"Sooner or later you have to give up the hope for a better past"

Yalom has many wonderful books and quotes, but this one stands out to me the most because some of us live trapped in the past whether consciously or subconsciously.

When we live trapped by the past unknowingly it is extremely isolating and painful. We may look to blame ourselves for our inability to achieve a state of happiness and wellbeing. We may often feel empty and as if we are living our lives from the outside looking through a window into someone else’s home.

We may go through the motions, but only to end up feeling empty and disconnected from others and ourselves.  We may have a difficult time feeling we can love deeply even with those who we share intimate lives.  Nothing can be more isolating and lonely.  Sometimes, the pain is such that we wish to numb it and we will often engage in self-defeating behaviors to do so in some cases abusing substances, overeating, numbing in front of a television, or even dissociate from our bodies, minds, and surroundings.  When we return from the numbing, we simply fall into the same trap of blaming ourselves and thinking there must be something wrong with us that again triggers the need for numbing and thus the painful cycle resumes.

If this resonates with you, then it may be helpful to explore the possibility of an often “-invisible” wound caused by childhood emotional neglect.  Safe, healthy attachments, appropriate mirroring of our needs and emotions are crucial for our ability to grow into centered and stable adults with a strong internal locus of control that supports our well-being and self-regulation.  Childhood emotional neglect can happen in any family whether purposely or not.  Simply parents become wrapped up in their own issues and forget to see the budding human being in front of them who so desperately needs emotional connection and attention for their natural healthy development.  In referring back to Yalom’s quote, if this fits your experiences then it is okay to let go of hope for a better past with no need to blame anyone, but rather more importantly validate to yourself that whatever emotional attention for your healthy development that was denied to you is not your fault.  It is not your fault and we do not need to place blame on anyone, because after all people do the best they can given their previous experiences and the resources they had.  It is though our responsibility to validate our experiences and search for ways to heal and grow.  Supportive skilled therapists can by an ally in helping you integrate and identify the emotional supports that were denied to you in childhood.  Growth in this area can lead to an increased sense of understanding yourself, wholeness of self, increased sense of worthiness, and an enhanced awareness and control over what we want and need from others and ourselves.  It is important to understand that healing happens in safe and supportive relationships and that you can heal and will heal. You are worth the investment in your own personal growth journey.  Simply put, you are worthy! Remember to keep breathing, loving yourself, and moving forward with hope and joy.

Dr. rodriguez