The Hidden Past as a Future Threat

Those last two posts were written five years ago and dealt with my own sudden realization of just how badly my mind had rewritten a piece of my own history.

A lot has changed in the five years since then.

One thing remains true: by uncovering the real truth in the things that my mind has rewritten has allowed me to be a better, happier person.

Our minds are often our worst enemies. The attacks of the mind, though, are coated in a sweet sugar–it plays to our ego, to our hopes. It rewrites our painful transgressions to deflect blame, to make things seem better than they were (at least in the context of the person we want to be).

The worst part: this is all normal functionality for the mind. It’s how it keeps us going.

“Broken” minds can take the opposite route: making everything seem worse than it was. Taking on more blame than could possibly have been, assigning malignant motives to those who never had them. Twisting everything into a worst case scenario that was inevitable.

We all have our negative spirals, but some minds are much more predisposed to them than others.

When our minds bury things, those things–like my not calling Jessica all those years ago–can turn rotten and begin to poison the well that the rest of our person drinks from. If it’s not eventually dredged out and dealt with, there is a weakness that permeates our being, serving as a vector for all sorts of future nastiness to get in.

This is why I encourage everyone to write down their joys and sorrows, to tell their stories (if only to themselves), to talk to the other people who were there. By doing whatever you can to fill in the blanks and reconcile memory (or fantasy) with a more objective reality, you firm up the foundation that the rest of your life is built on. Having reference material to look back on can remind us of a lot and give us good starting points for recovering what our minds have suppressed.

Yes, this is difficult and some people don’t seem to need to clean house in this way, but more than a few people–myself included–wouldn’t be anywhere near as functional or happy today if they hadn’t done the hard work of mucking out their psychological aquifers.

The hidden past can be a threat to our future. Secrets we keep from ourselves weaken our foundations. The longer they sit, rot, and seep, the more damage they do when they are ripped out, brought to light, and are dealt with.

Faulty memories are something that are normal. Accepting that and working to correct them will put you firmly on the path to better understanding yourself and allow you to better deal with the situations you encounter.

  • Janis

    Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it, true. But those who can’t get past it can’t get past it, either. Scabs don’t heal if you constantly keep them opened and infected.

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