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What do you guys think of painful memories in your childhood?

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  • #201081
    Hey Its Jess
    Participant

    What I wanna know is that how do you guys cope with these difficult memories?

    And what was your reaction when you first experienced them?

    My parents got divorced when I was eleven, but the thing is I wouldn’t count that experience as painful. I don’t remember crying. I don’t remember getting sad about it. All I remember is that I sorta saw it coming and then went on to creating a whole realm of imaginary worlds to play in lol xD.

    Love to hear about your thoughts on this. Peace 🙂

    #201085
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Hey Its Jess:

    I will share with you a memory of my childhood that came to my mind as I read your sentences: “I wouldn’t count that experience as painful. I don’t remember crying. I don’t remember getting sad about it. All I remember is that I… went on to creating a whole realm of imaginary worlds”

    I was maybe five, maybe six. It was night time, dark. My mother and father were fighting in the living room, adjacent to where I was sleeping. I was awake. The screaming were loud. I remember her screaming. Maybe breaking things. She screamed loud that she was going to go outside (the apartment) and kill herself. She left the apartment… I went after her in the dark. I was expecting to find her dead body (believing she will do what she said she will do). As I walked down the stairs I imagined I was in a movie and a feeling of pleasantness came over me, I was in an exciting movie. I saw me walking down the stairs and then walking down the path to the street, as if I was watching a character in a movie. I looked to the right of me: no body, to the left: no body, not yet. I finally found her, there she was on the street. I felt happy. I came out of the movie experience and felt joy. I cried out to her: “You are alive!”

    She looked at me angrily, rejecting, cold and said to me: “Why wouldn’t I be (alive)?”

    End of memory. My input on my own memory: children when experiencing overwhelming feelings disassociate. It is an automatic reaction, it is the body protecting itself from perceived great pain. Disassociating, as happened to me, is removing my awareness from the here-and-now. I made believe I was somewhere else, not here.

    Regarding your mention of your parents’ divorce, when you wrote that you don’t remember crying or feeling sad or feeling pain, it doesn’t mean you didn’t. To me it means that most likely you disassociated. And you immersed yourself in imaginary worlds where it felt pleasant, just like I did imagining I was in a movie.

    anita

     

    #201161
    Hey Its Jess
    Participant

    Hi Anita!

    Glad you shared this. I understand that this topic may be difficult for others to talk about. Its really weird and beautiful in a sense that children develop this ‘zoning out’ response. However, these experiences do make up who we are today…but not necessarily are supposed to define us.

    I wonder is it best to forget the pain?  I read somewhere that each time we recall old memories we modify them in some way so they don’t remain authentic as time passes. Why this happens I have no idea. It would have been a lot better if we remembered. It could have answered tons of questions, many face as adults.

    #201173
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Hey Its Jess:

    You wrote: “these experiences do make up who we are today… but not necessarily are supposed to define us”-  very well put.

    I believe that to be able to define ourselves, it takes healing from past emotional injuries. In that healing, it is possible to no longer react to the past by making choices out of habit,  but instead, to make choices out of awareness, seeing the bigger picture, here and now.

    We become creators in our lives, no longer reactors.

    You wrote: “I wonder is it best to forget the pain?”- I think it would be best, only it is impossible. How many people tried, I tried. Not a single case of success, I believe.

    Regarding modifying memories: the one I shared with you includes a part (I skipped it with “…”) that I think belongs to another night. The brain is not a perfect computer, it combines events, skips many, and of course, in every event, the focus is on the scary parts. All animals focus on perceivable danger.

    anita

    #201245
    Leocube
    Participant

    Throughout my entire childhood, I’ve heard this sentence “there’s nothing you can do about it, so just move on” on many occasions. Whenever I asked people how they were able to deal with a negative experience, they would always give me that answer. At that time, I understood the logic, the logic made sense, but I never could adapt to it. I never could just “move on”. I would dwell on it, I would think about what I could have done, what I should have done, what the other party could have done, whose fault it was. I would think about it for hours, days, years. I wish that I could explain my though process, but I couldn’t, because for some reason, at 24 years of age, I am now able to just “move on”. Something just clicked inside me and I was able to let go. Things happened, and there isn’t really anything that I can do about it now, so why dwell on it?

    I’d be lying if I say that I’m enlightened. I’m not, I’m still evolving. Sometimes things pop back up in my head and I would dwell on it, then I have to remind myself to “move on”. Memories are not as painful/embarrassing as they used to be, they happened, and the world keeps turning. I would suggest something that I call “visual meditation”. It is a technique that has worked for me. It’s essentially your usual meditation, combining with a concept called “mind palace” (I learned from watching Sherlock Holmes). You can spend 30 minutes to do this before going to bed, and try to do it everyday so you are able to rewire the way your brain works.

    Imagine yourself in complete darkness………. Any bad memories/thoughts that comes up in your head, let it surface, don’t suppress it. This is where you will actually get in touch with those thoughts……… Seeing yourself in 3rd person sitting there in complete darkness, with these memories floating around you, like little screens….By seeing yourself in 3rd person, you are able to disassociate form your emotions and feelings. ……..Now line them up in anyway that you like, and imagine a little file cabinet. ……Any memories that you don’t like thinking about, put them in that little cabinet, and now they’re gone…………. Yes, they will pop up again, and you would again close your eyes, come back to your space of total darkness and that little file cabinet that you imagined before, and put that little file back in there…………. Over time, your space of darkness can now have a table and a chair, and that little file cabinet, ….maybe this time you would have another file cabinet, for something else, let’s say “work related cabinet”. …….You can start to expand your space and build your old “palace”, where you can visually organize your thoughts/feelings……….Remember to relax all your muscles…the muscles on your face, your buttcheeks, stomache…etc..take it slow and relax.

    For me, imagining myself in 3rd person was essential in the beginning since it helps me disassociate. By doing this, I was able to think clearer, I wasn’t in a constant emotional roller coaster like before. My brain actually feels more organized and I was able to live in the present and not the past or the future. I now can do it with my eyes opened and to be honest, I haven’t been doing it as often as I should have since I felt “cured”, but I’m getting back into it now.

    Just something that i would like to share, maybe you have your own technique that I would love to learn.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Leocube.
    #201253
    Hey Its Jess
    Participant

    @Anita What you said about not reacting anymore, I think I am at that point in my life. I feel like I have distanced myself from the bad experiences in life to the point of not caring about whatever happened.

    In a way, this belittles my younger self’s choices. Most of the times I feel like a new person but its scary and thrilling at the same time…like I don’t even know who I am anymore. A collection of selves or some sort of divine master controller lol.

    Sometimes, in my darkest moments, the person I used to be does take over and this has happened countless  times before as well. But this time I don’t fight it. I let it rage out. I observe its triggers and motives. And this has helped me a lot to take control of the situation.

    #201263
    Hey Its Jess
    Participant

    Hey Leocube!

    Can’t tell you how many times people have told me the exact same words. And often they were the ones who made the mistakes and instead of taking responsibility for it, they would tell me to move on and that people go through worse than this so its ok. One thing I have learned from this is that you should never justify smaller mistakes by comparing them with bigger sins. Its not ok. Most of the people like to reminisce about their childhood but I am so glad that its over.

    Thing is we can either deal with the problem or get over it. Maybe, after brooding over it for years we do “move on”. We cease to suffer but by then these experiences have already changed us. Right now, I am at peace with my past and it doesn’t bother me much. Guess now we can say that its “logical” to move on lol. I have heard about this therapy called “inner child work”. Basically, what you do is, zone out and envision your kid self in a traumatic/sad memory. You go up to the kid, say words of wisdom and give it a hug. Tbh, all this is absurd in my opinion. Firstly, there is no way I can relate to those feelings of sadness anymore. I pretend to have the conversion with this kid but deep down I know that its not real.

     

    Yes, I have tried meditation before but its always been on and off. I haven’t been able to make it a habit…yet :). I’ll try to explain my very odd way of doing it, hopefully you’ll get it xD. I think of a ladder which leads to a dimly lit tunnel engraved with random pictures. After some walking, during which I relax my body as much as I can, I find myself standing in a great hall. There are many different versions of me there. Are you familiar with the concept of fragmentation? Its kinda like that. Each trait or feeling is exaggerated a thousand times and is represented by a person. And I just try to converse with them but it always ends up in an argument…so its always chaotic.

     

    What I have gathered from these “sessions” is that some of the voices aren’t even mine. I can pin point them to the people in real life whom I got them from. They told me this negative stuff so many times that I started telling myself the same thing. Anyhow, I’ll try your method of rearranging memories next time. It may give me some insight.

    #201291
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Hey Its Jess:

    You wrote: “I feel like I have distanced myself from the bad experiences in life”.

    My input: naturally we don’t like to feel pain. Naturally, every living thing capable of feeling pain does its very best any which way to not feel pain.

    anita

     

    #201343
    Leocube
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>@heyitsjess I think moving on applies to any situation where a person finds themselves dwelling on the past, whether the negative experience was their fault or not. At the end of the day, everyone wants to be happy and at peace. You may have made a big mistake in the past, and you may have ruined someone’s be life, but looking at the bigger picture, what you did had no impact on how the universe operates. People can be shitty to each other, people can be kind, at the end of the day, nothing matters. Your loved ones will die, you will die, you will be forgotten, the Earth is only an atom in space…it just doesn’t matter. Some people operate on taking advantages of others, some are selfless, both will die in the end.</p>
     

    Of course, it’s normal to feel bad, especially if you’ve made a mistake, but if you truly feel remorseful and had done everything in your power to make it right, then it’s time to move on. Or should we sacrifice our own happiness to correct the wrong that we did?

     

    As for the subject of meditation, I think your method can help a person get a deeper understanding of his own self, whereas mine is to simply organize or compartmentalize. I will try what you have shared since I will be interested in what I will find about myself .

    #201865
    dreaming715
    Participant

    Anita! I definitely had an “ah-ha” moment reading your first post. First of all, thank you for sharing your experience with us. The reason is resonated with me is because when I was young I witnessed pretty severe domestic violence between my mom and step-dad. The thing I don’t know if I’ve ever admitted to anyone is exactly what you described: “I imagined I was in a movie and a feeling of pleasantness came over me, I was in an exciting movie.”

    As a child, I think your brain tries to make sense of trauma and children may feel “excitement” as a coping mechanism. Not that there isn’t fear- it’s just a different kind of fear. Sometimes fear can feel dreadful (like witnessing an accident) and other times fear can feel exciting (like waiting to go on a roller coaster).

    I’ll admit I’ve always felt hesitant to admit that the domestic violence I witnessed felt oddly “exciting” sometimes when I was really young (like under the age of 10). I think this was my mind’s way of detaching from the experience.

    I realize it still negatively affected me though. I remember being in college and going to bars and if a couple of guys started getting to a physical fight, my heart would start racing and I’d start to panic and want to immediately leave. Now when I see adults fight it makes me anxious. Anxiety is one thing I’m working on in therapy.

    #201885
    Aaron Sorah
    Participant

    First and Foremost, I find it incredibly cool that this is the first topic I came across as a member here! This exact problem has hindered my progress on the path until recently. My  childhood trauma, and the false identity I assumed as a result, have impeded all my attempts to be at peace with what is. I think that through accepting my past, and forgiving my parents for the mistakes they made was my first step towards reconciling my past, so I could realize that the past isn’t me. The future isn’t me, I am me right now. Great topic!

    #201951
    anita
    Participant

    * Dear dreaming715:

    You are welcome and thank you for sharing your haha moment. The excitement when in danger, the roller coaster experience, fear and excitement… there is more for me to see here, I can sense a few haha moments to come, later.

    * Dear Aaron Sorah:

    Glad you are here, hope to read more from you as you reply to others’ threads and/ or in a thread you may start yourself.

    anita

     

    #202419
    Hey Its Jess
    Participant

    @Dreaming715

    I can relate to what you go through. Growing up, I have seen my loved ones getting abused. As a kid, I would always run and try to stop them from hurting each other. This is something I do as an adult as well but my voice is steadier and I feel more powerful. The thing which bothers me is that my hands start to shake in these intense moments. Even after the fight, I find it hard to calm down. I hope this gets better with time.

    #202421
    Hey Its Jess
    Participant

    @Aaron Sorah

    I agree. The only moment which exists and will always exist is now. The past and future, happen at the same time which is relative.

     

    Our relationship with our parents is funny really xD. We don’t get to choose them. These are the people who instill their beliefs  in us while we are way too young to understand how the world works. To us they are like these know-it-all superhuman beings who are doing the best they can. We see the world through their vision, tainted or pure doesn’t matter.

    As we grow up, we realize that they are only humans like we are. This creates conflict. The most important part is that you can’t ever be enemies with them, despite how bad they treated you. By ignoring them you will create a conflict much larger than you can handle, something which shakes your core and makes you question your very existence.

    So the right way of dealing with this, in my opinion, is to forgive them. Move on. Life is so much more than this 🙂

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Hey Its Jess.
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