When the Painful Past is the Painful Present

Hello Everyone,

I’ve been thinking about this topic for awhile. I know I have written about time distortion, memory recall, flashbacks, body memories, trauma processing and all those things before. (Oh boy, do I need to update my List of All Articles page! My apologies for getting so behind there). Anyway, a few more comments about such a difficult topic is still warranted.

The point is, this stuff just doesn’t seem to go away. It repeats. And repeats. And repeats itself…

So yes, one of the very most painful aspects of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID / MPD), in my opinion, is the way some of the most difficult, heart-breaking and distressing events in life appear to be caught forever in the present. These don’t have to be the most horrific or violent abuses. Sometimes these are the situations that created the most heartache, or came from the deepest losses.


Pain (Photo credit: Michelle Brea)

“Put the past in the past” and “Let bygones be bygones”. Easy to say, but for dissociative trauma survivors, how does this happen?

Does it happen? Can it happen?

Or will the past stay stuck tight to Now more often than not?

It is difficult to feel comfort and healing from hurts when the hurts still feels as real today as they did ten or twenty, thirty or forty years ago. It is difficult to move forward when the pictures of How-It-Was are constantly vivid and present and smacking you in the face over and over again. Not to mention the nightmares and dreams. Talk about re-living painful scenes

With this happening, the list of “Bad Days” or painful anniversaries grows and grows over time. As each passing year adds its contributions to the “Bad Days” calendar, more and more days of every year are painful rememberings of difficult times.

Time loses meaning. What time is it when time feels the same all the time?

For DID survivors, time stays in the now, and doesn’t necessarily retreat into the past. Instead of life as a single melody line, life feels like a complex chord of notes. There are many times at once.

How complicated is living when you are living in 1968, 1979, 1983, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2013 all at the same time!!

How do hurts get healed when time keeps them current? How do conflicts get resolved when time keeps them current? How do insiders become connected to Now when they live in Then?

What do you do when life is like this? How do you manage? Does it feel like you are moving forward?

Does it matter if you are “moving forward”?

Maybe staying connected to the past is a necessary part of your life.

Maybe that is ok.  Maybe your brain just works like this, and you are better at remembering than other people.  I am sorry it hurts so much — I know that part is not ok.  The pain can often feel unbearable.

But maybe you are who you are, and all the parts of your mind-body-system are allowed to have their lives, whatever time frame they are in.  Let them each have the time they need to process their hurts.  I do think the individual selves in your system each need time to talk-draw-feel and heal on their own.  As each of your system members do their own healing, the whole of you will hopefully not have to re-live as much over and over.

If you have any helpful thoughts, your comments are appreciated.



Copyright (C) 2008 – 2013 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation

English: An American Lady butterfly against a ...

English: An American Lady butterfly against a cloud-filled sky. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)