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Getting over a wrecked past
#1
Sorry if this is not the right section or even the right forum. I'm trying to get over my past. I understand it is not acceptable to think like this as an adult, the natural process is that you grieve, accept it and get on with your life. But I can't seem to suck it up or deal with it. 

I was badly abused at home. I didn't have any of the opportunities that my schoolfriends had. While they travelled, I was in hospital. When they got degrees, I was homeless. They worked graduate jobs, I worked minimum wage. They made families, I lost everyone. It's left me in terrible situations with appalling consequences and the questions won't go away. My question is:

If I was in control, why were my choices so bad? And if not, how do I explain that? What piece of the puzzle did I miss so badly?

The worst part is how everyone left. I was brought up to be a "people-pleaser" and not looked after properly. It ruined my sense of autonomy and there's attitudes which I STILL have to analyse and sort out. And when you lose everyone, survival is much more difficult. You have to invent ways to cope and manage. You miss out on so many opportunities, you're never taken seriously and you dwell in endless negative emotions.

If you can return from that, you find that most people have drifted themselves through life. They may have worked hard and committed themselves, but they never haven't asked themselves the hard questions because they haven't ever had to. People will work quite substantially to find answers they want to hear and that includes that they made choices which were more likely determined by circumstance.

I already have endless answers to vindicate myself, but it isn't reliable to hold myself unaccountable. At the same time, I'm really not sure WHAT I could have done to change the things that happened. If I try to push them away, they re-surface terribly or I'll have nightmares. The effects were devastating and all I want are answers or senses that will satisfy and make them go away.

What happens now? Do I just end up getting older and more bitter? You can't allow the past to dictate your future but maybe this is part of the hand I got.
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#2
What happens now depends entirely on what you decide to do. You can't change the past, you have no control over it, but the future has endless opportunities for you (and everyone else). So you can choose to get more bitter and focus on the past, or you can embrace what the future has to offer.
Honestly, until you really move on/accept/let go/whatever word you want to use from what happened in your past, you likely won't be able to see what could or could not have been done.
Are you in counseling at all? Have you tried other things to help you move on? All I can really suggest is focus on today, not the past, not the future. Focus on what you can do today to become who you want to be. If you don't know who you want to be, figure it out. Figure out what you want out of life and what you have to do to get there and work on it slowly.
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#3
I know what I'm about to suggest is easy to say and hard to do, but there's a purity to it. The past is in the past and the future is what is important, ruminating on the might-have-beens is a negative cycle that in the end has no definite answers. It becomes a kind of Catch 22 that gets you on a merry-go-round and you find yourself back where you started. The most important thing is focusing on the future.

Always remember that you're a gifted human being and that life has many humps and bumps, and that any kind of abuse you have suffered is not your fault. You seem like a very bright and articulate sort of person, you appear to have a sackful of potential.
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#4
(09-06-2019, 11:31 PM)TheRealCallie Wrote: Honestly, until you really move on/accept/let go/whatever word you want to use from what happened in your past, you likely won't be able to see what could or could not have been done.
Thank you for your reply. The problem is not as simple as that. If I let go or try to bury it, it resurfaces itself or manifests worse. For instance I've sometimes found myself acting in really bizarre ways until I remember they're behaviors motivated by the past and nothing to do with reality, after I've looked like a fool to everyone.

My way of dealing therefore has been to endlessly obsess over everything. I try to work out what behaviors were immature, what was reasonable, how things went so badly wrong, what justified them. I go through events again and again until I have headaches and feel like crying. If I let it be, it comes back. If I push it away, it comes back. I can't move on. If there's anything I want out of life it's to make sense of it.

(09-06-2019, 11:31 PM)TheRealCallie Wrote: Are you in counseling at all?  Have you tried other things to help you move on?
No, I've spent a long time in counseling. Some of the issues in my past are directly about counseling and they aren't easy to talk about. An example, I spent a lot of time being beaten up, so I was put in a place for mentally challenged people. It took a long time to work out I wasn't mentally challenged or ill in any way, it was just to stop me from getting beat up. That stopped me from achieving some important things.
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#5
(09-07-2019, 02:44 AM)Yeti1980 Wrote: I know what I'm about to suggest is easy to say and hard to do, but there's a purity to it. The past is in the past and the future is what is important, ruminating on the might-have-beens is a negative cycle that in the end has no definite answers. It becomes a kind of Catch 22 that gets you on a merry-go-round and you find yourself back where you started. The most important thing is focusing on the future.

Always remember that you're a gifted human being and that life has many humps and bumps, and that any kind of abuse you have suffered is not your fault. You seem like a very bright and articulate sort of person, you appear to have a sackful of potential.

Thank you, I appreciate your compliment. You're right in many ways, consciously focusing about past events is not productive. But they were so disastrous and personal that I don't know how else to deal with them. At one point I was having the same nightmare almost daily for months and the only way to get through it all was to spend so much time thinking about it. There's been dangerous incidents that have happened which were nearly identical until I learned that they were being motivated by behavioural patterns. They weren't my fault, but they're still my responsibility. It's also important for me to understand my chances and choices in society now. The past, present and future are not separate things, without understanding them fully they are the same thing.
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#6
(09-07-2019, 03:14 AM)talk11 Wrote:
(09-06-2019, 11:31 PM)TheRealCallie Wrote: Honestly, until you really move on/accept/let go/whatever word you want to use from what happened in your past, you likely won't be able to see what could or could not have been done.
Thank you for your reply. The problem is not as simple as that. If I let go or try to bury it, it resurfaces itself or manifests worse. For instance I've sometimes found myself acting in really bizarre ways until I remember they're behaviors motivated by the past and nothing to do with reality, after I've looked like a fool to everyone.

My way of dealing therefore has been to endlessly obsess over everything. I try to work out what behaviors were immature, what was reasonable, how things went so badly wrong, what justified them. I go through events again and again until I have headaches and feel like crying. If I let it be, it comes back. If I push it away, it comes back. I can't move on. If there's anything I want out of life it's to make sense of it.

(09-06-2019, 11:31 PM)TheRealCallie Wrote: Are you in counseling at all?  Have you tried other things to help you move on?
No, I've spent a long time in counseling. Some of the issues in my past are directly about counseling and they aren't easy to talk about. An example, I spent a lot of time being beaten up, so I was put in a place for mentally challenged people. It took a long time to work out I wasn't mentally challenged or ill in any way, it was just to stop me from getting beat up. That stopped me from achieving some important things.

It's a pain to separate on a phone, so I'm doing it this way. Lol
To the first part, it keeps resurfacing because you haven't truly let it go.  You can think you let it go, but in reality, you just buried it.  Burying it doesn't help, because it will usually always resurface at some point. 
Obsessing also won't help because try as you might, you can't reason away or even really understand what other people do and why they do it.  You have your brain, so you can't know what is in theirs, if that makes sense. 
It's hard to truly let something like that go.  You just have to work on focusing on better things and work towards becoming at least content with who you are, if you don't think you can get to the happy point. 

Now for the second part.
So you tried counseling for being mentally ill? If I understand that correctly, that likely wouldn't have helped because it would have been more focused on that.  Maybe see if you can find a support group or a therapist who specializes in abuse.  But above all else, do things you enjoy, find some hobbies, meet new people, find out who you are.
Want to talk?  Check out the CHAT ROOM 
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#7
(09-07-2019, 05:51 AM)TheRealCallie Wrote: To the first part, it keeps resurfacing because you haven't truly let it go.  You can think you let it go, but in reality, you just buried it.  Burying it doesn't help, because it will usually always resurface at some point. 
Obsessing also won't help because try as you might, you can't reason away or even really understand what other people do and why they do it.  You have your brain, so you can't know what is in theirs, if that makes sense. 
It's hard to truly let something like that go.  You just have to work on focusing on better things and work towards becoming at least content with who you are, if you don't think you can get to the happy point. 

No, I did truly let the past go, and that was a mistake because I'd then have to go back, unearth all my previous work, dig it up, and explore it thoroughly to find answers because it was the only way to understand what the hell was going on. You discover all the old markers, find the trails, drag your thinking out of its primitive cave, and turn it into something decent for yourself and others.

Burying the past is different. It's when you repress everything and ignore all your needs in the name of moving on without actually moving on. It resulted in erratic and unpredictable behavior for me. My siblings turned to drugs and violence, and remain in an infantile state. My parents, I'm not sure if they developed mentally past the age of 7/8. They don't take their past seriously and "live for today". 

I do this because there's a limit to what people in society will take. They will not accept you, broken past or not, if your behavior is strange. And if you're vulnerable or especially passive, you're treated mercilessly. People will prey on you. If you can develop a convincing facade which never shows weakness, those same people will follow you.

I really, really would not go back. But I was maladjusted in my upbringing and need resolutions to these events. It's a need to me. I need to know if I had a choice or if I didn't have a choice. Why did all those things have to happen.

(09-07-2019, 05:51 AM)TheRealCallie Wrote: Now for the second part.
So you tried counseling for being mentally ill? If I understand that correctly, that likely wouldn't have helped because it would have been more focused on that.  Maybe see if you can find a support group or a therapist who specializes in abuse.  But above all else, do things you enjoy, find some hobbies, meet new people, find out who you are.

I didn't try it, it was forced on me several times. I was incarcerated for it. Either people didn't believe what I was saying or they'd just say something like what happened was absolutely horrendous. Four years ago I vowed to myself no more therapy because no one was willing to take the events seriously. Finding out who I am, I know who I am, I'm a man trying to get over this wrecked life.
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#8
Okay, we're just going to have to agree to disagree here, because if you really truly let go of your past, there would have been no reason to revisit it and even if you did revisit, it wouldn't send you into a tailspin.

As for who you are, I don't think you do. I don't think you can know who you are if you are so stuck in the past that you can't move forward. Until you really, honestly want to let go of it all, you won't be able to. That's not to say that you don't want to get beyond it. I'm just saying that sometimes you get so stuck in your misery and what you've always done that you can't see what's "real" and "important" anymore. And some people are just too scared of letting go to let go. I would, at least consider looking into proper therapy or a support group.

So yeah, I'm done here. (Unless I find something else to say)
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#9
Talk11, allow me to try a different approach.  The advice of those above is kind hearted and reasonable, but it apparently doesn't solve your dispair.  Should you let go of the past and move on as most people would suggest, or should you dissect the past and seek answers as you and many councelors would advocate?  I'd suggest that you need a diversion to help you through either path - something to focus on, to steer your life in a direction that will overide all the past problems or current questions.  That's a tall order with many possible avenues, but here's a start - a specific action - I'd recommend most for you.

I've watched the sermon below 3 times; it's an excellent one, and it applies well to you.  If you're serious about improving your life, give it a watch.

 https://youtu.be/d5xyYI9tNV8
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