Now that someone is an adult, what took place during their formative years could be something that they have more or less forgotten about. If this was a stage of their life that was somewhat nurturing, it could be said that this won’t be a problem.

However, if this stage of their life was anything but nurturing, then this is likely to be a problem. The reason for this is that although they will no longer be a child, it doesn’t mean that what they experienced will be well and truly behind them.

The past is present

How they felt, the thoughts they had and how they perceived reality throughout this stage of their life can continue to be experienced to this day. But, if they don’t remember a great deal about what took place, it won’t be possible for them to see this.

Furthermore, if experiencing life in this way is just what is normal, they might not even be aware of how they experience life. This will just be how their life is and they could do the best that they can to cope.

Day To Day Life

For example, they could often experience fear and anxiety, with this being a time when they find it hard to function. This is something that could primarily arise when they are in social situations.

But, even when they are by themselves, they could often find it hard to feel at ease. Experiencing inner peace is then going to be something that they seldom experience, which means that they are likely to have a very stressful existence.

Stepping Back

If they were able to step back and describe how they experience life, they could end up saying that they typically don’t feel safe. Along with this, they could say that they find it hard to trust others and accept that they won’t be harmed by them.

At this point, if they were to reach out for external support and their early experiences were not taken into account, how they experience life could be seen as being irrational. It could be put forward to them that they live somewhere that is relatively safe and that it is unlikely that another person would harm them.

One Approach

The next step could then be for them to question their ‘irrational’ beliefs and thoughts and replace them with rational beliefs and thoughts. This will be seen as the way for them to gradually change how they experience life.

After going down this route, they may find that they start to settle down and feel more at ease around others; then again, this might not take place. Instead, they could find that how they experience life doesn’t really change or only changes for a short while.

Another Angle

If this approach was put to one side and they were to start to remember parts of what took place during their early years, they may soon see that how they experience life as an adult is nothing more than a continuation of what occurred all those years ago. They could see that a number of the feelings, thoughts and perceptions they experience are very similar to the feelings, thoughts and perceptions they experienced during this time.

But, as they were not aware of this before, they wouldn’t have been able to join the dots, so to speak. After realising this, they could wonder what has been going on and why it has taken them so long to see clearly.

One Part

Firstly, to protect and allow them to keep it together and function, their brain would have automatically repressed the pain and arousal they experienced throughout this stage of their life. This would have meant that they would have consciously forgotten about what took place.

The years would have passed and their physical and mental self would have continued to grow but their emotional self would have stayed frozen in time. So, to say that the past will be behind them will be a half-truth as they will carry the effect of the past inside their brain and body.

Another Part

Secondly, when it comes to why they will project what happened in the past onto present situations, this can be put down to the meaning that their brain made all those years ago. These early experiences would have provided them with an inner model of what the world was like.

So, if they were mistreated by their parent or parents, part or parts of their brain would have formed a number of associations and whenever they end up in a situation that is very similar, their system will automatically respond in the same way. This will be a way for their brain to ensure their survival.

Two Levels

What this illustrates is that it is not purely what is taking place at a conscious level that is defining how they experience life; it is also what is taking place at an unconscious level. At this other, deeper level, part of them is constantly comparing their present with certain experiences in their past, to see how they should respond.

This is something that will take place so quickly that how their whole system responds will be seen as being a reflection of what is taking place externally. They can then have certain feelings and thoughts and perceive what is going on in a certain way and their body can be filled with adrenaline, for instance.

The key

Through remembering what took place and having this understanding, they will be able to see that what is going on for them as an adult is not completely irrational. It can only be seen as being completely irrational if their history is not taken into account.

What this also shows is that their conscious mind is only a very small part of who they are. This part of them, although it might seem to be, is not an independent aspect of them; along with being influenced by the external world, it is influenced by and influences other parts of their being.


If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author's Bio: 

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, inner child and inner awareness. With over two thousand, eight hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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