Support On A Birthday With Painful Memories
4 Steps to Erasing the Trauma of Painful Memories
Most everyone has at least one traumatic memory embedded in their brains. One that still resonates for me was the time my mother left me alone when I was six years old to take the babysitter home.
When I looked apprehensive, she told me not to worry. “I’ll be right back,” she said, smiling brightly, and drove off.
As it got dark, I became more and more frightened that something had happened to her and she wasn’t coming back.
By the time she returned I was totally terrified. She found me standing outside wailing. She scolded me and took me inside. Years later, whenever my wife was late coming home I would become worried and anxious. My heart would begin to pound, and more than once when she was particularly late, I had a full-blown panic attack.
I know I’m not alone. Some have memories from a car accident, a rape, a natural disaster, a violent parent, a drunk husband, a hospital stay, an assault, the horrors of war. Experiences these are more common than you might think, with an estimated 60% or more of Americans who have experienced at least one of these at some point in life.
Not all of these memories cause people to experience trauma later in life, but they can cause problems for many, and for some they can be debilitating. People with posttraumatic stress (PTSD) can become hypersensitive, with nerves on a permanent state of high alert. Fear and anxiety recur without warning, and nightmares can ruin sleep.
Memories and Trauma
But now there are simple, yet effective, ways to actually erase the traumatic emotions that often accompany these memories so that they can finally be put to rest. Many people can do this work on their own. For more difficult traumatic memories, working with a therapist who specializes in healing trauma can be helpful.
Find a Therapist
In his book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, neuropsychologist Rick Hanson says, “Your brain was wired in such a way when it evolved, it was primed to learn quickly from bad experiences but not so much from the good ones.” It’s why traumatic memories so often stick in our brains, while positive memories seem to slip away. “It’s an ancient survival mechanism that turned the brain into Velcro for the negative, but Teflon for the positive,” Hanson concludes.
Fortunately, new findings from the field of affective neuroscience can help people heal traumatic memories that can contribute to PTSD, depression, bipolar, and even Alzheimer’s.
One of the things we are learning about memories is critically important: Though the brain is particularly good at recording bad memories, they are not permanently locked into the brain’s memory banks, as we once thought.Whenever we actively recall a memory, it transforms and becomes vulnerable to modification.
When we recall a memory it becomes a little unstable and for a window of perhaps two or three hours, it’s possible to modify it before it settles down again, or “reconsolidates,” in the brain.
That’s why, paradoxically, recalling bad memories can help us heal from old wounds.
Reliving traumatic moments again in a condition of safety can help a person disconnect the memory from the painful “alarm” mechanisms that are the source of so much discomfort.
In the book The Archeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions, Jaak Panksepp and Lucy Biven say, “Emotional memories remain forever malleable, subject to influence by future events—through a phenomenon called reconsolidation.
” This is the basis of various treatment approaches for healing trauma including prolonged exposure therapy, supportive psychotherapy, emotional freedom techniques (tapping), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), trauma-based cognitive behavior therapy, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.
How to HEAL
the latest in neuroscience finds Rick Hanson offers a simple, yet effective, method for rewiring the brain from the negative emotions associated with trauma to the positive emotions associated with health and wellness. In his book, he describes a four step process using the acronym HEAL.
- Have a positive experience.
Step 1 activates a positive mental state, and steps 2, 3, and 4 install it in your brain. In step 1 we notice a positive experience that’s already present in the foreground or background of your awareness. In the example I offered at the beginning, I tuned into an experience where I felt safe and supported, and brought to mind experiences of safety and security.
Too often we spend minutes, and sometimes hours and days, ruminating over a negative experience, but we gloss over the positive. Here we take time to deepen the positive experience.
I would open myself to the feelings of support I have in my life.
I would picture and my wife and friends and the many supports I have, filling my inner conscious with at least 10 to 20 seconds of positive memory.Here we imagine ourselves drinking in the experience. I imagine all my cells being infused with the experience. I feel it sinking into me and becoming part of my brain and all the parts of my being.
- Link positive and negative material.
Hanson describes this as an optional step. We don’t want to become overwhelmed by the negative, but to hold the negative in consciousness while it is infused with the positive. Hanson uses the image of a garden. We imagine the beauty of beautiful flowers we are planting.
We become aware of the weeds and gently pull them out so there’s room for growth. He concludes by saying, “Whenever you want, let go of all negative material and rest only in the positive.
Then, to continue uprooting the negative material, a few times over the next hour be aware of only neutral or positive things that may have been associated with the negative.
I bought back the memories of being left by my mother and some of the associated experiences of getting anxious whenever someone I cared about was late.
Focusing on the negative while activating positive experiences can actually “erase” the fearful feelings from the past.
I still remember my mother leaving me alone and being angry with me when she returned, but it doesn’t grab me and shake me up it used to do and I’m much less anxious when my wife is late coming home.
I describe other techniques for healing old pain in my book, Stress Relief for Men: How to Use the Revolutionary Tools of Energy Healing to Live Well. I often use them along with the ones that Dr. Hanson teaches.In this engaging TED talk Dr. Hanson describes how we can rewire the brain for joy and happiness and heal from trauma.
In another show he describes how our mind can change the brain from being Velcro for the negative and Teflon for the positive.
Even when traumatic memories don’t reach a level of discomfort associated with PTSD, they can still be destructive. Hanson notes that unresolved trauma “increases inflammation, weakens your immune system, and wears on your cardiovascular system. No one has to live with traumatic memories from the past. They can truly be healed now and forever.
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jed Diamond, PhD, LCSW, therapist in Willits, California
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.
ESL Lesson on Memories
Try the online quiz, reading, listening, and activities on grammar, spelling and vocabulary for this lesson on Memories. Click on the links above or see the activities below this article:
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|If you’re lucky, you have more good memories than bad ones. I’m very lucky. I have lots of good memories. I don’t have many painful memories. I don’t know why. Lots of bad things happened to me when I was younger but I don’t really have strong memories of them. I do have very clear memories of happy times. My earliest memory is of my first day in kindergarten. I guess I was three. I remember playing in the sand and eating it. I don’t remember my mother getting angry though. My most wonderful memory is a holiday to Mexico when I was ten. I remember every sound and smell so clearly. When I look at our family photos, the memories of what we did come flooding back. I’d to relive those memories one day.|
SEE A SAMPLE
Mail this lesson to friends and teachers. Click the @ below.
_______________, you have more good memories than bad ones. I’m very lucky. I have lots of good memories. I don’t _______________ memories. I don’t know why. Lots of bad things happened to me when I was younger but I don’t really have _______________ them. I do have very _______________ happy times.
My earliest memory _______________ day in kindergarten. I guess I was three. I remember playing in the sand and eating it. I _______________ mother getting angry though. My most wonderful memory is a holiday to Mexico when I was ten. I remember every sound and _______________.
When I look at our family photos, the memories of what we did _______________. I’d to relive those memories one day.
CORRECT THE SPELLING
If you’re ukycl, you have more good memories than bad ones. I’m very lucky. I have lots of good memories. I don’t have many failnup memories. I don’t know why. Lots of bad things happened to me when I was younger but I don’t really have ogrstn memories of them. I do have very clear memories of happy times.
My aesitelr memory is of my first day in kindergarten. I guess I was three. I remember ygpnial in the sand and eating it. I don’t rrmeeebm my mother getting angry though. My most ludrfwnoe memory is a holiday to Mexico when I was ten. I remember every sound and smell so ecayllr.
When I look at our family tosohp, the memories of what we did come foidnglo back. I’d to relive those memories one day.
UNJUMBLE THE WORDS
If you’re lucky, you than memories good more have bad ones. I’m very lucky. I have lots of good memories. I don’t memories painful many have. I don’t know why. Lots of bad things to was me younger when happened I but I don’t really have strong memories of them. I do have times very clear memories of happy.
My earliest memory is of my first day in kindergarten. I guess I was three. I remember and in eating the it sand playing. I don’t remember my mother getting angry though. My wonderful memory is a holiday to most Mexico when I was ten. I remember every sound and smell so clearly.
When I look at our family photos, the memories of what flooding come did we back. I’d to relive those memories one day.
DISCUSSION (Write your own questions)
|STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)|
|STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)|
STUDENT MEMORIES SURVEY
Write five GOOD questions about memories in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.
When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.
|STUDENT 1_____________||STUDENT 2_____________||STUDENT 3_____________|
- Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
- Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.
Write about memories for 10 minutes. Show your partner your paper. Correct each other’s work.
1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
2. INTERNET INFO: Search the Internet and find more information about memories. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
3. MAGAZINE ARTICLE:Write a magazine article about memories. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
4. MEMORIES POSTERMake a poster about memories. Show it to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your posters.
5. MY MEMORIES LESSON:Make your own English lesson on memories. Make sure there is a good mix of things to do. Find some good online activities. Teach the class / another group when you have finished.
6. ONLINE SHARING:Use your blog, wiki, page, MySpace page, stream, Del-icio-us / StumbleUpon account, or any other social media tool to get opinions on memories. Share your findings with the class.
Check your answers in the article at the top of this page.
Dealing with Painful Memories to Find Peace in the Present
“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” ~Marianne Williamson
I awoke early one morning, the cries and pleas of my dreams slowly dissipating, and though I could no longer hear or see what was happening, it stayed with me as I drifted back to the real world. I knew this story; I had dreamed a memory, and the remains of it stayed with me in my body.
a dark cloud it made me pull my knees into my chest, and it forced salty tears from my closed eyes. I had dreamed of a day almost two years ago.
I had dreamed of the day I was raped.
I was fifteen, and though at first I consented, I revoked that consent, but it happened anyway. That was the dream I had awoken from. The cries were mine; that voice that was begging him to stop was mine.
It was reliving it again, and again and again.
Memory is a funny thing. Since that day I have gone to many therapy sessions, I have made many changes in my life, I have even come as far as being able to forgive him for what he did, and myself for the choices I’d made to put me in that situation, but the memory remains.
When that emotion hits me, I feel I did the day it happened. I revert back to the little girl I once was, and all of the progress I’ve made is somehow washed away with the tears.
I awake and I don’t feel I’m living in this body, in this world. I am stuck somehow somewhere else, in the foggy place of memory. And it’s very hard to get out. I feel it was my fault, I am not worthy of a good life.
I feel broken, and all I want is to be alone.
I don’t always dream of him. The memories come and go, and I have learned ways to deal with it when the wall of emotion and trauma hits me. I have learned that sometimes it doesn’t get easier with time and that sometimes we have to succumb to the feelings we have in order to release them.
I heard once that by the time people are thirty, most of them have been traumatized in some way. I guess what I’m learning about forgiveness and memory is universal. So these are my ways of getting that place of pain and focusing back in the real world.
As I have said, when I have dreamed about him, I feel I’m living the memory long after I wake up. I find myself drawn to activities such as yoga and meditation. It’s my way of regaining my footing and releasing those memories of hurt.
Sometimes it’s so easy to fall into the familiarity of trauma. This is when it is essential to make sure that we are grounded here and now so that we don’t make the same mistakes again.
Connect with People
I find that when I am re-experiencing the abuse, I embody the false belief that I am not a deserving person. Not deserving of love, of connection, of support.
I also find that when I am left alone for extended periods of time, these feelings only grow. Find people who can support you. They don’t always know what to say or how to fix it, but their efforts say something very powerful to a sad soul.
Their efforts say, very quietly, “I love you,” and very often it’s those three simple words that can heals many wounds.
Forgive Yourself and Forgive Them
It took me two years to forgive the person who hurt me, and sometimes I’m not even sure if I forgive him completely. It wasn’t fair and I didn’t deserve what happened, but one day I realized that I was hurting myself by holding these feelings of anger in my body.
I learned to understand why he would have done it, and I discovered that it probably had nothing to do with me. He was in a lot of pain when it happened, and he wanted someone else to hurt just as much.
Forgiving myself was a little harder. It’s an ongoing, never ending process. I did not deserve what happened to me. I should not have been hurt that. But I was.
And no matter how much I lament what could have been, I am learning to understand that I handled the situation as best as I could then. At the time that was good enough.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that sometimes the most devastating events hold the most important lessons in life. It’s pushing through the fog of pain to reach the learning that is the key to living.
Memory is a funny thing.
Some memories slip away and we can barely recall them a week later. Others hold tight, nestling in a corner of our brains, and pop out when we lest expect them. Whatever the memory good or bad, it’s essential to just do our best.
Stay present, stay connected, and learn to forgive.
As a very good friend once told me, forgiveness is not saying that what they did was okay; it’s just saying that we refuse to hold the pain of what they did in our hearts any longer.
Photo by Clik Maverick
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5 Incredible Ways Repressed Memories Can Affect Your Life
Experts believe that there is a common thread with repressed memories. When intense stress or trauma gets too severe, actual neurological changes happen in the brain to enable us to survive the experience.
These mechanisms are designed to allow us to cope by pushing the memory our consciousness.
The first person to recognise the significance of repressed memories was Sigmund Freud in the late 19th century. He described repression as a way of blocking out painful events so the person would not have to recall them.
Freud believed that repression is an unconscious way for the mind to act against trauma, as opposed to suppression, which is a conscious decision to block out memories.
Causes of Repressed Memories
Typically those who have suffered some form of abuse are the most prone to repressing their memories. Abuse can materialise in different ways, such as sexual, mental or even physical.
- Sexual Abuse – Those who have suffered from sexual abuse, in particular children, may find the experience so traumatic that it overwhelms them and the only way they can function is to repress what took place.
- Mental abuse – If a person has been the subject of mental or emotional abuse, in some cases it can prove to be so damaging to their psyche that they shut down in order to remain sane.
- Physical abuse – Particularly violent attacks can be so stressful that the only way the mind can cope is to block the event totally from a person’s memory. This refers to both single events and multiple ones.
How repressed memories affect us
By repressing memories, we are stopping the brain from reliving traumatic events. So how does this affect us in real life?
At the time of the painful event, repressing the memory might be the only way a person can function.
However, many psychologists believe that if these memories are left repressed, they can lead to mental problems further down the line.
Some psychologists believe that these painful repressed memories can exert an influence on our behaviour, which could undermine our mental state. This is because even though the memory is repressed, it is still an intact memory.
Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome
One of the most talked about problems when it comes to repressed memories is the rise of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome or PTSD.
This is when a person, who has buried a particularly stressful experience, then suddenly and without warning relives it.
These traumatic flashbacks can occur when the person is triggered by environmental cues, including loud noises, bright lights, certain smells or locations.
It is typical for a person who is repressing their memories to avoid any kind of stimuli that might remind them, consciously or unconsciously of the traumatic event. This can be in the form of avoiding locations, situations, people and activities. This also manifests itself in a reluctance to talk about the painful event, whether this be friends, family or a professional.
Studies suggest that repressing bad memories from the past can stop a person from remembering more recent events. It is thought that the very act of repressing a painful memory actually causes a kind of ‘black hole’ in the brain where other memories, stressful or not, can get sucked up at the same time.
Scientists believe this is because if you are subconsciously trying to prevent a flashback of a traumatic event, anything you try to remember from around that time will be difficult to recall.
Despite repressing the painful memories, a person who has remains in a constant state of high arousal, whether they remember the event or not.
They might be unable to relax, to sleep properly at night, they will have a raised heartbeat, have difficulty concentrating and suffer from irritability.
What can you do if you are suffering from repressed memories?
People naturally behave under the influence of many factors, but when it comes to abuse and repressing memories, it is clear that without professional help, a person will be affected throughout their adulthood.
If you are a survivor of abuse and think you might be repressing unpleasant memories, there are ways to identify the specific psychological reasons that are preventing your recovery. You owe it to yourself to get rid of the roadblock that is affecting your life and to seek professional help.
Copyright © 2012-2019 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.
Knicks’ plan for dream team now just a painful memory
Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving AP, Getty Images (2)
Well, it was fun to think about anyway, no?
This was the morning of Feb. 1. Kristaps Porzingis has just been exiled to Dallas. The relentless misery of the 2018-19 Knicks was in full bloom. And there, on the back page of your New York Post, was a sliver of hope, presented thanks to the wonders of photo illustration technology:
Left to right: Zion Williamson in a No. 1 Knicks jersey. Kevin Durant in No. 35. Kyrie Irving in No. 11.
Headline: “LIVING ON A PRAYER”
And, well, let’s just say that philosophy worked out better for Tommy and Gina, back in the day. At least they had each other (and that’s a lot).
Knicks fans? Well, Zion certainly isn’t coming here. Durant certainly shouldn’t come here. And Irving suddenly sounds he’s been a bigger Nets fan than … well, he would instantly become the biggest-ever Nets fan the moment he signs his name to dotted line at the bottom of his presumed Brooklyn contract.
At least Gina, who dreamed of running away, had Tommy whispering, “Baby, it’s OK. Someday …”
It’s been a weird week, in a time when weird is actually a better feeling than what they get mostly.There is still a faction of the fan base that believes the team should still pursue Durant, despite the fact he’ll essentially be taking a red-shirt next year.
Kyrie is making google eyes at the other team in town. And as terrific a player as RJ Barrett is, and as good a pick as that would be … well, he isn’t Zion.
And that back page from 3 ¹/₂ months ago? That hearkens to another song written by John Francis Bongiovi Jr., back when he was known to root for the Jersey incarnation of the Nets.
Bonilla, Klapisch team up
It is amazing what can happen when old adversaries bury the hatchet. You may recall the spring of 1993, some bad old days for the Mets.
Bob Klapisch, whose splendid work has graced the pages of The Post at various times since 1983, had just co-authored a book about the club’s travails, “The Worst Team Money Could Buy.
” (Aspiring baseball writers: If you haven’t yet, read this. It’s a how-to textbook on covering the sport.)
Bobby Bonilla, an occasional target in the pages of that tome, took exception. He confronted Klapisch, famously telling him at one point that he’d “show [Klapisch] The Bronx. That encounter lives in infamy, and though the two shook hands when Bonilla made his second tour through Queens in 1999, that remains the most notable interaction between scribe and ballplayer. … Until now.
Bobby BonillaNury Hernandez
Danny Colon is a 54-year-old who has spent much of his life, Klapisch, in local amateur baseball circles. Two years ago he started having trouble buttoning his shirt and on Jan. 25, 2018, then received a devastating diagnosis: ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
His health has become a daily concern. But so has his living situation. He has exhausted his lifetime health insurance, and he is facing eviction from his New Jersey home. Friends have put together a GoFundMe page.
But Klapisch and Bonilla have also agreed to bury the hatchet to help. Colon grew up a Bonilla fan ( Bonilla, he was raised in The Bronx), and when Bonilla heard of his plight, he wanted to help.
Ray Negron, the Yankees’ community outreach representative, will have his play, “Bat Boy: a Yankees Miracle” produced at the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, N.J., on Aug.
5, and all proceeds will go to the Colon family.And Klapisch and Bonilla are teaming to bring awareness to both the play and the fundraising effort.
“I’ve put aside my past differences with Bob Klapisch,” Bonilla said “I’m teaming up with him to help Danny Colon with his fight with ALS.”
Said Klapisch: “It’s the craziest thing in the world that we’re allies, but it’s also a perfect karmic ending to that incident in the clubhouse. I’d to forget about it as I’m sure Bobby would too. … The fact that we’re on the same side now, joined for a higher cause, shows you nothing is impossible.”
And Colon appreciates best of all this meaningful new friendship.
“I am beyond grateful for something I would’ve never thought was possible. I’ve been reading Klap for so many years, and I was big fan of Bobby Bo’s. … Two people I’d never met before I got sick are now helping me in my toughest fight. Funny how life works.”
There are few things better during the summer than getting a note-perfect book recommendation, so let me pay it forward by suggesting, quite fervently, that you immediately get your hands on “Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad and Me,” a beautiful memoir centered in one of New York’s treasured landmarks, written with breathtaking elegance by the great Rafe Bartholomew.
As with most dominant champions in all sports, it isn’t until they’re in repose that we finally learn to appreciate them fully. We learned so much about the collective heart that has regulated the Warriors these past five years over the past five days of the Finals. It’s been amazing to watch.
Good for Pete Alonso, for not only wanting to win the right way the other night in the rain, but for standing up for himself — and his teammates — afterward. There are times it’s impossible to believe he’s only been at this for less than three months.
I think HBO could have a surefire hit spinning off “Hard Knocks” and just putting a live camera in the Jets’ coaches room 24 hours a day. Who says no?
Whack Back At Vac
Ronald Gambardella: It is becoming apparent that Brodie Van Wagenen’s bold statement, “Come get us,” is rapidly becoming a cry for help!
Vac: I suspect if life came with a “delete” button, BVW’s would be worn out by now.
@mediamatt: Dom Smith reminds me of Cecil Cooper. If he settles into a full-time role with the Mets or elsewhere, that would be a wonderful career to emulate.
@MikeVacc: Why do I get the unshakable sense he’s destined to be turned in to the next bullpen guy to special-deliver heartburn to Mets fans?
Rick Hubbell: Do the Yankees have even one starting pitcher who is considered even a decent No. 5 starter?
Vac: At best right now it’s a long string of 3s and 4s.
“,”author”:”Mike Vaccaro”,”date_published”:”2019-06-15T19:41:20.000Z”,”lead_image_url”:”https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/vacknicks.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1200″,”dek”:”Itâs been a weird week, in a time when weird is actually a better feeling than what they get mostly. There is still a faction of the fan base that believes the team should still pursue Kevin Durant, despite the fact heâll essentially be taking a red-shirt next year.