"Why you always bringing up old shit?”
It’s the infamous line of every lame ass dude that doesn’t want to discuss his past indiscretions that led to the distrust and betrayal their partner is feeling. I know I’ve heard it quite a few times! In some cases, it could be a legitimate argument. How are we going to move forward if you keep bringing up the past? In some cases, it’s an attempt to avoid the past to keep from addressing it. Whether you bring it up or not, you are moving forward, but that “old shit” could be the determining factor in where you are headed.
I met with a therapist recently that felt like I was just bringing up old shit. I specifically said that I wanted to address the trauma in my past and she suggested I leave it in the past and worry more about the future. I totally disagreed. It’s the avoidance of my past that has had me traveling a path to nowhere pleasant. I need to address it.
However, I’ve heard differing professional opinions on this. Some feel like drudging up the past is an archaic method to healing from trauma, while others believe you must understand where you’ve been to truly understand where you are and where you want to go. Here is why I believe the latter.
My oldest son’s grades started to slip around middle school. I had the typical parent response of talking to him as well as his teachers about how to improve his grades. It didn’t help. By high school his grades were still pretty mediocre although he stood steadfast in his dream of becoming a medical doctor. I could see there was a disconnect but didn’t know how to get through to him. I talked to him repeatedly. I talked to his teacher. I offered to get him a tutor. I took away privileges. Nothing seemed to work.
It wasn’t until the second week of his senior year in high school that I decided to bring up some old shit.
I asked him if he remembered what he wanted to be before deciding to be a doctor. He looked like a deer in headlights. He didn’t even remember wanting to be anything before committing to being a doctor. Having that conversation with him helped him clear the fog and confidently find the path that not only led to success but, more importantly, happiness.
And that could not have been accomplished without bringing up old shit.
There are instances when misdiagnosing the past to understand your present can happen. However, understanding where you’ve been usually helps you understand where you are. It’s the equivalent of showing your work in a complex math equation. Looking back at your steps can often explain how you arrived at the wrong answer.
In grief counseling, my therapist called the final stage of grief the meaning-making stage. It sounded like bullshit until I got there. What does it mean? What does any of it mean? If it has no purpose, then it means you had a shitty life and you will probably continue to have the same. But if it has purpose, then your past will manifest something great. It will be a story of inspiration and not shame. It will be the type of story when people ask, “Why you bringing up old shit?” The reply will be…
“Because my come up is FIRE!!!”
After spending a year in grief counseling, I started to see that my life needed a major overhaul. Yes, my boyfriend died making me the single mom of our infant twins, but I was still grieving my loss of innocence from decades of abuse. I decided to turn my pain into a new purpose and to share this journey with others that may need some motivation.