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Ghosts of Past Lovers

Ep #42

Ghosts of Past Lovers

When we think back to past relationships, many of us remember the terrible memories. The resentment, pain, anger, and judgement. And when we keep coming back to these memories, we bring them into our new relationships.

Does this sound familiar? Involuntarily bringing past relationships into the present one, projecting our ghosts of past lovers onto the present person, is all too common. So is anyone really dating from a clean and clear space these days? And is it possible to date purely from the present moment?

That’s what we’re exploring today, Renegades. How to bring conscious awareness to our past pain so that we can heal and love again. Get to know this new person and fully enjoy the discovery process without bringing past experiences into it. To leave your ghosts of lovers past behind and step into your essential self with someone new, you need to walk into the light like a moth to the flame.

What You Will Discover:

  • What happens when we haven’t fully let go of past relationships.
  • How the brain recycles relationship thoughts.
  • How to overcome the 2 obstacles to dating consciously.
  • How I found forgiveness for my exes and for myself.

Resources Mentioned:

Enjoy the Show?

I was recently walking with a friend of mine catching up on all the things when dating came up. She had met someone on a dating app and they had been texting back and forth for a few weeks. She was thinking maybe it was time to take the next step- a socially distanced face to face meet up.

As she shared with me her thoughts about him I noticed that she had a tendency to refer to the last person she dated and what had happened to her with him to define what she didn’t want in this relationship. It was as if this bar of what would not, could not happen had been set and the ex was there with us holding it up. It was the ghost of a past lover. The, I remember the painful story of when I did this with the last lover, how that didn’t work out -so never again.

Her ex was just as present in her dating life as he had been when it was just the two of them.

I couldn’t help but think this might be the most non-consensual threesome I’ve heard about in a long time.

I also couldn’t help but think that we are all subconsciously doing this; Involuntarily bringing our past relationships into the current ones to inform us of who and what we want while simultaneously projecting our ghosts of past lovers on to the present person.

It begs the question; Is anyone really dating from a clean and clear space? Is it possible to date purely from the present moment?

As you know, I’m an advocate for you looking back at your dating life and relationships to gather evidence and hard data when you are looking for different results. But there is a difference when it’s all facts and no drama. When you aren’t still holding on to or judging the relationship.

When you are still making it mean something went wrong, I was wrong- they were wrong, we haven’t fully let go. And if we haven’t fully let go, then we are brining these ghost lovers of past time into our new relationships.

When I look back at my dating life and the amount of transference that was occurring I can assure you it was less of a threesome and more of swinging group orgy.

As human as this is, it’s unfair to all parties involved.
If we don’t bring into conscious awareness our past pain, we can’t heal or love.

I’ve been reading Marianne Williamson and she refers to the course of miracles and speaks to shadow figures of the past. She says “it tells us that we tend to see no one as they are now. We keep blaming someone in the present for something someone did to us in the past.”

The other person doesn’t really stand a chance because every time they say something or do something you are wondering if it’s going to be this again- like it was with so and so.

If you examine your relationships closely you may notice some commonality. This is because many of our thoughts are similar about your dating life. Who you dated. Your brain is recycling relationship thoughts from our lifetime of programming.

Without awareness you’re not fully able to get to know this person and enjoy the discovery process. You are also denying yourself the experience of true engagement with your feelings and theirs.

You may not necessarily be thinking about your ex’s and what they did, but if you are still hurt, mad, resentful or in judgment you aren’t fully open to emotionally experiencing the relationship. You are guarded.

This transference application is so subtle and subconscious that you are not necessarily aware that you are doing it, but if you haven’t cleaned up your past relationships I assure you, it is happening.
It will always be happening.

So what do we do, Renegades?

How can we date from a space and place that is clean and clear? Unhooked from emotional pain and judgement of our past relationships and the others involved?

To date consciously and be in the present requires you to learn the truth about your relationships and overcome two obstacles; the ego and your brains conditioning to look for the bad and judge.

How? The way we do every week: We Inquire Seek and Reveal.
Here are a few steps you can take:

Process your pain.
When you begin to experience thoughts and feelings from the past in your present, you want to honor that within yourself and not react to the other person.
Observe your reaction. Choose your response.
Allow for the feeling while recognizing that it has nothing to do with the other person. Process it by narrating the experience through your body. Then hit pause and insist on the truth.
Ask yourself when was the last time I was triggered by an ex or my past while I was spending time with someone new? What was I thinking? What happened in my body? How did I react? Can I release this belief from my new relationship?
What new belief can I choose to have?

Conscious Remembering.
I watched Eternal Sunshine on a Spotless mind a few weeks ago and if you haven’t seen it yet- spoiler alert. The movie stars Jim Carey & Kate Winslet. They are a couple who break up and both separately go through this process to have the memory of the other person completely removed from their minds. And it’s simply fascinating because the most memorable memories, the current ones are negative. The arguments. The misunderstandings. The painful painful conversations and things said. But as they got lower into the subconscious of his memories he starts seeing the experiences that they had that were good. And Jim Carrey wanted to keep those. Suddenly he’s trying to figure out where to hide these good memories so they won’t be erased as well as hide the memory of her altogether from being deleted. It turns out, as he began to revisit their past he got below the surface of his anger hurt and resentment and saw the memories of why he loved her. The good times they had. The experiences and feelings that made them, them.

I thought about the beautiful, yet horrific ability our minds have to store and re-write our memories. To reframe. Memories are only our thoughts about the past. I know from personal experience when I’m done with someone or a relationship I mostly only remember the bad. The why I’m leaving or left.

When you do this, you continue to relive the painful experience. Making it mean the same awful thing about your relationship every time. And you bring it into your current relationships.

Last year I recorded an episode called Reconciling My Past and I talk about a process I did to reframe my relationships with my ex husbands. After all these years I found myself still angry and resentful with these 2 men… Men who are not in my life but because of my thinking about them still have quite the emotional impact and the ability to consume me. Martha Beck calls this story fondling. Martha Beck calls this story fondling. The problems from our past that we can’t stop thinking about. It’s super fun if you like to be the victim in your story :)
I decided it was for a full stop. I dropped the anchor. I became the queen of reframe. I spent time looking back at our past, but only for good memories. It wasn’t easy. And it took time. But it worked. Suddenly I found myself asking questions about why I left. I literally started to see these two men, one of whom I experienced some very serious trauma with and wondered why I ever left. I found myself asking what it might have been like to be on their side of the relationship. To be married to me. And that Renegades, was not a fun process. But it led me to the most peaceful place.

To Forgiveness. For them and myself.

This can be very difficult process depending on the circumstances but remember; forgiveness doesn’t condone bad behavior or an admission of what you did to me was acceptable. This doesn’t mean you dismiss any wrong doing to you, but you don’t have to carry it around with you forever. When we forgive we release our past and drop into the present. That person cannot keep hurting us.

When I find myself in a place of anger and unable to forgive I ask myself, when have I behaved in similar way? When did I hurt someone? I have learned that I can forgive someone, love them unconditionally AND not have anything to do with them. Forgiveness does not mean friendship. I can have compassion for myself and others while remaining within my boundaries.

This is the work required to start showing up in your relationships without your ghost lovers of past time. To get our of your patterns and find your essential self. You have to walk in to the light, like a moth to the flame. They don’t call it work for nothing. Doing this work Renegades opens you up to YOUR life’s work. It gets you present and another step closer to home.

It might actually be easier for you to continue on blaming others and staying in negativity. Obviously, it won’t feel better and we all know it isn’t better for you over the long term but we hold on to the familiar discomfort rather than exchanging it for the unfamiliar discomfort.

While reading a Woman’s Worth by Marianne Williamson I was struck with this: We don’t have to take responsibility for the world when we’re spending all our time in emotional pain. We’re too busy. The truth that sets free is an embrace of the divine within us. Which immediately reminded me of Martha Beck when she said, I've come to think that the main purpose of rumination is work avoidance. Dwelling endlessly on the past keeps us from the wild, exhausting, terrifying tasks that create our right lives.

But you’re a Renegade. You were made for this work. Keep it up, you sexy thang. Until next week, I love you and you’re worth it.

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