There are a lot of things from my childhood that I remember fondly or with no real emotions at all. Then there are others that I try my best not to remember. Things like being bullied on the bus, teased for the color of my hair, or when neither of my parents was there for a drama club performance that I was so excited about.
Have you ever found yourself confronting painful memories of situations you experienced when growing up? Remembering these situations can be like re-opening old wounds and feeling the same emotions over and over again. Fortunately, you can use some very productive strategies to help you heal. One of those strategies is journaling — writing down how you feel and think.
Try these journaling techniques to help you resolve the pain of negative childhood memories:
Write about what you thought and felt
Going back in time, ponder what the negative situations were like for you. Did you feel embarrassed when Dad pointed out your teeth to people? Were you angry about Mom’s consistent efforts to make you stand up straighter and taller? Write it down.
Don’t judge the emotions or the thoughts. Just write them down. Think of it like cleaning out an infected wound. You don’t judge what comes out of the wound; you just focus on getting it all out so the wound can heal. That’s all you’re doing here. So write down whatever thoughts and emotions come up without judging them.
What are your current thoughts and feelings?
Next, use your current “adult mind” to take a look at the situation the best you can. What does your adult mind tell you about what really happened? Maybe you see things more clearly now. Was Mom or Dad’s goal to simply make you a “better person?” Jot down your current interpretation of the situation.
This may not make the situation better. Knowing that Dad’s goal was to make you a better person won’t change the way it felt back then and it doesn’t make his behavior right. But it can help you gain a fresh perspective and see that perhaps the…