There is something called disassociation, when something is so painful you put it away in a drawer at the back of your mind and let it stay there, hidden. Sometimes it’s forgotten, but the day always comes when it returns and you need to tuck it back in with all its consequences, or deal with it. It’s your choice.
I’ve tucked away plenty of things and when they resurface, I flinch and then turn away from it and focus with all my might on something else. This works for me. I cannot erase anything completely, but I have developed a mechanism that allows me to automatically disassociate. It didn’t take practice; it was just a way I learnt to cope early on as a natural survival defense mechanism.
Disassociation in the mildest form may be an advantage. You get to live free from what has troubled you even if it’s there imbedded deep in your brain.
However, some people cannot disassociate, and suffer immeasurably without reprieve reliving their traumatic pasts. Others suffer the consequences of disassociation, not knowing what leads them to feel and act in harmful ways. This is the best time to seek a psychiatrist’s help. Bringing your troubles to light openly will help you grieve, feel and learn to move on. Mad men’s character, Donald Draper is a good example of someone who slowly starts to remember his traumatic childhood, which is troubling and affecting his present life.
If you believe you disassociate, ask yourself if this is something you can manage on your own, or if it is something worth looking into with a professional. If you are suffering, this might be a time to consider other options to heal yourself. There is always hope and help to be had.