Many times after an extremely emotionally negative event, we will put the thoughts about the event on the back burner. Sometimes we will forget about the event altogether for an extended period of time. Although it seems that having forgotten these feelings for is not harmful, it may be holding you back. It is true that when we get over a negative event, we will not think about it much. However it is also possible to allow such an even to impact your life for the worse, without even knowing that this is happening. This can lead to irrational ways of coping with the guilt, frustration, and anger that is sitting motionless under the surface.
It can be difficult to identify an unidentified and disguised problem. When helping people uncover these kinds of issues, I will tell them that this is like a scab that won’t completely heal. Sometimes in order for the wound to heal, you have to peel off the scab to deal with what is beneath the surface. For example, you may regret having treated a past partner negatively or even abusively. At this point in your life, you could be overcompensating by allowing yourself to have poor boundaries without even realizing that this is taking place. There are several defense mechanisms that we live with in our lives. Some of them are helpful. However there are others that are destructive. Most of these destructive mechanisms stem from past negative events and unfinished business.
This is not to suggest that people do not recognize that they are currently in a problematic situation. They just do not understand the origins of how this could have happened. Because they don’t recognize this, they may feel as though they are the victims of an unfair universe. They do not realize that many of their issues are relating to uncovered emotional problems that have been sitting on the shelf for many years. To help deal with this, these individuals have to be willing to look at and work through painful past memories and their current beliefs about negative events. Otherwise the problem sits, well-protected in the place where it was last left, and problematic cycles continue to manifest.
In order to overcome current problems, it may be beneficial to peel back the layers of the current issue, and determine if your current feelings are related to a past, negative event. This step can be initially painful and draining, but can help in the long-term process of your healing. While looking back at the feelings from past events, you can learn to deal with the feelings and learn from them, rather than avoid them and feel like a victim of them. This will help you to prevent making future similar mistakes, to feel empowered, and to improve on your overall current feelings.