Are You Addicted to the Past?By Dr. Margaret Paul
October 13, 2014
Are you using the past to avoid feeling some current painful feelings?
I could see immediately, in the third Skype session I was having with Vicky, that she was feeling very sad.
"Vicky, what are you so sad about?"
"Since I've been learning Inner Bonding, I keep looking back and feeling so sad about many of the choices I've made in my life. I have so many regrets."
"Vicky, I'd like you to breathe in and move into an intent to learn with the wounded part of you who wants to focus on the past. There must be a good reason for focusing on your regrets right now. See if you can tune into what feelings your wounded self is avoiding by focusing on the past."
"I don't understand. I'm feeling sad, and I'm not avoiding that feeling."
"Right. But you are feeling sad because you are judging yourself for your past choices. Judging yourself is a form of control, which says to me that you might be trying to control some current painful feelings. What's currently happening in your life that might be causing you to feel some loneliness or heartache or helplessness over someone or a situation?"
"Well, I'm having a really hard time with my daughter. She's doing badly in school and is hanging out with kids who do drugs. I know she is experimenting with drugs, but she won't talk with me about it. I'm very worried about her and I feel so helpless to help her. She doesn't want my help. And I think it's my fault that she is doing this because I wasn't always there for her when she was younger and I was quite controlling with her. I think she is angry with me now and is rebelling. That's why I'm feeling sad about the past."
"Does your wounded self believe that if you judge yourself for the past you can somehow change it?"
"I think I believe that if I judge myself for my mistakes, then I won't make them again."
"Has that ever worked for you?"
"Hummm…..no. I just end up feeling badly."
"Vicky, please put your hands on your heart and get present with your heartache and helplessness over the situation with your daughter. Invite in the love and compassion of Spirit to be with you with these painful feelings. Let your inner child know that she is not alone right now – that you are here and Spirit is here. Be very gentle and kind with yourself."
Vicki does this.
"Keep doing this until you feel ready to release these feelings. Then release them to Spirit and ask for peace and acceptance to replace them."
Vicki stays present with the feelings for about five minutes and then tells me she is ready to release them.
"Now, ask your Guidance what would be loving to you in this situation with your daughter."
"My Guidance is telling me that my guilt over the past and my fear of her not loving me is causing me big problems in my parenting. I've read a ton of books and I've received a lot of help from a child psychologist I've spoken with, but I haven't been able to implement anything."
"Right. As long as you are trying to control how she feels about you, you will not be able to take action on what is loving to you and to her. Are you willing to let go of how she feels about you?"
"That's hard for me. But I can see that I have to. I can see that she is using my fear to control me and has lost all respect for me."
"Right. Until you start to be a role model for taking loving care of yourself, she will likely continue to act out. Once you are focused on taking care of yourself, then you will be in a position to act on what you know to do for her. In addition to the books and the child psychologist, your Guidance likely has much to tell you, but you need to let go of ruminating about the past and focus on taking care of your feelings now.
"The very best thing you can do for your daughter is to role model personal responsibility for your own feelings. Once you are loving you, then you will have the strength you need to take the loving actions you need to take."
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Share your love with those who share their love. Bless and love from a distance those who withhold their love or have no love to share. One aspect of loving yourself is to discern who reliably shares love and who doesn't, and not to allow your sharing of love to be a one-way street.
By Dr. Margaret Paul