Moving Day – Time to Lighten Your Load

There comes a time when carrying around too much stuff becomes unbearable. You’ve dragged other peoples stuff through the joy and the muck of your life because you felt obligated. You’ve believed that if you carried it, they would move on, get out of your way, change. Well, that load gets heavy and as you carry other peoples stuff I am guessing that you have started to realize that you can’t get them out of your way.

It is one thing to carry someone’s stuff – their thoughts, opinions, beliefs and pains. This “stuff” and your choice to pick it up is a part of who you are. It certainly needs to be managed. A big piece of recovery from pathological relationships is learning that you have a choice regarding what you pick up from others. Psychopaths don’t give you a choice. Recovery also means that you understand that the “stuff” he threw at you – his thoughts, opinions, beliefs and pain – are tools he used to manipulate you. As you move through recovery, you learn to drop these and dismiss them as untrue and invalid.

There are a lot of reasons to get rid of his stuff. First and foremost, his stuff is triggering. A lot of women ask me about how long their recovery will take. There are many factors that play into that answer. Unfortunately, the thoughts, opinions, beliefs and pain that he injected into you are deeply rooted. The work on those is long and hard. But one reason that recovery can drag on is because you are triggered by the “things” that he left behind. Because of the way the brain processes a trauma, the things he left behind can be a big part of why you may be struggling to get better.

When trauma happens, when the psychological manipulation takes hold, the pieces of the experiences shatter into your mind in a thousand pieces. Each part of the traumatic experience lands in a place in your mind and it may not be the right place. The random pieces of the memory, like the tree you were sitting near when he proposed and then used your money to buy the ring, becomes a trigger. Trees take on a whole new meaning. You feel anxious when walking by the sofa in the den of your own home because you had sex with him on that sofa after he was missing for three days. These things have been assigned meaning – the sofa, the tree, the ring – all now make you feel a certain way. Often those feelings are uncomfortable and certainly do not match with what those items are. Trees should not make us angry and sofas should not make us anxious. Trauma can do that. It turns ordinary things into sources of discomfort.

The solution is to get rid of the items that are his or that are connected to him. Getting rid of “things” is not the only strategy you should use to ease your trauma symptoms but it can be one in your tool box. If the “thing” is causing you emotional pain and it’s possible to get rid of it, then please do. I invite you to let go of him and his things. Stop trying to carry around what has become too heavy for you.

When your load is lighter, there is room and space for healing. When your brain is not triggered every minute of every day – just from sitting on your own living room couch – your brain can get quiet. A quiet brain is a working brain and healing can take place.

So what will you remove from your home today?

(**If we can support you in your recovery process, please let us know.  The Institute is the largest provider of recovery-based services for survivors of pathological love relationships.  Information about pathological love relationships is in our award-winning book, Women Who Love Psychopaths, and is also available in our retreats, 1:1s, or phone sessions.  See the website for more information).