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REPRESSED MEMORIES

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Walt Oleksy, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    REPRESSED MEMORIES

    And another installment of CAREGIVING AND TMS PAIN
    from my friend Avis Carlson’s book IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME
    which has GOOD STUFF ABOUT JOURNALING FOR REPRESSED MEMORIES

    In her 80s, Avis, who wrote a column on and for senior citizens in the
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch, wrote about the stresses of caregiving from
    her own and others’ experiences.

    Here is what she wrote on “Perceiving One’s Life as Whole.” Even though she wrote
    it aimed at senior citizens, her wisdom applies to all ages. It could be helpful to
    TMS sufferers who are coping as parents or caregivers of elderly parents. So much
    of her reflections apply to any of us in pain from our repressed memories.

    She didn’t know about the term TMS but what she says is pure Dr. Sarno knowledge
    and philosophy. Reflecting on our life as a whole can be a roadmap to effective
    journaling that can lead us into discovering our repressed emotions which can
    free us of pain.

    Avis writes: In the last section, we were talking about opportunities for growth and
    usefulness still open to us from the outside. We now will turn to the inside –
    to the opportunities for pleasure and growth through reflection. There are,
    I insist, such opportunities, and we ignore them to our peril.

    In old age we have for the first time a chance to think about our life as an
    evolved pattern, as almost a whole. Always hitherto we had to think of it
    in parts and as incomplete. [TMSers can also reflect on their lives thus far.]

    As young children we could not do much more than react to the stimuli
    beating upon us from moment to moment. In the identity crisis of
    adolescence we learned to look back on our childhood and make
    judgments about our parents and the effect they and the other
    circumstances surrounding us had upon our development.

    In the overwhelming need to grow up, we were apt to make harsh
    judgments upon both parents and the surrounding circumstances,
    such as poverty or lockstep schools. We might say, “If my home life
    and neighborhood had been different, I wouldn’t be feeling so boxed-in,”
    which is the almost universal plaint of adolescents. Sometimes, resentment
    and a desperate desire to break out of what seems to be the cramping cage
    creates a rebellion that the youth never quite outgrows and that leads to
    an almost total dependence upon peer groups for behavior guidance.
    Or he may become one of the fiercely independent, aggressive loners
    never fully able to relate to anyone.

    Later he may or nay not come to realize that his negative reactions toward parents
    and surroundings influenced his choice of vocation and marriage partner.
    If he makes unfortunate choices in one or both fields, his whole life may be
    badly affected, and its ambience may become one of regret, either angry or sad.

    Because hardly any of us ever achieves what we dream of in youth, most of us
    have carried through the harassed middle years a secret load of self-reproachful
    sadness, even of guilt. Or, if we happen to be the active, unreflective type,
    we may have kept ourselves too steadily on the run to think much about how our
    lives were shaping up.

    In old age we have at last the experience and the leisure to think about our life
    as a whole. And the necessity to think so of it, because how can we accept the
    fact of having grown old, of having already spent most of the coin dealt out to us,
    with nothing to show for it except a life that has been an assortment of bits and
    pieces instead of a meaningful whole?

    More than two millennia ago, Cicero proclaimed in his lofty rhetoric that
    “the harvest of old age is the recollection and abundance of blessings previously
    secured.” It was a good metaphor, It really does seem like a harvesting,
    a gathering in the fruits of one’s life – to look back over the years and see how
    this led to that and both to something else.

    That long ago illness, for instance, could it have caused a tendency toward
    neurasthenia? [A psychological disorder marked especially by easily being
    fatigued.] And how did the Great 1930s Depression, which fell upon us
    just as we were getting started, affect the later turns we took in political
    philosophy?

    How would life have been different if one’s father had been less
    authoritarian, or less permissive? Less easygoing, or less ambitious?

    And how did it happen that we got the right (or the not-so-right) marriage
    partner? How did that choice affect our whole life?

    What were our own most serious mistakes, and how did they happen?
    How did our successes, such as they are, come about? Did we do about
    as well as could be expected with our life, given the ingredients
    originally placed in our hand?

    She then writes about some of the “blessings previously secured.”
    But I will save that for the next installment.

    Did you recognize yourself (at any age reading this) having TMS pain
    that, if you journal about your childhood or adolescence, can help you
    to discover repressed memories or emotions that cause you to have
    pain today? And do her descriptions of childhood and youth remind
    you of your children today? As I have said earlier, while she wrote her
    book aimed at seniors, the wisdom is applicable to those of all ages,
    and can be especially helpful for TMS sufferers.

    What Avis wrote about children who are at odds with their parents
    for any number of reasons only the child knows rang home to me
    when I applied it to the grown son of my close friends who are now in
    their 60s. He is a retired lawyer and his wife a retired grammar school
    teacher. They both have been unable to solve the mystery of why their son
    argues with them all the time and rejects anything they say about anything.

    I’ll call him Joe, which isn’t his name. He is about 40 now, never married,
    But made a girl pregnant while on vacation in Jamaica. When their son was
    born he walked out on the girl and came home with the baby but left him in
    the care of his parents, even though he doesn’t get along with them. They
    took the baby boy in and have reared him through high school with love as if
    he was their own child. Still Joe does not appreciate the years of love and
    care his parents gave his illegitimate son. Maybe Joe felt insecure, that he
    could not live up to his parents’ expectations, but I don’t think they
    pressured him,. Their two daughters were happy children and both have
    grown into well-adjusted, happily married women. Why their antagonistic
    brother became such an ungrateful young man is anyone’s guess.

    Another example is my stepfather. He had to give up dreams of college
    In the 1930s Great Depression and go to work instead, as did his
    brothers and sisters, They didn’t hold that against their father, but he did.
    He held that resentment all his life and became a bitter man and an alcoholic
    to the end. He was unable to deal with losing his dream and it haunted him
    all his life, blaming his father for what his father had no control over. He may
    have had a lifelong inferiority complex because he never got to go to college,
    but he became a successful executive at a large company but felt he was
    passed over for a big promotion because he didn’t have a college degree.
    Yet, he could have gotten one if he had gone to night school while working.
    Instead he chose to nurse his anger at his father.

    I came to understand why he was bitter and angry but only learned it after
    I learned about TM and journaling. I put myself in his shoes and it brought
    me to understand him and, ultimately, forgive him for the years he made
    life very unhappy for my mother, sister, and me. Rest in peace, Leo.
    You did not make it easy to love you. Too bad you didn’t know about TMS.
     

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