I’ve been pondering my attachment to the past a lot recently. The last of my belongings from my former home were delivered last week. It was a long time coming and I opened each box with anticipation, looking for certain items that I was sure would be there. Alas, two treasured books were missing … and I mourn them.
Through the twists and turns my life has taken since 2006, I’ve experienced a lot of loss. One would think that it would get easier to shrug it off but the memory of these things, and the loss of them now realized, sort of makes me sad.
They were just books, for goodness sakes. Granted, one was an antique dictionary that I treasured and cannot be replaced but they still were just books.
What is it about our minds that causes us to hold an attachment to the past? What is it about our psychology that wants to be attached to the past?
Our history is there as a guide. What we had, where we’ve been, what we did, or what we did not do is utterly moot. The past cannot be changed, but we can change how we view the past. We can choose to learn from it and, hopefully, grow.
As we strain to understand the experience of having been in a relationship with a narcissist and find our new place in life, how much does attachment to the past operate as a force that keeps us from moving forward again? Learning to detach from events in our past plays a huge role in our recovery. That being said, letting go of those attachments is not easy.
Among the things that I did not lose are many things that I ought not to have kept. Squirreled away in sealed boxes are memorabilia of my lost relationship. Birthday presents … a guitar ... a guitar tuner … hand drawn playing cards … old email archives … and a lot of pictures that I don’t look at but just could not throw away. I even put conscious effort into retaining the date stamps on music in my iTunes library when I recently restored it so I could have my history … even though many of those songs are not checked to play randomly.
This past June 3rd marks the 6-year anniversary of what I’ve often described as the worst day of my life. I wrote about it on the on the third anniversary of the event on this post: http://thelegendarynarcissist.com/oedipus-complex/
The painful memory of that betrayal is less consuming now because I have methods that I use to stop me from dwelling on that event … and on the things that I learned from being involved with a Narcissist.
Those of you who frequent this site know that I have strength but you’ve also read of my weaknesses. My sole purpose in sharing my truths and realizations with all of you is to let you know that you are not alone. Watching your interactions, and the way that you help each other, makes me know that the spirit of the site has taken shape. This site is about helping each other understand what we are feeling and sharing our experiences so that we can learn how to move through our self-imposed barriers to freedom.
Only dwelling in the present can make us free. We have to look into our suffering, our craving. And when we see its face we will smile: You cannot make me your prisoner any more. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Even though the past is potent, the present is what we have, in spite of our painful memories and self-doubt about the past. Retaining focus on what IS, rather than what WAS or what COULD HAVE BEEN is where your energy should be if you wish to recover from a narcissistic relationship.
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