“My past still haunted me … This is trauma: a near constant feeling in my gut that something is wrong, or that something terrible is about to happen, the automatic fear responses in my body telling me to run away, to take cover, to hide myself from danger everywhere. My trauma can still rise up out of mundane encounters. A sudden sight, a particular smell, can transport me back to the past.” – Edith Eva Eger
Perhaps you’ve heard it said that memory is sacred ground. But I would also argue that it’s haunted territory.
Think about it …
What happens if you live through something absolutely awful? A trauma or a horror? Something truly devastating? How are you told to handle it?
The message we pick up from society is: Bury all that stuff. Never, ever talk about it. Push it down inside. Don’t look at it again. Whatever you do, don’t ruminate on it. Don’t allow yourself go there. Just pretend it didn’t happen.
So that’s what we try so desperately to do.
The sensible – even the perfect – solution?
But here’s the problem
This isn’t the solution – for it doesn’t go away.
When we refuse ourselves permission to face and grieve what’s lost, we doom ourselves to constantly re-living all that pain. That’s why we keep being triggered, sometimes after many years.
The past remains haunted, and it holds us in its grip.
There is a way to be free – but it’s a very different road. It’s embracing all that happened, and then facing it head-on.
Freedom means we find the courage to look at all that stuff. We make the hard decision that we’ll tear the prison down. A slow and painful task that is accomplished brick by brick.
This is not an easy choice. But it’s the best choice we can make.
But let me also warn you …
Freedom happens very slowly. Unbelievably slowly. Depressingly slowly.
But, in time, you’ll see and difference and you’ll find that you have changed.
The past is in the past, and you can move on with your life.