For example, a bad break-up rehashes through acute physical pain or thoughts and feelings of deep regret. We know that these feelings become embedded within the memory bank because mere thought or sight of the traumatic event evokes the same feeling associated with the past experience.
If we can think of our mind as a computer, these memories that evoke the same feeling or thought become hard-coded. In time, and depending on the nastiness of the actual break-up, memories may change to show our biases.
For instance, we may find that every single relationship since the last one seems to end up in pretty much the same spot, and place the blame on what the first person took away from us, that we are unable to give to someone else, a virtue like trust.
In a different example, we find inexplicable joy in a relationship afterwards that leads us to remember only the negative things that the first person put us through, as a way to confirm the new love and just how good it feels.
In yet a different example, our mindset shifts in an entirely different direction, so that we gain perspective into the disastrous relationship and recognize the role played in assisting in its demise.
We also acknowledge that we did everything we could and have no regrets, hence ties, to the past. Our goal is to get to this last part, utilizing God-given assets and working through our memories of the person and event, for a favourable outcome.
So based on our examples, we’re working with a failed relationship and nasty feelings toward the person . These feelings and thoughts embed in our memory banks, neatly sealed, labeled and dated.
It’s interesting that one can remember a specific date, time and social environment when one hears a name of someone s/he detests, but will not remember whether the person had a great smile or smelled nice. The opposite occurs if one hears a name of someone s/he likes. It’s aspects such as smile and scent that come to mind.
What I’d like to point out is the first thought that takes place regardless of its accuracy. That one will remember what suits his/her overall purpose, which is to keep the memory in his/her mind against the framework of reference created for the person.
First thoughts drawn from the memory bank which has a labeled, sealed, and dated feeling is the same as the last time it came to mind. Variations occur to add or to take away from the permanently pressed thought.
An example of an addition happens when one hears about the ex moving on. In addition to the existing memory bank feeling, thinly disguised jealousy, rage, and despair, is experienced.
What is a constant is that the originally sealed thought now has a number of related and unrelated folders, such as Today I Miss You, I Cant Believe You Did This, and Should I Go Back Anyway etc. These folders get called upon depending on any given current situation. The person and/or situation turns into a Site of Trauma.
We are naturally equipped with tools for success: Reason, Caution, Fight, Flight, Courage, Faith etc. All these tools are instinctively for our success. If carefully watched over they serve wonderful purposes in our lives. These tools however, come with a very quiet instruction manual (Your voice), and need a bit of work on our part to hone them.
In maintaining Sites of Trauma we keep preserving an exact copy of a memory of a person and/or situation. This is peppered with different folders on how we interpret this person as we live another day to keep our first understanding of the relationship. The result is that we keep some tie to the past while reconciling with updates along the way (such as the folder created to deal with the ex moving on to a new love).
With no room to grow, the neatly pressed, sealed and labeled thoughts lead to a deep sense of helplessness. They are also hard-coded for the next step–to give in, or to fight the low feeling.
What we need to realize is that this process was needless to begin with, that we could have started with the first thought. Changing a hard-coded thought lies in how we control our current thoughts. Remember, regardless of the person, event and/or situation, what is entirely in our control is the information that we receive, perceive and store.