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When the Past is Not Always Past or How Past Hurts Still Might Be Hurting You Now

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

As much as we'd like to think that the past is behind us and that we have moved on from past hurts and traumas, the truth is that sometimes the past is not always past. In fact, past hurts and traumas can

continue to affect us in the present, often without us even realizing it.

So why does this happen? Well, our brains are wired to remember negative experiences more strongly than positive ones, as a survival mechanism. This means that even if we consciously try to let go of past hurts, our brains may still be holding onto them and bringing them up in the form of triggers or negative patterns of behavior.

Here are some ways in which past hurts might still be hurting you now:

  1. Negative self-talk and beliefs: If you were criticized or belittled in the past, you may have internalized those messages and continue to believe them about yourself. For example, if you were told you were "stupid," you may still have a voice in your head telling you that you're not smart enough for certain tasks or situations.

  2. Avoidance behaviors: If you experienced trauma or hurt in a particular situation or with a certain person, you may unconsciously avoid those situations or people in the present. This can limit your experiences and opportunities for growth.

3. Trust issues: If you were betrayed or hurt by someone you trusted in the past, you may struggle with trusting others in the present. This can lead to difficulties in forming and maintaining healthy relationships.

4. Emotional dysregulation: If you experienced trauma or hurt in the past, you may be more prone to emotional dysregulation in the present. This can manifest as intense emotional reactions to triggers or difficulty regulating your emotions in general.

So what can you do if you suspect that past hurts are still hurting you now? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Practice self-compassion: Be gentle with yourself and acknowledge that it's normal to still feel the effects of past hurts. Don't beat yourself up for not being "over it" yet.

  2. Seek support: Talk to a trusted friend or family member, or consider seeing a therapist. A trained professional can help you work through past hurts and develop coping strategies for the present.

  3. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment, which can help you identify when past hurts are surfacing.

  4. Challenge negative self-talk and beliefs: When you notice negative self-talk or beliefs arising, challenge them by asking yourself if they are really true or if they are a product of past hurts.

In conclusion, the past is not always past. Past hurts and traumas can continue to affect us in the present, often without us realizing it. However, with awareness and support, we can work through these hurts and develop coping strategies for the present. Remember to be gentle with yourself and seek help if needed.D), and substance abuse disorders. When we don't address past traumas, they can continue to impact our lives and lead to a range of mental health problems.

If this post speaks to something about your current experience, you may be interested in exploring Into the Silence, a deeply personal healing retreat facilitated by Caroline Ward, here at the Yarra Valley Living Centre. The next retreat is from 1-7 April, 2023.

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