Are you able to burn those bridges and move on?

This week’s writing class assignment is to randomly select a writing prompt from a book, Imageor something.  Then write for at least 5 minutes your response to the chosen words. 

At the beginning of our writing group, each member received a “Recovery College” writing pad.  On the top of each page, there is a quote.  The page I am onto now has this quote at the top. 

“May the Bridges I burn light the Way”

That quote will be my writing prompt.  .  This is my five minutes of rambling and hopefully I might learn how to burn some bridges.

ImageBurning bridges/letting go is evidently not my strong point.  I hang onto day-to-day disputes/mishaps and then obsessively ruminate over them for days, sometimes weeks.  I exhaust myself with the mental torture and I neglect my life by being caught up in so much internal drama.  

Is that part of depression?  Is it a BPD trait?  Does it perhaps contain a deeper reason for an inability to truly forgive and let things go.

It’s difficult to let go and forgive my parents for the misery I experienced as a child.  The emotional and physical abuse that leaves deep gouging scars, feel impossible to heal.  We might be able to fill in the gouging cracks, but the scars are always there.  Do we ever forget?  I doubt it.  Do we ever let go and learn to live with it?  I sincerely hope we do, but it is a long road to recovery

So “burning bridges” has great significance to me.  From childhood to the here and now, ImageI’ve always been unable let go of the issues involving my parents.  I wonder if this has a knock on effect on how I cannot let go of things today.

It’s becoming a major problem for me over the years.  More recently, I have been in dispute with a mobile service provider.  It takes huge amounts of my time; I’m stressed, becoming obsessively consumed by it and fail to focus on the here and now

In addition, I found myself in an unintended dispute with a local cleaning firm.  Ruminating and ruminating, with adrenaline pumping about what was said, what should have been said and what WILL be said.

The consistent message coming from this writing class is to learn how to focus on the here and nowforgive and let go.  That includes unimportant phone providers or cleaning firms that are not worthy of a second thought.

I wonder how other people deal with letting things go.  Are you able to burn those bridges and move on?

Five minutes ramble overImage

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36 thoughts on “Are you able to burn those bridges and move on?

  1. Athena Brady

    Burning bridges is not as easy as it sounds. I find that I obsess and ruminate about things that are trivial sometimes. I think this maybe more about what I am trying to avoid thinking about. Sometimes the thing we need to concentrate on is just too painful so our Brian’s respond to this by redirecting our attention elsewhere, it’s just a thought.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I couldn’t agreee with you anymore, Athena. I have a HUGE issue with avoidance and can come up with some colourful distractions. Thank you for commenting, Athena

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  2. mm172001

    I can forgive but not move on well. I think the “forgiving” may be placing the blame on me sometimes or feeling I should do it and be the better person, so not sure that is truly forgiveness. I don’t burn bridges, I see my family members do it constantly at it seems so hateful and vengeful at least the way they do it and I don’t want to be like that.

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  3. RisingSong

    I don’t know if this qualifies as “moving on”, but I find that the best form of revenge is to “live well”. It’s the “I will survive…I will not lay down and die” theme. It’s showing up in my high heels and makeup, with my head held high and my hair tossed back…and greeting my offender. It’s showing them that I’m OK in spite of them. I derive my satisfaction from seeing the look on their faces when they expected me to be either ashamed or raging mad. Instead, I give them a lesson on proper behavior.

    I’m not saying that I arrive at this state very easily. I suppose it all depends on the gravity of the offense. I say all this as I am crawling across the floor with my current situation at home, and I am certainly not there with regards to my childhood abuser.

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    1. Cat Post author

      One day soon you will be able to hold your head high, Rising

      I find it incredibly difficult to put a face on things, but it’s worth baring in mind

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  4. A Gay Mentalist

    Hi there, I understand what you’re saying about letting go and burning bridges, it’s sometimes very difficult isn’t it. I have a problem with letting things go, and tend to bear a grudge for a long time, like yourself ruminating over and over again. Best wishes, and good luck!

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  5. Howisbradley

    I have burned some bridges that needed to be burned regarding my parents. Primarily my dad. I can’t say I’ve burned them entirely, but they are scorched badly. I agree with RisingSong. The best revenge is to live well.

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  6. Pingback: Are you able to burn those bridges and move on? | My Travels with Depression

  7. N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ

    Hi Cat, I read your post last night and wanted to comment but my brain was beat. You said:

    “I hang onto day-to-day disputes/mishaps and then obsessively ruminate over them for days, sometimes weeks.”

    I have found it very difficult to burn bridges when I think about the bridges all the time. I have struggled with this myself, big time. But in my own journey, I learned that when I think about something, and especially if I obsessively ruminate over it, I am strengthening neural connections with every thought.

    Back in 2005, I had, you might say, an awakening, after years of obsessing over finding answers as to why people could do such horrible things to other human beings. I simply could no longer buy into the traditional pat answers. In my search, I pretty much found my answers and things became so much clearer to me. I stepped back and became the observer of my own circumstances. That helped defuse the intensity. But it took me some time to get to that point, so I’m not saying that becoming an observer is an easy task but it’s definitely doable.

    When I became the observer of my circumstances (including memories), I also became acutely aware of internal dialogs that were reinforcing neural pathways. I can’t even begin to tell you what a huge revelation that was for me. I hadn’t been aware of those dialogs until that moment. I could hear them (at least two at a time) repeating over and over as though a tape recorder had been put on auto-repeat. After spending close to 10 years studying everything I could get my hands on about the brain, I began to gain a better understanding about the neural mechanisms that kept my mind stuck on replay.

    The first thing I had to concentrate on was pruning disadvantageous neural networks that because default thinking patterns. But how could I possibly eliminate obsessive mind chatter, and prune these networks without thinking about them first? That was tough for me, but I learned strategies. One such strategy was that every time I had those thoughts, I would immediately think of something else. Back and forth my thoughts went, like arm wrestling, until eventually the thoughts that had once been the strongest, the loudest, began to be drowned out by replacement thoughts.

    Basically, I had to play a game in my head and it worked. I was overcoming negative thought patterns — pathways that I had spent years reinforcing unintentionally. It literally changed my life. That’s not to say that I still don’t have days where I may ruminate obsessively, but I try not to allow those thoughts to gain power over me for long, and I put my coping skills, my strategies to work as soon as I realize that I am giving too much power to those thoughts.

    Here’s a cool clip showing neural connections at work. Note towards the end the section on synaptic pruning in action.

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    1. Cat Post author

      When I become exhausted from ruminating and debating the point, there is a kind of survival instinct that kicks in and forces me to use a distraction technique. That’s usually pretty much as you say, but maybe more in tune with trying so hard to live in the moment. I find it enormously difficult.

      What you say about the neural mechanisms being stuck on replay really does strike a chord. I loved the clip; it makes a lot of sense.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. That information will stay with me forever

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      1. N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ

        You’re welcome, my friend. Thank you for taking the time to watch the video and for your thoughtful response. I agree, staying in the present moment can be difficult. Our shame culture exacerbates this.
        Hoping you have a restful Autumn weekend. There is so much beauty to behold during this time. Also, very symbolic. It’s my favorite season. =)

        *soul embrace*
        Victoria

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  8. GFixated

    Depression coupled complusive thoughts does that to you, my partner troubles with both and sometimes it’s a battle. For me, I will burn bridges because when I do, I KNOW it was warranted. I dont not go around making another person life a living hell, so when they feel they need to be that way, I’ll burn that bridge every day if needs be. I will obsess about a situation and let it go especially if the person is not in my daily hindsight. I prayed constantly about those who are in my daily space (those bridges I would want to burn, but they are apart of me keeping my job). The best way thought is to play that game with your brain as one suggested, cover a negative thought with a good one, it’s a everyday struggle for most people, but after awhile, you realize the pattern is slowly breaking.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I tend to agree, GF, I think most people commenting are saying similar things. When I become exhausted from the internal battle (like now!!) I usually go into a survival mode of trying to think of something else. I try to concentrate on the here and now, not so much my problems in the here and now, more like surrounding etc. We only worry about the past and the future. 90% of the time, the here and now is okay. As you say, it is a hard pattern to break.

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  9. findingmyinnercourage

    Yes I am able to burn bridges but absolutely positively cannot move on. I can forgive but can’t seem to forget which wears on me emotionally and physically. I am however working on this – it’s work in progress! Excellent Blog!

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    1. Cat Post author

      I guess it is work in progress, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Hearing other people’s views does help to work through it. Thank you for your comment. As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

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  10. Gel

    what you describe sounds very familiar….theses incident hangs on in my brain and I obsessively ruminate and re-experience intense painful emotions etc. All these ideas: burning bridges, forgiving and letting go, brain rewiring ……these take some work, over time, not just a choice in one moment.
    I don’t have a lot of success at breaking free of the obsessing and the torment. But recently I discovered that when I’m obsessing – going over the same torturous thoughts – that’s when I need to be heard by someone who can listen with detached compassion. (meaning they really want to hear me but aren’t the source of the problem and aren’t biased). I need to get to the deeper thing that wants to be expressed and understood. Rather than only focusing on what “they did” that was unjust. This is a little more than venting. Venting is good but I have to be careful not to fill the space with the negative stuff. When I’ve found the deepest thing that needs to be expressed AND it is heard and understood by someone else, that is when the letting go happens. The obsession starts to loosen. Especially when I focus on what I can do that is constructive to meet my needs.
    As far as burning bridges….usually when I think of burning bridges it’s doing something so that I severe a connection permanently. It seems like a strong boundary-making act. I think this has an appropriate place…like when you’re protecting yourself from an abuse. But I’ve also burned bridges when I didn’t mean to go that far….when I wasn’t willing or able to do some hard work. I don’t know…it seems like there are some big differences in ideas within this topic. Thanks for making me think.

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  11. releasing lunacy

    Hmmm… interesting topic. I can become fiercely upset and angry with a person or group when I feel I’ve been treated wrong or unfairly. But, because I don’t like feeling anger or being confrontational, I tend to dissociate from those feelings. This leaves me feeling like I just don’t care about the relationship w/ the person or group. I tend to accidentally burn bridges with my indifference. Depending on the situation, this could happen the same day or feelings can linger for a long while (when something major happens). But in the end, I always detach. This detachment burns the bridge more than any bit of anger. Great post Cat. – rl

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Rl… I dissociate from most things, unless it is an injustice of some kind and then I tend to throw an inner “wobler” and it takes sometime before I can let it go. I tend to burn bridges with people too easily, particularly if I feel people are expecting too much from me, which isn’t right, but that is how it goes for now…

      How are you doing Rl? I’ve been thinking about you a lot…

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  12. Summer Solstice Girl

    Perhaps it is because I speak English as a second language but I always thought that burning bridges was very different from letting go.

    I always try not to burn bridges when it comes to relationships. I believe that almost everything can be solved by talking. A real and honest dialogue from both parts, you know?

    About letting go… normally it is easy for me. I talk, I forgive and I forget about it. But there are a couple of issues that after 30 years (exactly 30 years today) that I haven’t been able to let go. I just can’t. They are the root of my PTSD. Don’t know how to do it and it makes me feel very lost in the world.

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  13. hubertwrites

    Burning Bridges: Hi Cat, I hope you have a peaceful day today with a restful and calm heart. I read your post and began to think about how much time i have spent ruminating too man its been years and years. I didn’t know a thing about my own life until about 4 years ago when I prayed one day and the thought or voice if you will from God said, Check out Brain trauma Fibromyalgia, it took a bit but I finally did that and oh wow! A brand new world started to unfold right behind my eyes. At that time I discovered Binaural Beats and slowly began to use them on a fairly regular basis. Binarual Beats are simply sound waves introduced into each ear at different wave lengths these wave lengths meet within the brain and the brain mixes them to make a new sound which triggers it to training, healing, memory, sleep, calmness and depending on the brain wave many different thins especially meditation, if your brain is not like mine I can’t meditate My brain goes on auto disconnect every time I try.
    Anyway about burning bridges and forgiveness, I have often said that when we don’t or cant forgive we are forced to be the jailer in an empty jail, because we are there holding our prisoners to the bars, but they are really not there and we are the only ones in that jail.
    Jesus tells us if we want to be forgiven we need to forgive, and once we do forgive from the heart we leave ‘that certain prison.’ I think most of us the broken and the wounded have a lot of prisoners and prisons within our hearts that we may not be aware of so its critical to adopt and sustain an attitude of real forgiveness, while questioning ourselves whether we have any unknown bitterness and unforgiveness cells still within us. For myself, having survived some Mild traumatic brain injuries, and childhood diseases, with a completely evil family…… I had no memory of any of my childhood or my past adult life for that matter either. I think there may be a brain type as well where certain families are disposed to things like this, (Bad brain syndrome) not that we need a new classification, but some families just seem to be more problematic that way.
    Now that I am remembering my 54 years , its gross! and extremely painful and lonely. But I go on. I will put a few binaural beats here for you and your readers, If you have seizures don’t use them other than that relax and enjoy, don’t forget to use headphones.

    Here’s my favorite:

    With grace and hope of peace and comfort Hubert

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you, Hubert. Binaural beats are completely new on me. I did appreciate the first one “Great Expanse”

      “Forced to be our jailor within an empty jail” does sound rather familiar. We are the only ones who are continually hurt by the rumination.

      Many thanks for taking the time to comment, Hubert, your support is appreciated

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  14. Lauren Nalls

    Many of us keep bridges intact because we want to use them again for retreat. Going into “survival mode” and replaying pain keeps us in the past instead of the now. Letting our past hurts dictate our present moment takes away our power and keeps us chained to the self we were when we were abused. (believe me, I know) It also absolves us of any responsibility for our choices and that is a comfortable place to be sometimes. At least we know what we are dealing with, and we don’t have change. I am all for burning bridges behind us so that there is no turning back! No running into the familiar arms of pain. Enjoy where you are right now as much as you can, don’t waste your time. You may think you will want this moment back some day, but not if you burn that bridge and live now.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you Laren for taking the time to read and comment. I completely understand what you are saying. Ruminating is my avoidance. It’s been going on for so long, the urge is strong, almost like a second nature.

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  15. suzyqqq

    I slather myself in rumination. I AM rumination. I think the reasons are twofold. Obviously, it prevents me from thinking about the future. After living such a hard and disappointing life, I sort of keep expecting the same. So I avoid thinking about it. For me I think, the reason I ruminate is that for me it is a kind of “self-mutilation”. Particularly with intimate relationships. I can hang on to those suckers for two years. I like to make myself sad. Not depressed necessarily but to give myself a good cry (basically all the time). After all, this is what I deserve. I will admit that I go to lengths to avoid certain triggers. If I have to confront them not of my will, it’s insane agony and I dwell on the agony and milk it for all it’s worth. It’s like I WANT to hurt…I guess I do but it’s absurd. Then again, I’m a, what my mother continuously told me as a child, a “negative person”, a person nobody else would want to be around because I’m a cheer killer. Maybe I become more negative the more I was told I was negative. OMG. Let me shut up!!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Suzy…. Rumination is a real killer for me. It’s usually worse when depressed. What you say about it being an avoidance tactic rings true with me`.

      Thank you for commenting

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