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Help with bad memories

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Greatshield17, Aug 28, 2021.

  1. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've been there too! Every time I think something is resolved that issue would come back, some times, years later.
    One day I realized it was like the times I attempted to quit smoking. I would quit smoking for a year or more, then out if the blue the urge to smoke would rise again. I realized that I might never be free of the urge to smoke. The best I can do is to find another thought to think instead of focusing on the urge.
    I think negative experiences that evoke strong emotion are like this too. The negative emotion is a distraction from the real work.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2021
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  2. Gerald Wilgus

    Gerald Wilgus Well-Known Member

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    And the real work? Today it was having a nice experience. Late afternoon, and before days cool down, my spouse and I went to Elberta beach. Huge waves on Lake Michigan, so we bounced around in them for a while, smiling and laughing, then sitting back for some beach reading as the sun and wind dried us. She likes to see me like this. Or maybe the real work is to lift up those negative experiences as offerings for the joy of today.
     
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  3. Ovaltine Overdose

    Ovaltine Overdose Active Member V.I.P Member

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    A little late, but in psychological terms, coping strategies come in 2 general forms, disassociation or reassociation. Memories by en large are more emotional than literal, and intensity of emotion at the time affects how strong the memory will be in the future. And since negative emotions are stronger than positive emotions, this is the leading explanation of PTSD. The most common of the 2 coping mechanisms is the former, disassociation, where you separate your feelings from the memory through a variety of strategies, usually through imagining it was a different person in the memory than you. I've always preferred the second, reassociation. This is where you change the emotion associated with the memory again though a variety of strategies. I usually go about this by reliving the experience piece by piece, and trying to gain a new perspective on it that isn't so negative, whether you turn it into a learning experience or just learn to laugh about it.

    TLDR; in order to cope with bad memories, you either kill it with disassociation, or accept it through reassociation.
     
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  4. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I agree, this is the most effective permanent solution. But if negative emotion is strong enough then one can get "stuck", or mired, in the emotion so throughly that actual details and facts often can not be recalled reliably except in broad generalizations.

    In that case you have to dissasociate the emotion first before attempting to review the event that caused the emotions.
    In the case of trauma induced by physical harm or fear, one may never be able to reassociate the event. Trying to do so simply causes more trauma. Trust me on this. There is no way I will ever find a "learning experience" or anything humorous about some of my experiences.
     
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  5. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    It is interesting that you say this. I have always believed there is something to find in any experience, no matter how traumatic. It may not seem so at the time or even when I subsequently revisit it, but that doesn't mean it isn't there. It may be that someone else has to see it in order that I can.

    I look at something from my past, going round and round with it, and sometimes it just takes the honest revelation to somebody who responds with an idea I hadn't seen. They unexpectedly provide me with a missing piece. Up until that point I’d thought there couldn't be anything else. And then someone goes and surprises me with something I hadn't considered before.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2021
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  6. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Obviously what I am talking about does not concern mundane experiences.
     
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  7. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    Obviously.

    That's what makes them so difficult to discover the deeper meaning. And yet, meaning will be there. It is not out of the question. We may not be ready to know it. Other understandings may need to come first. But we will always know what we are able to know, when we are able to know it.
     
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