I have heard and internalized this concept that when you do not learn from the past, you repeat it. When you do not learn the lesson, you are presented the same lesson again, until its learned.
What I struggled with and many of us do, is , we do not understand what were the lessons behind such hurtful and self altering experiences. What was the meaning behind it? What is it, that we are suppose to learn from these abusive, harmful and plain cruel experiences, which un/interestingly repeats themselves. The situations and people reappear again and again in our lives, at different times, as different names, but representing a single thing, reconfiguring themselves as the symbol of that first experience, which started it all.
“Repetition Compulsion or trauma re-enactment involves unconsciously recreating early trauma. Someone experiencing this compulsion repeats emotionally or physically painful situations.
Trauma can include any experience where you feel overwhelmed with hopelessness or fear. You might want to repeat how things used to be in your life, even when it was detrimental to your well-being.”
“Repeating past trauma might occur because you subconsciously want to fix what happened. You may, without even realizing it, hope that by recreating your trauma, you can find closure and fix what happened in the past.”
“Some experts indicate that repetition compulsion might not have a purpose. Instead, you might repeat trauma because it’s what you know, even if it’s not a good situation. It can also be a method of linking the past to the present.“
When something happens for long enough, it becomes the new normal, and us humans have tendency to recreate that normal again and again because even if detrimental, its comfortable, it a negative comfort zone.
We might also recreate it, because we want to correct it, fix it, maybe find justice, this time; even if we could not earlier. We even want closure.
We want to pass the exam, as if it was an exam, going through that trauma, as if, we could have had a solution to avoid that traumatic experience, or we could have done something differently to not have experienced it. As if being abused the first time is a choice.
The thing is that us humans, always want to find meaning behind everything, and its a good mechanism, mostly, to exist and live. We also think that, if we are good enough this time, we will not be abused. We might get a different outcome this time, even if the player and the situation is the same. We think we might “change” the player with our goodness or some other virtue.
Sometimes we find other ways to repeat the past, by victimizing others, as a way to reverse the roles, Eg. Bullied people becoming the bullies.
The only thing we might need is the acceptance that we cannot rewrite the past, but we can break the cycle of the repetition. It is definitely easier said than done, trust me, I know first hand.
And that’s why I am attaching some links that might help to overcome the Repetition Compulsion. Few of the ways are as follows:
1) Become more aware of the relationship patterns in your family of origin.
2) Reflect on your own behavior
3) Heal the underlying trauma wounds
4) Learn and practice new skills
5) Be kind to yourself
Since we experienced the trauma, we have been carrying, the burden of someone else’s haphazard actions and behaviors that caused us trauma, and why would we want carry it anymore further. It was their’s all along, drop it.
“Sometimes you must accept that some people are not going to change no matter what you do. People who cause trauma will likely need professional help and this is not something you should carry as a burden for yourself. You cannot be expected to help someone who is abusive.”
Drop that scorpion off your back