How to Stop the Past from Hurting You

“I don’t understand it,” said Priya, “ I can’t seem to figure why I can’t get over the pain of my past broken relationship and move ahead with my life calmly. Why do I crumble like this”? Priya has a good job, close friends and is a confident woman. Rejected by her boyfriend led to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. This causes her intense anxiety attacks debilitating and affecting all areas of her life. She can’t seem to understand what is going on with her.

Ghosts of an Emotional Past:
You may not be traumatised by your past but it might still be troubling you in your present. Learn how to escape your past by giving it a helping hand

Helping Hand technique
Go back and give a helping hand to your past so that you can re-contextualise the memory of that earlier time. Use these 3 steps:

1) Locate when the emotional problem took place
Close your eyes and think back to a time when you experienced that same disturbing feeling you are currently feeling.. Notice if any other memories come to mind.

2) How are you different now?
After locating the unpleasant memory, open your eyes and write down how you are different now from the time that event happened (e.g.- perhaps you were bullied in class or rejected by a parent or teacher)
Come up with a list ( for e.g.- I am more confident now, I know much more about the world now, I know how to protect myself)

3) Go back to the memory of your past as you are now
Time travel back to that time in your classroom not as a child but as your adult self ( with more distance or a disassociated perspective) without the usual feelings of anxiety and helplessness and “sort that time out properly. Reassure your child-self and complete the unfinished business of this event that has been unconsciously troubling you from your past. You will feel freer, be less anxious thinking about your past as this memory would finally have been put to bed so to speak.

If you have difficulty doing this on your own, go to a hypnotherapist who can help you by engaging you hypnotically while doing the process.

Try a few other techniques too:

The Sealed Envelope technique

In a study carried out in 2010, researchers asked the subjects to write down something unpleasant from the past, such as a decision they deeply regretted. Students in the study who sealed their written accounts of loss or regret inside an envelope reported feeling much less troubled by these memories than students who had written them down but not sealed them in
So, according to this research, if something’s troubling you, write it down, put it in an envelope, and seal it. Doing so will help bring you psychological closure.

But, of course, we can also do this hypnotically – and sometimes much more powerfully. Here are three examples that are given by psychotherapist Mark Tyrell

Cloud watching

I might ask a client in hypnosis to relax deeply in a beautiful place and just get the sense of a small white puffy cloud overhead. Then ask them to notice that cloud darken as all the negative feelings from some past event transmit from the person’s mind into that cloud. Eventually, they can watch the cloud drift away and rain out all the past hurt on a far distant spot, perhaps even see a rainbow from there as they begin to feel free and light.

Past showers bring future flowers

Or I might suggest they hypnotically watch the rain from all those past negative feelings helping to irrigate dry land to be able to produce new healthy life in future. This reframes that past experience as something that, paradoxically, may help things in the future.

Locking away out-of-date feelings

Or we might hypnotically ask someone to seal away any old feelings they no longer need in a ‘secret secure safe box’, perhaps hypnotically getting them to bury it deep within the ground. Of course, we can do this alongside literally asking someone to write about troubling memories and seal them away in an envelope, just as the researchers in that study did.

Moving calmly into the future

Once your past memory is resolved, you can leave the frightened /rejected child where he or she needs to be – in the past… and move ahead in your future with ease.

Li, X., Wei, L., & Soman, D. (2010). Sealing the emotions genie: The effects of physical enclosure on psychological closure. Psychological Science, 21(8), 1047-1050.

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