Why raking over the past is not a good idea

A number of clients who seek my help arrive wanting to go over and over what’s happened in the past – sometimes in minute detail.  What has happened is important but repeatedly raking over past arguments or other negative events will only trigger the emotions you felt at the time.

We all attach emotions to our memories – emotions help us remember events.  So bringing up past negative events will trigger the same negative emotions.  Resentments get stacked and emotions escalate.

Raking over the past

That is why in my sessions I will stop anyone who repeatedly wants to remind their partner of past actions which hurt them or when they had a blazing row.  Raking over past hurt does not make anyone feel great.

The hurt and the rows happened for a reason.   Understanding the underlying cause is vital.  The presenting problems are frequently not the issue.  However people don’t realise this and behave and react as if they are.

Individuals will frequently withdraw if they feel misunderstood and unheard, or get angry and demanding. We all have different interpretations of events – based on our own unique way we interact with our environment –  so to ‘tick off’ your partner won’t help them feel valued or respected.  Add to this the fact that men and women communicate differently and the opportunities for being misunderstood are huge.

To learn how to understand underlying issues requires skill.  Skills I give couples in my sessions.

So if you want to rake over the past – go for the good events not the bad ones.  Remind each other of when you first met – moments which you treasured at the time.