Past Pain in the Here and Now

The post I wrote yesterday might have given the wrong impression. Some readers may well have thought I was in bits from those particular memories. Thankfully that’s not the case. I don’t want to make light of it, but neither can I give the bullies the same power today to wreak havoc on my life.

Those experiences are a very long time ago and I see those idiotic bullies for what they were. I am able to laugh off the ignorant narrow-minded insults, but maybe not how they made me feel.

Gay’s adopted many of those words for our own amusement, “Queer” “poof” “Shirt lifter”. For me, they mock the ignorance of the homophobic prats who used them rather than hold insult towards anyone who’s gay.

The bullies didn’t break me. I suppressed the emotions and always held my head high, standing up for Gay rights at a time when it was still considered scandalous.

One of the biggest challenges in Therapy is being able to connect with feelings in the present moment. I’ve left group on many occasions feeling that most of it meant little. It wasn’t until the day wore on did I become aware of a brewing agitation or depression.

Yesterday was no different. When the therapist questioned the silence, I really couldn’t tell her why. I slowly realised it was the stories of bullying that were awakening something long forgotten.

Initially I wasn’t even thinking about my own experiences with bullying. What grabbed my attention was a vague sense of shame and humiliation. The memories sort of seeped out onto yesterday’s blog paper.

I might have been tempted to brush them off, but then quickly realised shame and humiliation is a common theme throughout my childhood. If I look hard enough, they will probably still play a part in life today.

I often question how necessary it is to remember the past and sit with the emotions they invoke. I’m aware of the value of living in the present moment, but for me, past negative emotions inside our minds are the present moment.

If we avoid making peace with them, they will continue to impact on our overall stability. The only way to make peace is if we go back in our minds to a time when they were born.

I tried looking at all this stuff 20 years ago in therapy. I couldn’t do it. I struggled to fully appreciate the need to revisit the pain before we can begin to heal. I remember the Therapist comparing our lives to a filling cabinet (which I once wrote about in the beginning of this blog)

Every now and then the filling cabinet becomes completely stuffed with our entire life contents. Therapy is similar to doing a spring clean. The only way is to get everything out, but it’s important we only start with the easiest to reach; the folders that contain less. One by one we rummage through every file, discarding some and neatly filling others

I have a feeling this blog will air a few more of my own.  Thank you to all who contribute to this progress.

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5 thoughts on “Past Pain in the Here and Now

  1. Life in a Bind - BPD and me

    This is a really interesting post – thank you! And I’ve just realised it overlaps with the comment you left recently on one of my posts, and my reply to you, from tonight! That challenge – _how_ do you connect with those feelings? It’s my usual urge to seek a manual, instructions, someone to tell me how to do it! There is so much to learn….! I look forward to reading about and sharing your journey as you go through the filing cabinet! I know what you mean about blogging helping to air it all…..

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    1. Cat Post author

      I’m glad you liked the post. I just wrote a kind of follow up one “Past Trauma -v – Mindfulness”. Connecting with feelings cannot be rushed and neither is there a right or wrong way. You are already chipping away at the edges and will definitely find connection eventually. Connection is terrifying and should be approached cautiously and explored with great care. Don’t rush, just sit back and absorb the ride… everything else will fall into place when the time is right

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  2. kat

    i struggle with this too. the past is not really in the past, and the present is mixed up with the past. how do we ‘not live in the past, and live in the present only’?

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    1. Cat Post author

      I often wonder if we become embroiled in the past as a means to avoid the present or future. Sure the past is miserable, but the present and future a lot more uncertain and potentially terrifying.

      Thanks, Kat. Hope you’re doing okay

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