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Forgive and Forget and Ambivalent student
Posted by: admin - March 13, 2007
Question: Dear David, I was sexually abused by a relative as a child. I didn’t talk about it for years, but now this relative is getting very old, and I have read several books on the subject. I recently let others in my family know about the abuse and have been told more than once to just try to” forgive and forget.” I don’t know if I can do that. I feel stuck now and am wondering what my next step should be? Forgive Or Not To Answer: Dear FONT, I do not believe it is necessary to “forgive and forget,” and in fact, I think it’s almost impossible. Perhaps you can forgive without forgetting. Forgiving and forgetting are two different things. Our magnificent mind records the events of our lives, stores them in our unconscious, and allows mechanisms where-by they can be pulled up into consciousness when we need them. It works sort of like computer hardware and software. If you were to in fact “forget” there would be some kind of erasure of this event in the unconscious mind. Our minds are not made that way. The more important goal for a trauma survivor is to recognize the impact of the trauma and the effects on their life in such a way that they no longer interfere with life. In other words, this terrible thing happened, but you survived it and have worked to heal. Usually, well-meaning people who are uncomfortable with either the topic or our emotions (usually anger) will say things like “forgive and forget.” I also think it’s important to understand that forgiveness is a decision; decisions to psychologically put down the event, place it in proper context and perspective, and move forward. Many times, consultation with a mental health professional trained in this area can be an invaluable step in that healing process. Question: Dear David I'm in college and was a straight "A" student until junior year of high school when I became depressed and lost motivation. I'm taking medicine now for my depression, but repeatedly hit ruts where I can't get up in the morning, can't do well in classes and become increasingly guilty until I pick myself up and start catching up in class. Every time I start doing O.K., I fall down again and am tired of trying to "salvage" classes. Is there such a thing as "subconscious self sabotage" and why is it happening to me? What can I do? Shooting myself in the foot Answer: Dear SMITF, What you are describing appears to be ambivalence and may be implicated in triggering your depression. You say you are on medication and I wonder whether you are also receiving psychotherapy. The combination of medications and psychotherapy have been found to be an effective combination in the treatment of depression and significantly better than the use of psychotropic medications alone. Another benefit could be the discovery of the "subconscious" part of your ambivalence. Psychotherapy may help you understand why you "sabotage" and help you stop. In the process, you may find new choices for conducting your life. Your question shows the capacity to gain substantial understanding of why you have been functioning as you do and, by writing, you are indicating that you have the motivation to engage in a process that can lead to changes in your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
| | | | Article Posted by: admin
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