Many people I work with in therapy or in my writing-as-healing classes discover stories that surprise them—stories about the mistakes they felt their parents made, power imbalances in the family, or stories about physical or sexual abuse.
The darker stories are often a surprise. When writers sat down to write, those issues were not directly on their minds, but deep, revealing stories erupted from the pen. Though they were unexpected, for some they were a relief.
People who have been in therapy have had the same kind of experience—the subject matter in the forefront of the mind is not the material that “accidentally” arises during the session.
The therapy session begins with a particular subject in the present—for example dissatisfaction at work or trouble in a relationship, but often travels back in time with associations to parents, school, or past relationships.
It has become a cliché to talk about “dysfunctional” relationships and families, but most people do not have perfect families, and many have had to struggle with a range of problems—alcoholism, abuse—physical, sexual, or emotional, eating disorders, and depression, to name a few.
No one likes to be reminded of the past but when it keeps coming up, we are pushed to learn new responses as we search for more peace and positivism in our lives.
The past is not dead—it’s not even past.
Different kinds of abandonment
For people who have been abandoned, either literally by actual physical absence, or emotionally. A parent can be in the home and not there for us. The abandoned child syndrome may remain years later, showing up through insecurities and fears. Clinging behaviors or its opposite—walls to intimacy.
The abandoned child inside the adult can create havoc such as alcohol abuse, repeating their own abandonment by abandoning children, or refusal to have children out of fear of repetition. Depression, lack of energy and creativity, anger, and trying to fill up the emptiness may be manifestations of these issues.
Continue reading the last part.