Bad Memories: How To ACT Them Out

They Will Come

Sitting at home alone, tapping away at the several devices that surrounded me, television playing in the background as often happens on a Sunday morning. Lonely is not something that I ever am. In fact, my own company is the one that is most preferable to me. My daughter often teases me about being single for so long, living alone for years now and how will that impact my ever entering another live-together relationship.

She is more concerned whether as the years pass will my memories and whatever gadgets that I have be my only daily companion. How will the bad memories affect me? From time to time, she shyly raises questions about some of those memories and is usually surprised by my answer.

Releasing Bad Memories

By now, regular readers know that learning to let go and actually doing so, is a big issue on this blog. So important it is to me that we have a page dedicated to tips, guides, and conversations about letting go. Bad memories are something that most people would love to let go, free themselves of and be done with them. The mind, however, particularly the sub-conscious mind does not erase bad memories that easily. It actually stores every memory without labelling them. We are the ones that do that – add labels such as “bad memories,” “awesome day,” “could have been better situation,” etc.

bad memories
Release and surrender

Ironically, letting go is not what I do when it comes to bad memories. Not at first and not with a fight.

For years the memories and the hurt associated with them caused me much angst, brought out the most aggressive parts of my nature and ruined many relationships. Over time and with aging (I prefer “maturing”), I have come to realize one truth – what you focus on persist, grows larger and takes up more space in your day.

Depression And Bad Memories

Months ago, I shared a frightening statistic with you – the numbers of people in the world who are suffering from depression – 350,000,000 people worldwide. As I sat, alone, doing what comes naturally to me which is writing and improving the experience you have on this blog, a human interest story was on the television. The growing numbers of senior citizens here in Canada suffering from depression and the treatment being offered by one programme to support them. Other sufferers of depression have put forward medical marijuana as a recommendation to help people with mental illnesses live more comfortably with their disorders by trying to combat the symptoms and relax them. Purchasing from a canada cannabis dispensary, or somewhere more local, is a good idea to ensure that you have a better chance of the cannabis helping you. However, make sure whatever you choose to do works for you.

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Funnily, a couple of weeks before, there was a similar programme on dementia and Alzheimer and what another facility was doing to support their residents. By creating memory lanes, having entertainment and even providing food from the 1950’s, this latter facility was helping clients relieve memories. It is their way of helping them cope and not fall into depression.

Still years away from being committed or admitted to a seniors’ residence, as I sat watching these documentaries my thoughts went to how do I really deal with bad memories?

My daughter was at first surprised when she heard what best serves me when it comes to bad memories – not letting them go. Unlike the residents in the home where “back in the day” entertainment and cars, among other things, are part of the setting, when it comes to all my memories I sit with them. Those that bring a smile to my face are very special and usually make my moment, or longer, so much sweeter.

The A.C.T. Approach Β©

However, the bad memories are some of my best acting instructors. What do I mean by that? Do I get into role-playing when bad memories visit with me?

bad memories
Depression is an epidemic

Many people fall into depression – 350,000,000 of them – with certain memories. Their minds will not release them and truth be told, it will not. After years of “faking it” when it comes to the most hurtful memories of mine, and failing to “make it,” or get to a place of peace with bad memories, I came up with a new strategy. It is one that I am sharing with you – not to replace any psychological treatment you might be benefitting from or that you are actually receiving. My strategy is meant to support you, especially on those Sunday afternoons when, sitting alone at home as I was, and bad memories come take the seat next to you.

It is a fairly simple strategy and one that I have named the A.C.T. Approach Β© as it does need some acting on your part. Not faking but actively erasing the mind’s tape when it comes to bad memories.

The A.C.T. Approach

Here are the steps when the mind replays the tapes of things that lead you into feeling sorry for yourself, depressed and anxious about life. Feel free to download and print or share:

Assess – your role, your reactions and your responses in the drama, situation and challenge that this memory has brought back up. Instead of running from the memory or trying to block it, hit the replay button. Loop it as you assess your R’s (role, reaction, response) in every part of the drama. Do so without judgement – that is key – just with a desire to understand once and for all.

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Clarify – this is something that many either have no time or patience to do. Ignorance is not bliss – it is ignorant and that does not help to erase bad memories. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what really happened. There are three sides to every story: His/Her’s, Yours and the Truth. Read every side.

Turn – the table or the tide on the story. Write a new script. In this new script, create a role for “The Best You.” Drop the ‘players’ from the script and include co-creators of the best version of you instead. Leave room for God/Source or if you prefer, “the magic” to happen. What is most important, do not end this new story. There is no ending to life. “To Be Continued” is how you will close this chapter.

Yesterday, Contributor Clara Brown shared her understanding and experience with emptiness. This is one way that I have learned to deal with bad memories that would leave me empty, wasted on an emotional heap that I no longer wish to climb. If that is where you are – lying on top of that heap in pieces – then please make contact with me and let us together A.C.T.

Subscribe and receive one email update each day when we post an article, as well as my monthly newsletter and affirmation poster. Follow me on Twitter as well as Like on Facebook and see posts on this topic and many others throughout the day. There are so many hurting people in our world, many who are embarrassed or do not know where to reach out for support. Why not share this article and our blog with them? What we can promise is a listening ear and pointers to where they can get professional help if that is needed. [tweetthis]This is a great article on emptiness that you ought to read now![/tweetthis]

Thank you and be sure to watch last week’s Tuesday Thought and the new one later today on Facebook. Also, grab your copy of my FREE E-Book – “Before The Year Ends” and let us use the last weeks of 2015 to prepare for the best year ever, 2016! Get it today!


Claudette P. Esterine



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42 thoughts on “Bad Memories: How To ACT Them Out

  1. I love how much you offer guidance with easy to follow ideas. Thanks for spreading healing – we all need that πŸ˜€

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you on all counts Rocio! Thank you. πŸ™‚

  2. It’s such an interesting idea to try to put a new memory over the top of the old ones. I may try that!

    1. Ms Claudette

      It is all about focus – looking more at what we want. what makes us smile rather than at what doesn’t! πŸ™‚

  3. […] this tool, I am a fan of it and use it when words that hurt or words lacking in comfort arise. Check out the post and download the tool – it is FREE.Β  Share it with a friend anywhere on social media or […]

  4. I don’t have to think about bad memories or try to assess the damage that can be done to my psyche.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Good for you! That is a wonderful place to be. Namaste.

  5. I really like the ACT approach. We struggle a lot with regression and bad memories. I hope to continue to make good memories with my wife and kids in the future.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you Jonathan! I hope to continue with you and your family as well! πŸ™‚

  6. Bad memories have a way of creeping in at the right/wrong time. In the past, I would try to stuff them away and not deal with them. I have learned the best way to deal with these situations for me is to journal about it and then at times you may find me lighting a match to the writing and letting it go. It works for me and so freeing.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, I do that as well – lighting/burning stuff that I need to release. The fire is cathartic. Thanks for sharing that. πŸ™‚

  7. It’s hard to forget bad memories, but it’s either we let go and move on or be stuck.

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are absolutely right! πŸ™‚

  8. I think I have an unconscious way of blocking out a lot of my bad memories (none of which are THAT bad). I find when I try to remember something about them I have often forgotten a lot about it!

    1. Ms Claudette

      that is awesome! Would that more people could say that! πŸ™‚ Have a great day! πŸ™‚

  9. dltolley

    I think of my mom. She never spoke about anything to do with her or what she was feeling deep down. How she would have benefited from this!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Awww…that is such an honour you have given me! We all need a little help or great help in one or two areas of our lives. Would that we would get/receive it. Namaste. πŸ™‚

  10. This is so important! I love this method of dealing with bad memories. They have a way of creeping back into your existence and causing havoc.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, they are sneaky like that. You have to be stealth with them. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  11. Depression + Bad Memories = unhappy life ;( but so many of us struggle to forget the past

    1. Ms Claudette

      You calculation is spot on! πŸ™‚

  12. I have never though about doing this with bad memories. I will have to try it. Thanks so much!

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are most welcome! πŸ™‚

  13. Bad memories I have those. I guess that is why I’m always at stress. But sad to say, I really wonder if I can move on and just forget about it.

    1. Ms Claudette

      We all do Sargas and yes, the stress that you are experiencing is not surprising. Yes, you can move on. Forget it, maybe not, not completely but you can forgive and thereby pulling yourself away from the grip that binds you in the stress. Is it easy? Nope. But is it a wonderful feeling as you feel those tentacles loosening? Absolutely. Much love my brother, much love and I hope you try the tool. Namaste. πŸ™‚

  14. These are excellent strategies for conquering bad memories.

  15. This is a great way of looking at things and I think we all eventually need to deal with some sort of bad memories so thanks for this!

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are most welcome and yes, we all have to or will have to deal with bad memories at some point. Thanks for the visit! πŸ™‚

  16. What a powerful post and so very helpful indeed! I do “role play” with bad memories for me it is part of a healing process because I can say what I never did before! Then I can release it.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I role-play a lot with my team members, especially new ones. I think I am more comfortable with doing so now that I have had so much practice chatting with the ghosts in my memories – like you do Joely! LOL

  17. Elizabeth O.

    What a nice message. How you view the past or past experiences depend on your mind set as well. It’s up to you on how you move on from it, should you decide to move on. I think people who live in the past continue to have a bad outlook for their future. It’s really easier to let go and move on.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Easier said than done though Elizabeth – it takes a lot of patience and practice and a real desire to be free. Thank you for your words of encouragement! πŸ™‚

  18. Ah-bad memories-I have quite a few-but I use them as learning experiences-But lets face it I still prefer the happy memories!

    1. Ms Claudette

      We all would prefer happy memories! LOL But the bad ones taught/teach us some much if we could only pay attention! πŸ™‚

  19. the part that touched me the most was the 50’s remembrance for the senior citizens omg that is just too precious

    1. Ms Claudette

      I wish I could find the link…should have written it down. Yes, there was one woman even nursing a doll like her long-lost child. That’s where some experts were questioning the method. I loved it anyhow.

  20. I like the good memories but the bad keep coming up to. I strive to make good memories for my kids.

    1. And they will. That’s why I have this approach. Take it for a test run and let me know.

  21. It is so hard to let go of bad memories but we must in order to preserve our future.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, it is hard but yes, as you said, we must if we are to (1) maintain/recover our sanity and (2) continue to live a productive life as we determine that to be. Much love and blessings to you Ana! πŸ™‚

  22. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    I have plenty of bad memories. This sounds like a good strategy!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Let me know if it helps! πŸ™‚

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