Can We Ever Leave the Past Behind

JJ Summers

“Can we ever leave the past behind?”

In order to answer this question I have utilised my own experience, and then combined it with theories from Kleins Object relations theory and from Eriksons   Eight stages of development to show my understanding and reasoning behind my thoughts.
Eckhart Tolle teaches us to be in the ‘Here and Now’, to not experience anything of a second ago as this has already ceased to be. This has helped me in the past and still occasionally now to limit any knee jerk responses to situations or events that occur in my daily life. This proved to be a great way of being, of creating as opposed to reacting. Being mindful, experiencing the here and now, defiantly helped me to regain some clarity without any flight or fight or indeed any other defence mechanisms kicking in. However I soon realised that I was just suppressing my thoughts feelings and behaviours, and although for some time this would help me to deal with anxiety based feelings, it did not stop them, it would just leave me confused and unsure of myself. This prompted me to look further into my reactions, my inner feelings and thoughts, I soon realised that I repeatedly conjured up images of childhood, whilst experiencing emptiness, confusion, a deep longing (for what I did not know)
It was at this point in my life some ten years ago that I began to realise that the influences or experiences of the past had caused me to be ill at ease with myself. I knew that I was a kind, caring and considerate person, but also that I was quick to anger, but would never show it as that was bad, and un Christian or Catholic, or whatever religious fever was at hand back in my childhood!!
This began to sit badly with me as I worked with young people. I was constantly reminding them that it was ok to feel anger, to express hurt etc, and I had a good understanding of attachment theories. (CAHMS –Bowlby, Ainsworth et al) It was at this point that I asked myself this very question...