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April 20, 2020 at 12:27 pm in reply to: Conflicting feelings and memories from a past relationship #350736
I’m not sure I’m comfortable answering everything in detail, but I will say a couple things:
The bullying wasn’t entirely from people my age. Many of the perpetrators were much older than me. It was in a church environment, so it not only had an emotional impact, but also a spiritual one. And yet, I find it odd that I’ve made a lot of progress in making peace with that experience, whereas the relationship has proven much more difficult in that regard. I sometimes wonder if it has to do with the fact that I haven’t been able to find much closure for that situation, nor do I really know where to look to find it.
The PTSD didn’t appear until I was about 19 or 20. The Asperger’s diagnosis happened when I was little.April 20, 2020 at 10:42 am in reply to: Conflicting feelings and memories from a past relationship #350706
There are actually two mental conditions that I was referring to (I was trying to be vague about them): PTSD and Asperger’s Syndrome. Essentially, these two conditions operate in tandem with each other. With Asperger’s, I tend to get “stuck” on things. I often have temporary obsessions, which occupy my mind for a period of time – the amount of time is almost never the same, as it could be hours, days, months, etc. And with PTSD, of course, I often have traumatic memories arise unannounced from time to time. When these traumatic experiences resurface, I get stuck on it due to the Asperger’s, and I end up having to live and re-live the trauma in a seemingly endless loop for however long the obsession lasts. It’s a vicious cycle that I have very little control over.
As for the wound, I do believe that a substantial part of it was cause by her, though not all. What I didn’t mention in the original post is that prior to the relationship, I had also through another series of traumatic experiences (being bullied out of a community I was close to), and I was in the midst of processing that by the time she and I were together. While those wounds were definitely healing (even now, I know I have made great progress on working through that trauma), I think the relationship and long break-up either added to that wound, or it reopened some of the wound that was already there. Either way, I do still think the relationship inflicted notable damage to myself.April 19, 2020 at 8:29 pm in reply to: Conflicting feelings and memories from a past relationship #350572
Here’s an update about how things have been going:
I’ve been doing something of a hybrid of the two self-guided meditation exercises you recommended; I would lay down and intentionally try to make my body as limp as possible, without a single muscle engaged. I would try to bring up her image, or memories of her, and allow myself to feel the emotions associated with them. I would imagine the memories as though I was watching them through an orb placed on my lap. From there, I would imagine myself hugging the orb. This would help me come to terms with the feelings associated with that memory. After that, I would breathe in, bringing the orb in front of my face, and then say “Good-bye, [her name]” and breathe out, sending the orb out into the aether. I would repeat that for each memory and image that came to mind.
I think it has helped me in unpacking some of the memories and feelings of that experience. It’s helped me to reflect on those experiences and understand just where I’ve both succeeded and struggled in moving on. It’s been a slow, but steady process, digging up all sorts of hidden memories, good and bad, but I’ve managed to at least begin to process them.
The one catch about all this is that I’ve had a hard time picturing her in my head – not necessarily because it’s emotionally hard, it’s just that I can barely remember her face! Maybe I was too good at suppressing her image in my mind – after all, everything that happened between us only happened about three years ago. I do remember other more specific aspects of her appearance, though – her hair, certain clothes she would wear, her figure, etc., as well as her voice. I’m actually considering having my therapist look up a picture of her and show it to me, allowing myself to actually look at her face (which I really don’t think I could do alone). I expect to be very painful, but hopefully that will help me be able to visualize her in my mind’s eye in the future, so I say good-bye to it, just like I have to the memories.
Another thing has been happening in the meditation – I think it may be my mind subconsciously trying to make sense of all of this. One day, in my mind, I found myself in a dark obsidian room, where I saw a bloodied body in the expanse. I walked up to it, and saw that it was my 22-year old self (that’s how old I was when all of these things happened), with a large open wound from the left shoulder down the side and half-way down the left thigh. I had to allow my current self to stitch him up, and prop him up to a sitting/lounging position and take care of him and nurse him back to health. Over the period of several days I would go back to him in my mind, and saw that he was steadily getting better, with a couple days it seemed to get worse – it usually mirrored how I felt emotionally that day about processing things through the meditation. I don’t know if that means much, but I thought I’d share it for what it’s worth.
It’s an on-going process, but I thought you’d like to know how things have been going. I’ll keep you posted as I move forward. Thank you again for your suggestions.
April 2, 2020 at 2:17 pm in reply to: Conflicting feelings and memories from a past relationship #346784
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Joe.
Thanks for the recommendations – I’ve started developing a routine for the “mindfulness techniques for anger” exercise. It’s too soon right now to see the effects, but if you’d like, I could post an update sometime in the future on how it’s going.March 31, 2020 at 6:32 pm in reply to: Conflicting feelings and memories from a past relationship #346478
Yes, I think that idea makes sense. I’ve started brainstorming some ideas of saying to use in a guided meditation, like “It didn’t work out, and that’s okay,” and “You’ve come so far since those events happened.” I’ve even thought about beginning with something like “Try to picture her in your mind:” as a starting point. I don’t know exactly where I should go from there. Do you happen to know any other common sayings for this kind of guided meditation?