Ghosts of the past... bullies and whatnot

Hey everyone. A few things have come into my mind in the last little while since being back on MFP, and it made me think I can't be the only one who repeatedly lets "ghosts" into my mindset to cause trouble and/or setbacks.

In my case I'm talking remembering being badly bullied, my father abandoning our family, issues with men because of these, etc., but you will have your own style of ghost.

What do you do to push these destructive thoughts away, or at least deal with them if they aren't resolved for good? I'd like to think I can have a strong enough mind to not let these things overwhelm me anymore, but some days are much harder than others. I just want to feel in control of my own heart, head and body again, but have never been very good with coping mechanisms.


  • CoachJen71
    CoachJen71 Posts: 1,200 Member
    I was bullied, too. It can be hard to overwrite bad programming from ghosts! Walking has been helpful to me, as has been pleasure reading, or creative endeavors. But sometimes the old voices are too loud to drown out, and I find myself wanting the comfort of food.

    I am sure we are far from alone with this! *hug*


    Down 140lbs: My story.
  • ItsSlimpossible12
    ItsSlimpossible12 Posts: 127 Member
    I workout. Push hard. Running outside is the best way for me but other types of cardio do it too. It is the only thing I have found properly clears my head, if only for the moment I am working out, though I tend to feel better afterwards too. If it isn't physical activity, for me, the thoughts override anything else I am trying to do (read, paint, watch a movie). Try a little bit of everything and you will find what works best for you.
  • RelCanonical
    RelCanonical Posts: 3,882 Member
    I was bullied as a kid too. Sometimes I cringe from some unbidden memory of something that happened as a kid (or as an adult that was an effect of the self-esteem issues resulting from the bullying). My tendency is to ruminate on them, so now I force them away with something in the present that brings me happiness, even if it's just thinking about my favorite band or some event I'm going to later that week.
  • upoffthemat
    upoffthemat Posts: 679 Member
    Good riddance to bad rubbish. I don't really worry about the past anymore, I am far more worried about what I can do today and tomorrow.

    I used to focus on those things until I realized I was letting them have power over me again and they weren't even thinking of me. Now I don't think of them at all. If I do run across those bullies in real life for the most part I ignore them and have pretty much forgiven things. Doesn't mean I want to be friends, but forgiving things was for me, not them. I moved on, one of them actually did ask for forgiveness and I was happy to give it, the rest I have never talked to. Doesn't mean I associate with them or ever would again. I am making a better life.
  • amylahminute
    amylahminute Posts: 613 Member
    I have thoughts that don't serve me too. I like to use Byron Katie's 4 Questions technique for changing the narrative in my own mind. It's a deep dive, and it works for me:
  • 88olds
    88olds Posts: 4,427 Member
    I've been thinking more about your post. I can't quite wrap my brain around this completely but sometimes it helps me. The past no longer exists. The only thing that exists about the past are ideas in our heads about the past.

    Likewise the future does not exist. The future by its nature is unknown. Yet we have ideas and possible anxiety about the future. But again these are just events in our heads. That's all we have right now.
  • WanderingRivers
    WanderingRivers Posts: 612 Member
    I was bullied at school and abused at home so I've a raft of unhappy voices from the past. Usually I try to hear them like in the voice of someone I hate so I can mentally flip them off and go "you know that dreck ain't true, Karen."

    And sometimes I self-harm so YMMV.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,182 Member
    It's common to "protect" yourself from past experiences, but you're talking of instances that can also paralyze you from succeeding. In other words, what your dad did was because he was him. He's one in several billion males in the world. Many other males ARE NOT like that. You just have to find them.
    It's when you can let go of the negative past and look to a positive future that you will see better success in just about everything you do.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

  • alltimeburrit0
    alltimeburrit0 Posts: 41 Member
    I find that I can look back at the times when I was bullied and called fat and see pictures and see clearly that I wasn't. I wish I was the size I was then.
    You just have to understand people did it because of their jealousy and their insecurities. Especially since most my bullying came from when I was younger and grew and developed early.
    You're stronger than them simply because you don't put people through none of that 'stuff'!
  • WorshipHK
    WorshipHK Posts: 30 Member
    I chose to go through therapy for a few months because I let some old stuff build up and just really eat me alive.

    The main thing I wound up doing as treatment was writing letters. Every time I started to think about the issue that was bothering me, I would write a letter to the person that had caused the entire thing.
    Just let it all out. It can be sincere, kind, sarcastic, mean, evil, whatever you want. Just write out whatever you're feeling until you're done.
    Repeat this as many times as you need to until you don't get a really emotional response when the subject is brought up.

    Then burn your letters as a kind of final goodbye to all of those crappy feelings.

    I know this might not work for everyone, but when I did this, I really learned a lot more about how I actually felt about everything and why I felt the way I did.
    I still greatly dislike the person that hurt me, but I'm not filled with rage and hurt when someone brings it up or it happens to float across my mind in passing.

    I hope my experience can help you work through your stuff because you deserve to be happy and accomplish your goals :smile:

  • loveliveswithin
    loveliveswithin Posts: 2,256 Member
    First, I am so sorry for the ghosts that have reemerged in your journey of life.
    Ghosts only have power if you let them. Are you a better person today then you were then? Thoes circumstances may have had an effect on you but it is up to you how you proceed now that they have happened. You can not turn back time but you can change the way you feel about them now. You have power over the present.
    Once you move beyond dissecting what actually happened and how you felt in that moment. I think you will actually be great full for the moments (good and bad) that shaped you into the beautiful you you are today.
  • Treece68
    Treece68 Posts: 780 Member
    It is hard to let go of those things because they have shaped who we are now, but you can overcome them they do not have to shape who you will be in the future. We can not change the past we can only accept it and move on.
  • LearningToFly13
    LearningToFly13 Posts: 329 Member
    88olds wrote: »
    Living well is the best revenge. I started thinking of weight loss as a way of fighting back against my own demons. I deserved the life I wanted. If I didn't get everything I wanted, it wasn't going to be because I was too fat to get it.

    I like this. I'm stealing it for myself haha :D
  • UnicornAmandaPanda
    UnicornAmandaPanda Posts: 161 Member
    Thank you for posting this... This is something I have struggled with my whole life.. Please message me! Id love to discuss this more with you. (Any of you❤)
  • ShrinkingViolet1982
    ShrinkingViolet1982 Posts: 919 Member
    Just catching up now, but you guys are amazing. Thank you for the positive outlooks and support!
  • CynoO
    CynoO Posts: 161 Member
    I try to live a better life and look past them. I was bullied by family member my whole life and I am so done with them I honest and open about with those close to me and others I just ignore it now and let them see them I am doing great with my life and I am so much happier! I try hard to believe and hold on Karma is a %$^&^ sadly one day they will know how it feels and what it can do to a person. Be Strong do better for yourself and I wish you all the best to move on from them
  • megdnoorman
    megdnoorman Posts: 282 Member
    edited May 2017
    I went through therapy for my ghosts. The big things I learned from it was:

    1. To let myself think about it for a limited time and in that time I actively control my thoughts, so if a ghost popped up, I would acknowledge it (them) and mentally address it, i.e. "The fact that you did X to me reflects poorly on you, not me. I won't allow anyone to treat me like that moving forward, and I won't let the things you did/said keep me from moving forward, etc"
    2. To live in the present, which is to say, actively pay attention to what I am doing, hearing, seeing, experiencing in my current, present life. So, if something from the past pops up, i choose to focus on my senses as a means to ignore the nagging ghost. It's interesting how much ghosts stop popping up when you really focus on taking in every moment, which seems weird, but is kinda true. Focusing on music, the taste of something, the way something feels etc. is a different way of thinking because it doesn't allow the room for "what ifs" and worry and concern etc. An easy way to do this is to read a book or watch a movie and just actively pay attention -- so that's a good quick fix for me if a thought comes up while I'm at home/not working.
    3. In relation to 2. If I can't tune a ghost out, I make significant sensory changes, when possible, and mentally describe my experience as a means to force the ghost out. This probably sounds crazy, but it can range from holding my hands under running water or holding ice cubes in my hands to spinning around in circles or drinking straight lemon juice. It's weird, but it works for me, like a distraction or mental reset. If I have more time and/or I have someone to watch my son, I might take a hot bath or go for a run.

    In the end though, it took a lot of time and therapy. The happier and more comfortable I am, the less the ghosts pop up -- thankfully -- but when they do (or when new anxious or self defeating thoughts come up) I still use the strategies above for a quick fix.

    I'm sorry your ghosts are bothering you. I hope you find vanquishing strategies that work for you :smile: