Saturday, May 9, 2009

Getting over bad memories

"Most bad memories are life size, and when you have life size bad memories, shrinking them down, putting yourself in them so you can see exactly what you were wearing (and turning the picture sideways and then being able to play that memory forwards and then backwards) will help you change the way you feel about them."
"Being able to play these memories forwards with circus music and backwards with silly music makes it so that the feelings become separated from the images and the memories no longer haunt you. The purpose of memories is to learn from them or to enjoy them or to use them as guides for your behaviour and it doesn't help to relive trauma. Over the years, I've helped many, many people whose lives had been crippled by traumatic experiences to get away from the memories."
"For example, recently I worked with a woman who had been terribly abused when she was young. She'd been gang raped. A terrible, terrible thing. What was even worse was that she relived it every day not once but over and over again. It made it so that she constantly lived in fear. Her body was racked with stress. Her mind was unable to think about anything, especially the future and especially hope."
"It was impossible for her to carry on relationships because everything that happened triggered off the one bad memory. Even though it had happened over twenty years earlier, she was still paralysed by the pictures in her mind, the sounds, the smells and, worst of all, the feelings of helplessness and being out of control. Rape is not about sex. Rape is about violence and anytime violence is done to anyone, it's a horrible thing."
"I know that I'm fond of saying this over and over again but the best thing about the past is that it's over and when it's not over something is amiss in your mind because it's not the rapist that's making you remember -- it's you. Inside your own mind, holding on to terrible memories. None of us are exempt from this. When my wife died some four years ago, she died in my arms. The memory stuck with me over and over again and I was forced to take my own advice."
"Step one for getting over bad memories is to look at them for the last time in the same way. One of the things that you'll notice about bad memories is that they're life size. They're not a little picture in your mind. They're not blurry. They're not out of focus. They're just like being there in that moment again."
(Richard Bandler in 'Get the Life You Want: The secrets to quick & lasting life change,' p. 52 Harper)

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