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I think I have a problem with not knowing how to let go of…

Customer Question
I think I have a...
I think I have a problem with not knowing how to let go of the way my life used to be versus the way it is now and it makes me very afraid to move on and also very angry when things don't go right. How do I let go of my old life and my "perfect" possibly romanticized version of life to accept and be happy in my current and future life?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 13 hours by:
6/27/2010
Mental Health Professional: Sarah, Psychologist replied 8 years ago
Sarah
Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience: Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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Hi Sir,

Find yourself an EMDR therapist and they will guide you very carefully to let go of all the stuff that you are talking about - the beliefs, the emotions and the thoughts. It's actually a treatment for trauma, but it is the most powerful way I know of letting stuff go, leaving the view clear for a more positive future.

The therapist will use a bilateral stimulation (eye movements, tapping or a gentle electrical impulse on the palms) and the processing will occur in your subconscious mind, letting it all go. It seems like a crazy therapy, but the results can be very impressive (although there are never any guarantees with any therapy).

Give it a go - it could be the new start that you need.

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Relist: Answer quality.
Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Relist: Answer quality.
Please give me another counselor that will give me advice instead of referring me to something else with no answer.
Mental Health Professional: Sarah, Psychologist replied 8 years ago

Hi,

Maybe you would allow me to send another reply? If you are willing to try the Cognitive Behavioural (CBT) route of therapy, I can give you some exercises to begin with, which should broaden your understanding of what it is you don't like about your previous life and to leave it behind.

Our thoughts, feelings and behaviours work in a cycle, each affecting the other very quickly and making a chain of events. CBT is about recognising and breaking these chains, so that you can think, feel and behave differently. Experts have always believed that the adult brain did not physically change once it had developed into adulthood, but there is now a belief that the brain continues to develop and making conscious changes can change the physical pathways, making the new patterns (thoughts, feelings and behaviours) easier and easier to follow.

In order to begin working with your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, you need to be able to recognise them. Write down specifically the behaviours, feelings and thoughts that are related specifically to the past, that you would like to let go of. It might help you to do a Life Map - use a long piece of paper (wallpaper is good) and draw a long line through the middle - this is neutral. Above the line is all that is positive and below the line is all that is negative. The line can begin at birth, or your earliest memory. Draw a continuous line (like a roller coaster) going up and down for events that you can recall in your life that have meaning for you - the negative stuff will be below the line, the positive above. When you have drawn the line, up to current time if you can, go back and write strong beliefs, thoughts and feelings onto each high and low. This may take lots of time, but it will be more useful if you can really do it in detail. It might include major life events such as marriage, deaths, passing driving test, etc. but can just as easily include what someone said to you that made an impact, or something you saw, etc. etc. If it was important to you, then it goes on the diagram.

When all of that is finished, you can look back across time in order to identify any patterns that have had a big impact on your life across time. Has the same belief re-occurred over time, do you have an emotion that appears time and time again? These are what you need to recognise when they re-appear in current time.

Any strong beliefs that you are carrying with you can be viewed as you wearing a pair of coloured spectacles - have you heard of someone wearing 'rose-tinted glasses' who see the world as a wonderful place, no matter what? Well, we all wear glasses of some description every so often, which means we see the world in a certain way. Examples could be 'I deserve everything' 'I am unlovable', etc. etc. etc. Every individual's beliefs are totally personal and related to experiences that they have been through. We expect the world to work in a certain way and react if it does not. Yet not everyone is in our world - they aren't wearing the same spectacles.

When you know what your spectacles are, you can list how you feel, what you think and how you behave when you are wearing them. You may have different pairs, but often there is one strong pair. Then list alternative thoughts, feelings and beliefs that counteract this information, using evidence from your world (eg. if your belief is 'I am unlovable' then think of a few examples where this has been shown to be false. The most important (and difficult) part is to recognise you are wearing your spectacles when you are wearing them, and bringing in your management techniques to take them off. This will start to break down the belief and allow the evidence to gain strength. This is where the brain will begin to change and truly believe. It will take time, and you will make errors, but use the errors to assess what went wrong and how you can do it differently next time.

There are therapists who can help you with this (CBT) but you can do it alone if you have the time and the motivation. There are lots of books you can buy to help you, but doing this exercise alone will help you to leave stuff behind.

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Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
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Experience: Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.

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