I proceed through the healing process, I am finding things that need to come up. They're coming up whether I want them to or not and its because I have to work through them.

If I can for a moment borrow some thoughts from fellow board user arronb and relate this to chronic pain.

arronb recently told me that "the brain can only handle one kind of pain at a time" which is so true. He went on to say that Someone who has a chronically sore arm or back will likely forget about the pain if they were to break their leg. However, once their leg is healed, the pain from the chronically sore arm or back will re-enter their mind.

That being said, as we uncover and heal emotional pain, we will become aware of new pain that isn't actually 'new' pain -- it's been there the whole time, but now we're ready to deal with it and therefore it has entered into our consciousness.

Also I should be careful to say that it's not just pain we're dealing with. Yes pain is underlying pretty much all that other stuff we're going through but topics such as shame and fear are every bit as important to recognize and work through.

As children, we didn't know what to do about all this 'stuff' so we just buried it and saved it for later. While it may seem hopeless at times as though the pit is never ending... Have a look at recent posts by users endlessjourney and kellygtx... They are now living proof that we do get to the bottom of it eventually and once we heal from those final things, it'll be time to start filling that empty cavern with happy healthy things from which we can draw strength from.

So, I don't think we need to trudge through every single thing thats back there... But there is a certain amount of 'stuff' that our mind and heart absolutely need to have a look at and heal from. Other things that we buried long ago maybe won't look so bad now from adult eyes and we will release those things easily.

For me it has been incredibly helpful for me to get 'in touch' with the little guy inside as... quite simply... I deal with alot of self-blame issues and its very helpful to see how innocent he was waaaaaay back in the day when it started.

I dunno, hope all this has gone to help you with what you're chewing on. Just some thoughts I had as I read thru your post \:\)

All the best,
~Brian

_________________________
Boom!

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