While caring for a loved one its common for unresolved issues from your shared past to surface and trigger your emotions. This can cause an overreaction to the situation at hand.
Everyone has a story; actually, thousands of them have accumulated over one’s lifetime. The majority of these past stories are forgotten but yet they subconsciously continue to exist. Our ability to consciously recall a story is very limited compared to the vast storehouse of information archived in our subconscious mind. Before the age of five our experiences hooked up our neuronal network which became the subconscious blueprint for the rest of our lives. Memory actually begins after five and although we may have a few recollections before that, they are usually limited and unclear.
Recently a friend was narrating a traumatic event from her past, and even though it happened 20 years ago she began to sob. She was reliving it as she told it. The emotional connection to that story had not been resolved. She said she usually preferred not to rehash painful experiences from her past because they upset her. The only problem with not resolving past issues is yesterday’s hidden emotional baggage will color the person’s present life.
Many of the problems in our current lives have a connection to our past experiences and when we get emotionally triggered, we can easily get lost in the storm. Overreacting to something today can be a result of stored up emotions that get released whenever a present situation even vaguely resembles an unresolved experience or trauma. Those with PTSD experience this regularly.
In my life I have experienced much trauma beginning with child abuse. That pattern of being hurt by the ones who are supposed to love me shaped most of my young adulthood. I made very bad choices, subconsciously believing I was unworthy of love that didn’t bring pain. As a result, I experienced a lot of unhappiness that spilled onto everyone around me. Over the years I have resolved many of my issues by bringing those hidden shadows into the light. Through years of honest introspection and learning forgiveness of others and myself, I have found some measure of peace in my later years.
Noone wants to rehash something hurtful especially if leads to emotionally reliving the pain. However, when we can tell the story without going through the emotions connected to it is when we are moving towards resolution. Whatever we haven’t worked out from our past, eventually appears in the present only with a different take on the script. Different faces and places but the same story.
When we can honestly assess our experiences without judgement, guilt or placing blame, we can put aside the emotional connection to our story. By doing this we develop a better understanding of ourselves and others and become empowered to change our present lives for the better.
When we are emotionally lost in the story, we can’t do that.