This is the first in a series of posts, because this category is vast. I appreciate anyone sending me his or her experiences too, which I may use in future posts.
The “walking wounded” is not a literal interpretation; its a metaphor, because the wounds are not necessarily visible to the naked eye upon meeting this individual.
I have met many lugging the pain of the past, like an anchor chained to their chest. It seems the older one gets the more exposed we are to holding sacred the wounds like a sheet of armor. Dreams unfulfilled, relationships that have unraveled and careers that burned out; the crucial time is between 40-60, give or take a few years.
Personally and professionally I know this story, many are my clients, friends and people I have been with in an intimate relationship. They can’t figure out why they feel stuck and depressed. Or like a victim.
YOU CANNOT THINK YOUR LIFE, YOU MUST ACT…if you want fulfillment and happiness.
In this post I want to talk about one group of walking wounded.
The wounded divorcee.
It is more appropriate to say “sitting wounded” as they don’t move forward, they remain looking backwards not standing in the present moment.
Some have been cheated on or cheated; or one of them fell out of love, maybe they just didn’t get along at all, or an addiction was present, or abuse.
These people are still wondering years later what went wrong.
It is a question that no matter how much the mind analyzes it will never find satisfaction with an answer.
Especially, if before deciding to leave a marriage behind, an individual was not completely clear and resolved that no hope existed. Whether they were in control of the decision or not, often they wanted to bury the pain without being fully emotionally present to the circumstances, which lead to the demise. Clarity and resolution do not have to come between both people, but it is where we should aim to be when we call it quits…. or we run the risk of bringing the past forth.
Some barely move on physically; they may move to the guesthouse, a relative or a friend’s couch, indefinitely. And in other cases they move far away, hurriedly get re-married or even choose a residence that is meant to upset their estranged partner. Some enter in relationships in which they are not emotionally engaged or purposely find partners who promise more misery and drama. It is a way of living in denial. Trying to alleviate the reality and diminish pain by avoiding what they feel…. it gets buried and like a savings account, you keep accruing interest, but when you go to withdraw, it is not a pleasant experience. It’s more like Halloween and I don’t mean the “treat” part.
The trick is some of these non-dealers may appear the opposite upon introduction. They may seem in touch with themselves, tell you their past and the handle they have on their baggage. They talk a great game, but it is their actions and reactions, which show the truth. If you want the truth in any situation watch what someone does.
Inappropriate reactions, action not taken or action that is out of character confuses other people.
Compartmentalizing, drinking, gambling, sex addictions, lying and other denial tools are huge….
Fear runs them; living in the past everyday kills any opportunity for functional, healthy, happy relationships.
We all do it when we anticipate what someone will say or do and we thereby create our own reality. If we actually pay attention to how we feel, before we speak or act, we may find it has nothing to do with the present moment. We may find a new opportunity to not recreate the past in the present, because we had assumed we knew what would happen. It will only “happen” how you believe it should, IF YOU CREATE IT.
People who are stuck in the past will NOT be in conversation with you presently, they are VIEWING, HEARING and FEELING their former relationship.
Some individuals will say “yes” to everything, make promises and then fall off the face of the planet. It is a form of passive aggressiveness. It’s a form of repressed anger. People who cope by using compartmentalizing and numbness usually do not include you in their life nor are they really in your life either. They may hear your needs as a demand and you feel like a book on a shelf, pulled out when they want to read a chapter. They can’t reconcile themselves to moving on because the PAST is what they know in their head, which is less scary then the risk of the unknown in opening one’s heart.
There is another group, those who have been cheated on and never recovered emotionally.
They may say they have it all figured out and have become a Lothario and intellectualize the opposite sex, so they feel superior and never run the risk of emotional attachment, which can lead to being hurt. Or they go the other extreme and have nothing to do with dating or mating. Some do end up in relationships. The shared notion with those who have been cheated on and are stuck is they don’t trust. Mainly, they don’t trust themselves to be able to handle any threat of being hurt or betrayed and they don’t trust others. This is a group who is deeply wounded. You may feel trivialized, hurt, and like this person does not get you at all, even though five minutes before they were pledging their undying love. They may be so convincing in what they say that you start believing you are crazy, because this person accuses you of things that are about as real as a purple elephant.
What does it all mean?
Are these people stuck forever in a recurring nightmare of their own making?
Nope, not at all, it is a choice.
The basis for my work is how we come to believe false things about ourselves and recreate it every step of the way in our lives. The seed for all dysfunction is old. Patterns of behavior are present when we are young, but our young age gives us some protection. We still believe much is possible, disappointments haven’t weighed us down and we still take real action. With people who get stuck, some insecurities may have fallen away with age, but other ones LOOM large. Why? It is a culmination of our experiences. We make our experiences into stories we tell about ourselves; it’s all the things that happened to us, rather than through us.
Experiences are outside of us, so how do we let that LIMIT and define “who we are and what is possible?” It’s because we see a repeat of the same things happening over and over, feeling we have no control and that we are victimized by life.
We are the creators of our lives. WE CREATE BY OUR ACTIONS, REACTIONS and CHOICES. We have to develop enough self-awareness to catch the false belief in our mind before we take action to support it—that is how patterns are broken. Sometimes when I don’t know how to change something, I do what is extraordinarily uncomfortable and the opposite of my usual thought process, which culminates in the choice I make and action I take!
It actually gives us more control to see our lives in this way.
I am ending this post here, I will continue with another part in the near future. Meanwhile, please feel free to share with me Tracy@13degreez.com