Why Am I Haunted by the Past?

Many of us have a very hard time moving on from our pasts. We feel haunted by past traumas, relationships and incidents. Some of us are consumed by the past and feel obsessed about it. We wish we could live our lives again and change things for the better. Why are we haunted by our past when it’s long gone, and why are we unable to move forward?

When we have a pained relationship with our past, we tend to keep replaying the stories we’re holding onto about it. We keep bringing up old pain and hurting ourselves again and again in the process. Over time, our emotional responses to our past pain can grow stronger, because as we’re replaying the past, our attachment to it is getting stronger. We become even more reactive to it. Past issues can hurt us more in the present than they did when they happened, all because of our perspective.

Our mental habits are rooted in our subconscious minds, which govern the vast majority of our daily lives, including our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Many of us have beliefs stored in our subconscious minds that are informing how we relate to ourselves and our pasts. Subconsciously many of us believe that we have to hold onto the past, to keep us safe, to hold onto certain people in our lives we’ve lost, or to keep us locked in what’s familiar rather than venturing into the unknown. The past, even when it’s painful, is less scary for us because it’s familiar. We are more comfortable with what we know. Many of us are afraid of the future. We are anxious about what’s to come. We are pessimistic about our chances for happiness. Staying stuck in the past can be our way of trying to avoid facing the future.

Similarly, we can keep ourselves focused on the past because our present is too uncomfortable. We would rather dwell on memories, even difficult ones, than deal with our current reality filled with stress, depression, addiction and other challenges. Our past becomes our safe space, our comfort zone, because we find our current lives too hard to handle.

We can be haunted by the past because we haven’t learned mindful ways of releasing our attachment to things, events, memories and people. We have toxic thought patterns of dwelling, obsessing, replaying things and clinging to them. We haven’t developed healthy mental patterns of releasing what doesn’t serve us so that we can focus on what makes us happy and contributes to our well-being.

Therapy, recovery meetings and mindfulness education are all important parts of the treatment programs at Riverside Recovery. We’re committed to your healing and recovery. Call us at (800) 871-5440 for more information.