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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Past and Present

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Past and Present

"The past is like a school house; you go there to learn, not to live."  ~ Anonymous

I wish I could credit the person who told me this, because it's a great quote.  And here in the office the past does get visited quite a bit.  It is helpful to take a look at what has shaped us, what continues to shape us and what informs our values, character and desires.

Often, in the context of couples work, the past can be tricky territory.  We do carry with us old hurts, resentments,  feelings and experiences.  We also may be carrying with us old stuff that predates the old stuff from current relationships.  Meaning, that as relationships go, there is the stuff of the relationship itself, and its history, and the stuff of our childhood.  Sometimes, it all gets mixed together, even if it does not seem so at first.  Sorting it through can shed new light and lead to new progress both in our relationships and within ourselves.

Some brief simple examples:
Feeling repeatedly let down by one's husband might also link to feeling disappointed by one's father.
Feeling criticized by one's wife might link to feeling like one's mother was not always there for them.
Feeling suspicious of one's boyfriend may link to feelings about a parent's marriage or divorce.
Feeling out of control as a parent may link to feeling vulnerable as a child.
Feeling depressed may link to feeling ignored as a child.
Feeling anxious may link to feeling misunderstood or neglected as child.
And on and on, in so many different ways...

Knowing that our own past may influence how we respond or react and how we think and feel about our  partner, friends, bosses, children does not mean that they are not responsible for their behavior, actions, or character.  Or that our feelings are not right.  Both our current and past feelings are valid in their own right, and can often can shed light on each other and help us to learn about our deeper selves and to make our current lives better.

So when old hurts remain unexplored and unhealed, old resentments still cause us pain, fear, doubt and insecurity and anger, it's a sign that we are living somewhere in the past, either the past of our current relationship or the past of our childhood, or some combination of both.  If past pain is still present, still alive, we may have to decide to take a look and see what we need, what purpose it serves us to have the past still alive in us.  Does it help us or hinder us?  What can we learn? Will we feel better if can link things more clearly and understand more about what we need and how to get it?  I believe so.  I think the links lead to relief and release, to vitality and to better moods and better feelings and better relationships. 


Anonymous said...

I loved this post, your blog is Amazing!
Love. Soph.

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Thanks Soph.
Nice to have such nice feedback!

Blonde said...

how beautiful this blog is , And I also like the unique content of emotional pain , Thanks

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Thanks Blonde.