When it comes to healing or moving on from the past; some people progress a lot faster than others. There are also other situations where some people are perpetually caught up in their past and feel as if nothing is changing.
Now, the past that one has had and the pain and trauma that may have been experienced in this past are not to be dismissed or played down. The story that one has is unique and deserves to be respected.
The intention of this article is not to look at a specific type of pain or trauma; it is about looking into how the ego mind functions and how this affects the process of healing and moving on from the past.
This is often classed as being present and when the past is still very much on one’s mind; it is difficult to be present. And when one is stuck in the past, it can appear that one has no choice in life.
For some, the past may have been extremely traumatic and for others it could have included a series of frustrating events that continue to plague them in their present moment.
However no matter what the past experience or experiences were, the effects are generally the same; a loss of internal freedom and as a consequence of this, external freedom. As well as an absence of: wellbeing, peace, empowerment and happiness.
Post Traumatic Stress
Post traumatic stress is often used to describe the emotional experiences of a traumatic event that has never ended and is continually repeated long after it has happened. What this means is the minds normal function of processing what happened, was unable to take place due to the intensity of what happened.
And now the emotional and cognitive consequences of that event are hanging around. So this means that although the event has long gone, one will continue to feel, think and react as if the situation is still occurring.
For the individual that has had a traumatic past, this is what is happening. Their ‘present’ moment is being affected by what happened in their past. And depending on one’s age, this could be a few years ago or it could be over ten or twenty years ago.
And just like Post traumatic stress; it is hanging around. With post traumatic stress the situation would have been far too intense for the mind to process what was happening. For the individual with a traumatic past it could have been due to the people around them being unaware of what was taking place.
This could have been trauma that was experienced during ones childhood years or in their later years. The time that one is generally more vulnerable to being affected is during childhood. Here one’s mind is not developed enough to process what is happening and will be completely dependent on their caregivers to assist in the process.
Here ones caregivers will mirror what one is feeling and this will allow emotional regulation and processing to occur. And this can mean that one is less likely to have a build up of emotions and if they do have a stressful situation in later life, through these early experiences of being mirrored; one will have the ability to process their own emotions or feel comfortable enough to ask another person.
The Real World
When it comes to the real world, the above is often the exception and not the rule. And ones caregivers may not only have an inability to regulate themselves; they might be so unaware that their behaviour is abusive in one way or another.
So, if ones caregivers are unable to assist in processing ones emotions, it will mean that they are likely to remain unprocessed. And if ones caregivers are also abusive, it means that they are unaware; this will also mean that they are highly unlikely to be present enough to assist in emotional processing either.
If the pain and trauma was processed as and when it happened, it would have minimized and perhaps even removed any consequences from being created later in life. As this has not happened, the consequences of the abuse and the absence of emotional regulation for example, will remain.
And through these early experiences, the ego mind will begin to form associations.
These associations will be formed around what is safe and what is safe is anything that is familiar. The ego minds whole identity is formed around what is classed as safe. And as dysfunctional as these early experiences can be; they are familiar to the ego mind.
So to let go of these associations will cause the ego mind to create fear and this will be interpreted as death to the ego mind.
Being The Observer
When one is the observer of their mind and is not identified with it, it will be possible to see how these associations are taking place. However, if one is weighed down by the pain and trauma of the past, this is not going to be easy.
And this will mean that one can lose their awareness and regress to how they felt in the past. This is often described as merging with the wounded inner child.
This wounded inner child is calling out to be validated and acknowledged. And if one is completely merged with this wounded inner child, it will not be possible to observe the child within. Here one will continue to carry out the same patterns and behaviours.
What can bring these patterns and behaviours to an end is awareness. Once the inner Child or ones story has been validated, acknowledged and listened to enough; one’s ability to observe will greatly improve. And instead of trying to change or manipulate what has happened one will be able to let go of the past. But in order to let go of something, we have to be aware of it in the first place.
The amount of time this process will go on for will depend on numerous factors. The path we are on is unique to us and should not be compared with another human being. Our progress can only be compared with where we can have come from and not based on another person’s progress.
There are many techniques and methods out there that offer one the chance to heal or process the past. And as we are not all the same, this is a good thing. I would say it is not so much the technique, as it is ones readiness to move on, that will make the difference.
If you feel this has been of value, please leave a comment, like or get in touch. And feel free to share this article.
Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.