Reframing The Past : How To Reframe Traumatic Memories

THE INDOCTRINATION OF NEGATIVE CORE BELIEFS :

Many of us who have experienced significant and protracted childhood trauma have, as adults, suffered from the inadvertent internalization of our parents’ (or caretakers’) attitude and feelings towards us as we were growing up and, as a result, may have come to develop deeply painful core beliefs about ourselves; commonly, these beliefs revolve around a deeply entrenched self-concept of being ‘unlovable’ and ‘bad’, particularly if we were rejected (either explicitly or implicitly).

Compounding this problem, for reasons I have explained elsewhere, we may have idealized our parents – even if we were badly abused by them, making our internalization of their damaging attitudes and behaviours even more unshakable and tenacious.

One way we may be able to address our fixation upon these debilitating, self-lacerating ideas about ourselves, instilled in us when we were profoundly vulnerable, and to free ourselves from the feelings of torment they induce, is by REFRAMING THE PAST.

WHAT DOES REFRAMING THE PAST ENTAIL?

Reframing the past involves giving ourselves the power to see our true potential, unsullied by what our parents (either deliberately or as a function of their lack of sensitivity/insight) might have taught us to believe (e.g. that we are worthless and unacceptable as a human being).

In so doing, we can potentially be free from viewing ourselves through the distorted lense we have so far, through no fault of our own and as if hypnotized by an evil mesmerist, gaze through.

In this way, we can hopefully start to see what we may really be able to achieve in important areas of life, such as relationships and work. opening up opportunities for ourselves that may otherwise have been denied us.

THE RELEVANCE OF THE CONCEPT OF POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH :

According to the psychiatrist, Harold Bloomfield, author of the excellent book: ‘Making Peace With The Past’, whilst we are obviously impotent to change the past, what we are able to do is to change how we experience it, our attitude to it and how it emotionally affects us from now on by changing our (hitherto) habitual response to it.

In relation to this, Bloomfield advises us to reinterpret the implications of the traumatic events of our childhood by asking ourselves questions such as how the experiences have made us stronger and what wisdom we have gained from them.

Indeed, there is a whole field of study devoted to investigating how traumatic experiences can actually, ultimately, improve us as an individual called posttraumatic growth (about which I have published several articles on this site previously – e.g. you may wish to read my post entitled: ‘The Main Elements Of Posttraumatic Growth.’).

RESOURCES:

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

About David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

David Hosier MSc holds two degrees (BSc Hons and MSc) and a post-graduate diploma in education (all three qualifications are in psychology). He also holds UK QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). He has worked as a teacher, lecturer and researcher. His own experiences of severe childhood trauma and its emotional fallout motivated him to set up this website, childhoodtraumarecovery.com, for which he exclusively writes articles. He has published several books including The Link Between Childhood Trauma And Borderline Personality Disorder, The Link Between Childhood Trauma ANd Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and  How Childhood Trauma Can Damage The Developing Brain (And How These Effects Can Be Reversed). He was educated at the University of London, Goldsmith’s College where he developed his interest in childhood experiences leading to psychopathology and wrote his thesis on the effects of childhood depression on academic performance. This site has been created for educational purposes only.

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