Freeing myself from my past by making peace with it.

Credit: Me

I woke up earlier from a very odd dream.  Unfortunately, I didn’t post about it right away, so the details are a little fuzzy, but I do remember the gist of it.  At first it made no sense to me (most dreams don’t right away), but when I realized it wasn’t to be taken literally, it began to make perfect sense.

I dreamt I was on vacation with my MN ex.  I don’t know where we were, but it was on a beach somewhere.  We were renting a beach house.   We were getting along very well (!), and at some point I felt this outpouring of love for him.   In real life, I feel nothing but a strong dislike and disgust.

Inspired by my loving feelings toward him, I told him I’d like to make things work with him again.   I apologized for my part in the destruction of our marriage and the ways I’d hurt him.  I prompted him to do the same.   He was hesitant, but he agreed, and made amends for all the terrible things he did to me and to our family.

“Let’s just let the past stay in the past now and start over, as if we just met,” I said, and he agreed to let bygones be bygones.

When I woke up, I actually laughed, because I have no loving feelings toward my ex whatsoever.  I have no desire to resume any kind of contact with him, ever.  He’s still as evil and hateful as he ever was and has grown worse over time (I know not all narcissists are evil, but THIS one definitely is!) and has zero conscience or empathy.   I also know that in real life, there’s no way he would ever be so agreeable and cooperative, even if I were to suggest such a crazy thing.

I scratched my head trying to decipher what this meant.  Obviously it wasn’t really about him.   Slowly it dawned on me that in the dream, my ex represented either my inner child (who I’ve spent years rejecting and denying) or my past.   Either way, it doesn’t matter, because both bleed into each other.  My inner child is my past, and my past is my inner child.

Slowly I’ve been learning to develop empathy for my inner child and stop pretending she isn’t there.  I’m actually learning to love her and appreciate her because her heart is so huge and she is so genuine and has so much love to give.  I’m learning to incorporate her gifts into my everyday life.  It’s not easy and sometimes I still pretend I can’t hear her because I’m still programmed to feel ashamed of her.   But I’m hearing her more, and realizing she’s not some pathetic, weak, immature little brat, but she is the real me–the one who never got to grow up because her spirit was squashed when she was so young.   I’m mature enough now–and also armed with the truth about what really happened to me–to know how to use her gifts, or at least start trying.  When I was a child, her gifts only brought me shame and I had no idea how to use them (and wasn’t allowed to use them anyway), so I rejected them.

In the process of learning to love the real me, I’m also learning to accept my past, and finally move on from it.

For as long as we can’t make peace with our past, we remain trapped in it.

16 thoughts on “Freeing myself from my past by making peace with it.

  1. Beautiful! I have had moments of realizing where I was persecuting and rejecting part of myself and turning around to love it (me) instead. I know what that’s like. Interesting that this comes so close on the heals of your blog about having warmer feelings towards your mother too. It looks like a time of re-integration for you. Ever since you went to Florida, I have noticed a lightness and joy in all your posts. JOY!

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  2. Oh my goodness, this post is so meaningful to me. I pray right before I fall to sleep, and ask God questions. Often I have been startled awake by something very profound, that has been revealed to me, as if I have been having a conversation in my dreams and a phrase or sentence suddenly gets flagged as “Take notice! extremely important!” Rarely can I grasp what was “said” when I awake, as if the very act of struggling to remember it chases it away. Perhaps I should just trust in God more. But sometimes bits and phrases stay in my mind. I remember certain things, in the peace of the morning light, and can grasp their literal or symbolic meaning. These “messages” are not magical predictions of the future. It’s usually something beautiful and important I knew deep down inside was true, but didn’t know I knew, and would never have realized on my own, without Divine intervention. These nightly conversations, when I have them, I believe, are between my true self, God, His mother and even loved ones in heaven. People may think I’m crazy for saying that but I know what I know, so it doesn’t matter. Occasionally my inner critic interrupts us, and I argue back with him. I notice I have started thinking of my inner critic as a “him”, possibly I think he says what Satan would say, to discourage me. The other “voices” (none of which I hear “audibly” – I’m not delusional) are always very beautiful, inspiring, loving and comforting.

    Also, the dream you relate reminds me of a dream I had in which I was in a heavenly countryside with my brother, who played a large role in recent years, unwittingly, helping my mother impose her guilt and pathology on me. (In real life my brother has bipolar II.) In the dream I was looking up at him, as if I was three and he was proportionately older, only 6 or 7. I could see him very clearly, and he looked exactly like I had forgotten he looked as a little boy, only more beautiful, and in the dream I felt all the innocent and joyful love I had for him as a child. I knew the dream (which I can’t describe in entirety here) was God showing me what my brother would be like had he not the effects of original sin (pathology and disease) which been handed down to my family, and we could have grown up in this beautiful field, this Heavenly garden of Eden. Heaven was more real than earth, and I looked down and saw a tiny house covered in a dismal gray fog beneath this land that we were in. A silent choir of voices, like angels, pointed downward to earth, and made known to me “On the other side of life, your house was covered with the guilt against the faith.”

    That phrase rang in my ears as I awoke, and I was overwhelmed with awe as I realized the symbolism. I cannot get into it here, but it was truly meaningful, and not a phrase my subconscious could have, or would have, cooked up on it’s own. I do not believe we can always assume a correct interpretation of our dreams, or that all dreams are meaningful, but I do believe that God talks to all of us in some way to let us know that He is there, and was there, all along. None of us will He leave orphans. God is infinitely good and merciful and wants to give us more joy than we can ever possibly imagine.

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  3. What an encouraging blog! As I read I realized making peace with my history requires faith that I am not destroyed by that history. My history doesn’t define me either but my response to it defines how miserable or happy I am in any given day. It is easier to accept what was when you believe that whatever happened or happens God means to bring good and create good out of it. This dream sounds like a gift full of grace and freedom

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    • I’m glad this post encouraged you and gave you hope! Nope, you can’t let the past define you. I think Nowve666 is onto something. I feel like something shifted in me or changed since my trip to Florida. I knew it was going to be a good thing for me.

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  4. It is comforting and exciting to me to see survivors of narcissistic abuse post that they will not let their past define them. It is very, very true that as victims of emotional abuse we have disproportionate trials to more forward and survive in the world. Others cannot even imagine our struggles and often judge us wrongly. However, God, being a fair God, sees all, and gifts us with proportionate aid. He does not want us to become dependent on the government or any other entity, not even ourselves, as a fill in parent. He wants to parent us Himself, to be our Father in Heaven that we can trust, because He is all providential and benevolent. One of my most favorite thoughts when discovering a gift or a talent is “Oh God, I see now, you place it right there in side of me all along!” Another, is that moment when you realize you can “flip” all the painful things in your life into incentives for joy. Bitter irony becomes joyful paradox.

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  5. About eight years ago, someone I had long considered one of my best and closest friends suddenly flipped out and kicked me out of her life, making it very clear that she never wanted to see me or hear from me again. It came as a complete shock to me, as I’d had no inkling that anything was wrong. We had been friends for many years, our kids grew up together and were best friends, etc. All in all, a thoroughly hideous experience. Weirdly, every now and then I have a dream where she and I are friends again… and whenever it happens, I obsess over what — if anything — it means. I usually end up dismissing the dreams as wishful thinking. But now you’ve got me wondering if there’s some other meaning I haven’t figured out yet. Hmmmm….

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    • I feel for you, bluebird. That’s happened to me, too, and it’s very devastating when it happens. It was probably a narcissist friend, doing a discard after you had served your purpose. There’s no closure when that happens and it’s completely shocking and devastating.

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      • Sudden, totally unexplainable abandonment. I have had this happen to me in my dating life. I recently went out with a very handsome man whose personality expressed to me almost a mirror image of myself (only in reverse) such an open enthusiasm to falling in love with me and a wonderful emotional intelligence. So shocked I was when I never heard from him again, a plate I had loaned him with dessert on it and some of my drafts returned, in the middle of the night, in a garbage bag shoved in my mailbox. Lack of explanation is cruel and it’s angry. If he was hiding something (like an existent marriage) he could at least have said “Hey, I changed my mind, I’m not interested at this time.” Therefore I have little choice but to acknowledge his out of character behavior was related to narcissism. I had expressed enough boundaries on the first date that he must have known I wouldn’t play.

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      • The bizarre thing is that this person, who I thought I knew so well (we’d spent a LOT of time together over the years), had never exhibited any of the personality traits connected with NPD. Even with hindsight (which is often where we discover the red flags which we totally missed at the time) I can’t see it. Of course it’s possible that I could be completely wrong, and if she were a narcissist the whole thing would certainly be much more explicable, and I wouldn’t still be feeling bad about it all these years later — in fact I’d think myself well rid of her. But I can’t get over the feeling that I am at least partly to blame for what happened. Obviously I never hurt her deliberately, but maybe I did so inadvertently, and just never realized it?


          • I have no way of knowing. I do know, from what she said about me before essentially telling me to get lost, that she believes some things about me that aren’t true, but I don’t know the origin of them. They shocked me because, as I said, we had spent so much time together, and I thought she knew me better than that. I felt like I was living in the twilight zone or something.

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