Therapy Thursday # 16: How to Heal Your Past Self So You Don't Turn Into an Unsavory Shit Head
TOPIC: Healing a past trauma
WHEN TO USE: When you've experienced a past micro or major trauma that negatively affects your current life.
HOW TO USE (With Examples): An old DBT therapist taught me this trick, and it's legit as hell.
E! True Hollywood Story: When I was in pre-school, we had a tactile 'activity wall' lined with zippers, buttons, hooks to fasten, etc. The last activity on the wall involved learning how to pin safety pins onto fabric. I went at it, feeling confident in my ability to unfasten, stab, repeat. The next thing I know my teacher rips my unfinished magnum opus out of my hands, and with the shrill of a thousand Jacob Sartorius fans squawks, "YOUR'E NOT READY FOR THAT!!!!!" I felt smaller than a single sprinkle inadvertently ground into the carpet of a Golden Corral by its shuffling patrons. Blessed be to my therapist; she had not only helped me uncover this repressed memory but had also worked with me to identify it as one of the roots of why I have trouble trusting myself TO THIS DAY. At that moment, I felt like my confidence in my myself was not to be trusted. I felt like my thoughts and feelings were not to be trusted. I felt like I needed to ask permission to do things I had once felt confident about doing. As my therapist would put it, I experienced a micro-trauma that carried into my adult life. Like, I get it. Teachers don't want 4-year-olds giving themselves nipple piercings next to the juice boxes. And! To be fair, I don't remember the entirety of the event so I could very well have been in the middle of that path but STILL LIKE DON'T SHAME-YELL AT KIDS ITS HELLA TRAUMATIZING. Also, don't put fucking safety pins on an activity board for people who require an hour of napping and animal crackers to be a part of their school curriculum.
ANYWAY - my therapist suggested visualizing my adult-self walking up to scared, pre-school Dominique and comforting her after seeing her teacher flip out. I could say to my young self like, "You're going to be just fine, little Dominique. You are ready for those safety pins, and you DO know what you're doing. No need to be scared or embarrassed. Your teacher was wrong, and you can trust yourself." Give little you a hug, pick them off the ground, hold their hand, pat their back -whatever comfort you needed back then but didn't get- envision giving it to your past self right now.
WHY IT'S LEGIT: You get a free pass to talk to yourself. Plus it almost feels like you get to go back in time to heal a situation.
ABOUT THERAPY THURSDAY: Join me every Thursday on my Instagram story (@domjoellehaikel) as I share with you a new tip/trick I learned in therapy over the years. If you can't catch the segment in time, look out for written recaps like these or on my saved Instagram stories.