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  1. #1
    Member kccrush's Avatar
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    Default INFJs: Is Holding Onto the Past for Emotional Sustenance Healthy?

    Hi everyone,
    This is my second post for me on this site, although the theme is the same - love. You were all so helpful the first time, I'm hoping you can shed light on this issue a bit as well. My main question is: Is it essential to let go of the past completely?
    ****
    My situation is that I always think I am over my first-ever true love who I stopped dating four years ago. Even though I've dated a couple of girls and even fallen in love (or pretty close at least) since then, this true love bounces back. Always! She has a starring or cameo role in so many dreams. Then I'll go for a couple of days or weeks thinking about her, how I can reconnect with her, etc. It's pretty pathetic. Particularly since I am almost certain that I will never implement any of this. (When she broke up with me, I was so heartbroken and upset at how she treated me, and I told her never to contact me...she has stopped trying).

    Is it normal for INFJs to push something bad away, but still think about it - even unintentionally in dreams? Ninety percent of me is convinced this is a waste of time (this hoping, this dreaming, this post even...). Yet, is there any value to this brain activity for this person? My friends tell me it's a huge mistake and she has forgotten me a long time ago. (don't friends always say that??)

    I want to do the right thing with my brain, my emotions and my memories. I just seem to be stuck.

    Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
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    There isn't a way to let go of the past completely, what has happened, has happened and it stays with you forever. But what you can do is take action and try to change your attitude and try to learn from the past. Take with you the things that are positive and that won't hold you tied down to the past.

    What comes to the situation with your ex-girlfriend, she broke up with you and most probably the reason why she keeps on lingering in your mind is that there are unresolved issues that you haven't dealt with. Unless you try to figure out what these are and find closure, you will be stuck.

    I don't know about others but yes, I do the pushing away of bad things all the time. Not just with romantic feelings, but with everything. Initial reaction is always to push things away and RUN!!!! But you can't run away from the thoughts. The analyzing process continues whether I want it or not, and yes, it happens unintentionally in dreams as well.

    I do think that this is valuable. This is a way to deal with the feelings, even though it can be very, very frustrating and takes an awful lot of time. Picking things apart and carefully looking at them from multiple angles helps to figure things out and also sort of desensitize to the thoughts and feelings. It's like the brain takes time to organize itself, it's a process of defragmentation if you wish, in order to move on.

    But, as usual, there are dangers involved. If you succumb to this for too long you will get stuck. I've found it best to try to find things to distract my mind. The thoughts are still there, running in my mind, but as the time passes, things sort of settle and they're not that prominent anymore.

    Good luck with everything.

  3. #3
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky is BLUE! View Post
    What comes to the situation with your ex-girlfriend, she broke up with you and most probably the reason why she keeps on lingering in your mind is that there are unresolved issues that you haven't dealt with. Unless you try to figure out what these are and find closure, you will be stuck.

    Is there some value you felt during your experience with her that you’re trying to salvage? A lot of times when I can’t stop thinking about someone- particularly if the actual person wasn’t a positive force in my life- I do a lot of sorting through my memories of the person, trying to discern as specifically as I can what the value was in knowing the person. It’s as though I catch of glimpse of something I think is amazing- either about the interactions I had with the person, or the person him/herself- and I spend a lot of time in the aftermath trying to figure out exactly where that ‘amazing’ impression came from.

    Ni can be so f’ng vague. It’s like we get a tug on our sleeve, and a little voice tells us “there’s something meaningful over there”. And relationships that felt meaningful (at least, while we were in them) always leave us with a kind of junk drawer to sort through. I think INFJs have a sort of addiction to feeling the full ‘meaning’ of a thing, like it’s our raison d’être. But it’s almost kind of like a drug, too. There’s some kind of invisible pull towards that junk drawer (“there’s something meaningful in there”). We might know there’s *something* that feels amazing and priceless in it- which we want to extrapolate and gain a better understanding of- but we can lose sight of the extent to which it might be like looking for a needle in a haystack (overestimating the likelihood we will ever actually be able to isolate the ‘meaning’ we are looking for). So yeah, I think it’s relatively normal for INFJs to get stuck doing this. Like junkies looking for a fix.

    I think, more often than not, this invisible pull is a beneficial thing to have. It just becomes problematic when it pulls us towards something we don't want to be pulled towards and we can't figure out how to make it go away.

    Maybe if you tried consciously making a list of what you liked most about her and/or being with her, then also worked on a clear list of the reasons why you pushed her away, the invisible pull towards thinking about her might diminish.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  4. #4
    Cat Wench ReadingRainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kccrush View Post
    Hi everyone,
    This is my second post for me on this site, although the theme is the same - love. You were all so helpful the first time, I'm hoping you can shed light on this issue a bit as well. My main question is: Is it essential to let go of the past completely?
    ****
    My situation is that I always think I am over my first-ever true love who I stopped dating four years ago. Even though I've dated a couple of girls and even fallen in love (or pretty close at least) since then, this true love bounces back. Always! She has a starring or cameo role in so many dreams. Then I'll go for a couple of days or weeks thinking about her, how I can reconnect with her, etc. It's pretty pathetic. Particularly since I am almost certain that I will never implement any of this. (When she broke up with me, I was so heartbroken and upset at how she treated me, and I told her never to contact me...she has stopped trying).

    Is it normal for INFJs to push something bad away, but still think about it - even unintentionally in dreams? Ninety percent of me is convinced this is a waste of time (this hoping, this dreaming, this post even...). Yet, is there any value to this brain activity for this person? My friends tell me it's a huge mistake and she has forgotten me a long time ago. (don't friends always say that??)

    I want to do the right thing with my brain, my emotions and my memories. I just seem to be stuck.

    Thanks for your input.
    I know this sounds really really stupid at this point and you probably don't want to do it. But if I where you, I'd contact her. If you can't find closure now I'm not sure it's going to get better. Either that or replace replace replace. Find another girl if you think that might work. If your Ni is going off, then by god do SOMETHING. Go out on a date, talk about her a bunch, do some artwork, write some songs,
    Really I know this sounds bad but you might just have to contact her yourself. If she doesn't reply cut your losses and say she wasn't worth it anyways and there is someone better out there, and if she does take it from there. Life is too short to be miserable. You want to talk to her and you know it thats why your mind is all tangled up with details about her. So either take the heat or get out of the kitchen. Start living life by what feels right. Friends be damned. You know what you need to do.
    Of course you could totally disregard all of this. But thats my advice.
    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    St. Stephen took rocks and St. Sebastian took arrows. You only have to take some jerks on an internet forum. Nut up.

  5. #5
    Member kccrush's Avatar
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    Thanks. OK, so I have spent nearly two years in therapy trying to work through this and find a way to stop talking about it, rehashing it, reliving it, etc. What normally helps stave it off is to think about the horrible things that happened at the end. Then I'm like, wow, what am I doing romanticizing this. But those horrible things were 10 percent compared to 90 percent of greatness. Nonetheless, I could try to make a list and readdress some of the salient points (pros/cons) about her/us and see where that gets me.

    Speaking directly to Rainbows though. Your suggestion, trust me, I flirt with it. But have you ever created a roadblock inside of yourself and said "I will never cross this roadblock?" I did that when I promised myself I would never contact her. Is giving up on that roadblock just to have closure a bad thing? How do you reconcile a promise to yourself like that? At the time I was dieing, (very dramatic word, but let's say I was miserable) so that roadblock was my buoy. I'd love your thoughts on how you address these self-imposed limits and rules that you think are helping bolster you, but might acutally be limiting you.

  6. #6
    Cat Wench ReadingRainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kccrush View Post
    Thanks. OK, so I have spent nearly two years in therapy trying to work through this and find a way to stop talking about it, rehashing it, reliving it, etc. What normally helps stave it off is to think about the horrible things that happened at the end. Then I'm like, wow, what am I doing romanticizing this. But those horrible things were 10 percent compared to 90 percent of greatness. Nonetheless, I could try to make a list and readdress some of the salient points (pros/cons) about her/us and see where that gets me.

    Speaking directly to Rainbows though. Your suggestion, trust me, I flirt with it. But have you ever created a roadblock inside of yourself and said "I will never cross this roadblock?" I did that when I promised myself I would never contact her. Is giving up on that roadblock just to have closure a bad thing? How do you reconcile a promise to yourself like that? At the time I was dieing, (very dramatic word, but let's say I was miserable) so that roadblock was my buoy. I'd love your thoughts on how you address these self-imposed limits and rules that you think are helping bolster you, but might acutally be limiting you.
    Fuck the Limits. Why did you set them in the first place? Did you set them out of fear or out of concern for your own mental health? Do you see your doorway out of this problem or does it send you other places? I've been on the emotional death bed before and got off once I decided to. I believe that people know what they have to do long before they admit it to themselves.
    Are you battling what you want vs what you have been told to do? What are the pros and cons of the situation? The only promise I made to myself was that I would not commit suicide. That is the only promise I have made to myself and it will be the only one I make to myself. Why two years of therapy? I accept who I am how I am most of the time. Everyone has inner demons that they deal with on a daily basis. You get up and put one foot in front of the other and repeat. I say to myself quite frequently "I will live and thrive, My dreams are within reach, I will forgive because I want to be forgiven, and I will not let my pain own me" It's an affrimation. Sometimes I slip up but I keep going forward. If I stagnate I will not do well. Hope that helps. Feel free to contact me further though
    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    St. Stephen took rocks and St. Sebastian took arrows. You only have to take some jerks on an internet forum. Nut up.

  7. #7
    Member Shaggy's Avatar
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    I understand what you are going through. I believe the limits you're creating or containing is preventing you from getting hurt again. It's like avoiding your fears of letting yourself go which would leave open to be hurt once again. After I got hurt from my first true relationship, I was really damaged for quite sometime. After a while I realized I would rather love and be hurt than never love at all. Life is to short to close yourself in a box.

    In the movie Forest Gump, Jenny saw her old house that was full of bad memories. Once she saw it, She ran torwards throwing her shoes and rocks at that old house and then preceeding to breakdown and cry in the driveway. I do believe you need to gain closure in the situation, so you can progress as an individual and with the relationships in your life.

    You've been burned and you do not want to be burned again, I understand that. The next time you get burned, you'll experience in a different light. You've been down that road before, but there is no shame in that. Face your fears. Trust your Intuition, It will lead you away from repeating the past as well as open your eyes to the opportunities right in front of you.

    There is only one of you in this world. You have things to offer that nobody else does. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. You will love again, and you'll be hurt from time to time. Roll with the punchs and you'll come out victorious. Every winner needs to learn how to lose.

    By the way, After my first love I proceeding with two other long term relationships that didn't work out. The next relationship I had, never ended as we'll be celebrating our first year anniversary within a month. I never been happier. I hope you find the strength to proceed, so you can experience all that this world has to offer.

  8. #8
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    Z Buck asks a good question regarding what (if any) value from the relationship you are trying to salvage. In the past, I would get stuck on the good things I saw in a person and excuse all of their other behavior. Maybe it's not her per se, but something she made you feel that you're missing? After a while, it started to really sink in that just because there were a few good moments, doesn't mean it was worth all the other pain.

    I was in a ltr for 8 years - always going back to the guy. Then a light went off and I was over it. I realized how much his values differed from mine and that was all it took. Love is blind and, although it's easy for me to see through most people's bullshit, it was hard to see it in him. Once I did, I no longer wanted ANYTHING to do with him. I will occasionally think about the fun moments, but it's never followed with the desire to be with him again. That is not even an issue. I have just truly moved on and don't speak with him anymore.

    I would have to disagree with Rainbows advice to contact her. You have to ask yourself, "What am I trying to get out of contacting her?" If it's closure, I doubt you'll find it that way. You can play out how it will go down in your head and I can almost guarantee you'll either be let down or even more confused. These are feelings you have to deal with and dealing with them on your own terms will make you stronger. Make a point to focus on yourself and live life. That is all you have control over. Get rid of things that remind you of her and remember that you're better than that. There are a lot of people out there and you only need one. She wasn't it. Relationships aren't always easy, but if she was the one for you, you wouldn't be in pain. But that's just from my experience. Things do get better with time.

  9. #9
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kccrush View Post
    Thanks. OK, so I have spent nearly two years in therapy trying to work through this and find a way to stop talking about it, rehashing it, reliving it, etc. What normally helps stave it off is to think about the horrible things that happened at the end. Then I'm like, wow, what am I doing romanticizing this. But those horrible things were 10 percent compared to 90 percent of greatness.
    You know, it's all well and good that YOU consider the relationship 90% greatness, but SHE'S the one who broke up with you!! Obviously she didn't have the same view/perspective on it. For her it very well may have been 60% bad, 40% great. So, the Relationship-The Entity as a whole - was clearly not the 90% greatness that you are still attributing to it.

    I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but if you're still allowing this to consume you several years after the fact, I just think you need a little bit of a reality check.

    We all go through heartache, and I'm not at all saying it's easy or that these deep loves are quick to recover from. But that's why relationships are so difficult - until you, in theory, meet the right person and all of it works out, all of those prior relationships are going to consist of peoples' %'s not lining up, and each having different perspectives on how all of it went.

    I'm only saying all of this because it seems a shame that you're still living in the past and unable to reach towards the future. I wish you all the best, and I hope you're able to let it go.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  10. #10
    Member kccrush's Avatar
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    Thanks for everyone's input. This thing is what my friends call my "comfort zone" - or a place I visit when I need to cope with other romances not going well or when there are no romances at all. This person has tried to contact me over the years to ask for forgiveness, but my pride and my own promises to myself to live without her have always made me tell her to leave me alone or have made me simply ignore her. I mention this only because I am committed to not contacting her - but this commitment to silence hasn't necessarily silenced thoughts in my head. Sometimes I think that I'll just be dealing with this until like mist she is completely gone from me. Sort of like Why Not said about having the light go off eight years later

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