General Question

Blackberry's avatar

I understand venting or talking about your problems helps, but is there really a point when it's stuff from the past?

Asked by Blackberry (30974points) June 21st, 2014

Like, is there a statute of limitations on talking about your feelings?

I guess it would be good to vent but all the listener can really give you are platitudes of time healing wounds or something.

What do you think?

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21 Answers

janbb's avatar

I had to work out a lot or trauma from my childhood before I could understand why I was reacting in certain ways in the present. Good talk therapy definitely helped me.

dabbler's avatar

No statute of limitations whatsoever. If you have not processed deep feelings from the past it can be done in a healing way. For example see Primal Therapy.

Various re-birthing practices start with clearing disturbed feelings before proceeding into past lives.

Scientology has a practice called ‘clearing’ that alleges to desensitize trauma.

johnpowell's avatar

There is a difference between sitting around and wishing you had behaved differently (not helpful) and thinking about why you behaved the way you did and thinking out how you were put into that position in the first place (helpful).

marinelife's avatar

I think sharing your feelings with friends can help you process information and think about what happened. One good rule of thumb I have heard is to share about something no more than three times (lest it become obsessing).

I think sharing your feelings with a good therapist can be very helpful in understanding why you react to certain situations or feelings, or why you have certain patterns in relationships.

Coloma's avatar

I have done work over the years on some past baggae, long gone and fully understood now, but yes, doing self awareness work is good, being stuck in the past without a clue is not. haha
I’m a future oriented type and have more of an issue, if you want to call it that, with my imagination running wild about future stuff. lol

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“It is not that the superior man is without problems. But it is no problem for him if others do not know about them”.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I think you’re right @Blackberry You should deal with the problem immediately and then let it go. Re-living it can sometimes worsen things.

zenvelo's avatar

It’s more a matter of whether or not you are rehashing them or whether you are working through them.

Sometimes we find ourselves having the same old behavior, and working through what went on in our past that has us going through it again. That’s not repeating oneself directly, but it is beneficial to go back once again and see why we’re doing something that is not beneficial.

gailcalled's avatar

A good therapist does not spout platitudes but listens carefully and without judgment so that you can, with some guidance and nudging, understand why you did things. Somtimes this bears revisiting. Often it takes some time to sort it all out.

If issues are still eating away at you, then you should take another look at them.

pleiades's avatar

I personally think it looks desperate. Like some last ditch attempt to try and convince someone something they are not currently feeling…

JLeslie's avatar

There are conflicting viewpoints on it. I think it has to do partly with the articulate individual, and probably a balance of the two methods of talking things through and putting it behind you is the solution and the balance for everyone is different.

There were some studies done of Holocaust survivors and who fared best and how they handled coping after the events. Many of them did very well moving forward and not dwelling on the past. Not reciting the past over and over.

Fairly recently regarding PTSD the research is showing if you can get to the person quickly after a traumatic event and not have them review everything in detail it’s better. The belief now is letting details blur in the memory prevents very bad ongoing trauma. The connection of the event in the brain to emotional reactions is not as deeply etched. It doesnt mean people can not talk if they need to though. They even sometimes recommend prescribing drugs that interfere with memory. The therapy much after the events is slightly different. I think there are still conflicting views on it and someof these therapies are in their infancy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is very much about taking action, while traditional psychotherapy delves into the past. Some patient’s respond better to one than the other. Sometimes CBH is shown to work much much better for certain problems. A combination of the two is often used by good therapists.

I personally think what happens in childhood often significantly affects how we handle our life as adults, and if something is a pattern, it behooves the person to figure out where the pattern is coming from, so that takes some looking back.

In terms of friends, many of them get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again and will want you to feel better fast after something bad occurs. In some ways I think shrinks are there for you when you don’t want to burden your friends anymore with hearing your sorrows. In other ways they are trained professionals and can help guide you to feeling better and moving forward.

The genders tend to be different. Most men seem to need less talking out loud than women. I think some of that is environment influences and not innate, but some probably is innate, and so sometimes men don’t talk enough when they should be. They don’t process grief or don’t face what has happened fully and work through the feelings. That can be counterproductive in the long run.

Basically, the answer I want to give is—it depends. Also, I want to say that a good friend listens for the fourth time while their close friend tells the same upsetting story and shows understanding for the stress their friend is going through. If they are having trouble moving forward then maybe suggest they see a therapist, but being there for them is being a good friend.

cazzie's avatar

No one can or should tell you how to feel. Your feelings are your feelings. If you are still in pain over something that happened a long time ago, then you are still in pain. If a friend or acquaintance decides that they are tired of hearing about a certain subject, then that person should just say so, but they should understand that, what ever their personal opinion of it is, they should not pass judgement. (I’m a horrible person and I do this all the time to people and I should know better, its hurtful and unfair, not to mention very hypocritical of me.) As a friend, one can just agree certain topics are ‘off the table’ for the preservation of the friendship. You are a friend, not a therapist. If someone can share something so personal with me about something in their past that has shaped them into who they are now, I consider that they are comfortable enough with me and these things help me understand my friends better (and vice versa). If I feel that they are hung up on a certain topic or that I think it is holding them back, emotionally, I should say as much. My usual phrase is, ‘You need to deal with that.’ but we all get hung up on things and we all need people to listen sometimes. Friends as sounding boards for the age old, ‘Hey, this happened and this is how it made me feel. What do you think?’ is essential for us. It took me a really long time to work that out. I mean, really, isn’t that why we ask some (or most) of the questions here on Fluther?

gailcalled's avatar

For a few subjects, among my family and good friends, we joke that we allow ourselves five minutes of venting (or whining, depending on one’s mood) and then move on to sports or recipes.

Pachy's avatar

Shakespeare said (in The Tempest), “What is past is prologue,” which means that our past influences and sets the context for our present.
YES, it can be highly instructive to talk about the events and problems of our past to help us better understand who we are now and why we do what we do (or don’t do).

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie I agree, however, sometimes, one does have to out distance between themselves and somebody that is not working towards resolution of things. I dropped a friend a few years ago, for many reasons, primarily her passive aggressive and manipulative behaviors that she had zero interest in examining, but also because, it was going on year 4 of her troubled marriage crisis.
Her husband had had several affairs and she refuted therapy, refused to take any responsibility for her stuff and, seriously, all she was interested in was rehashing what a saint and victim she while demonizing her husband.
I became clear, she had no intention of leaving, or doing anything to heal and work through the issues, just complaining until I wanted to rip my hair out. haha

It’s one thing to be a supportive friend and entirely another to allow someone else to effect you to the point in unhealthiness.

mazingerz88's avatar

Personally, yes. Much too much stuff from the past. Already know exactly what had to be learned but I find myself mouthing it off from time to time and I feel it’s such a waste of energy. How to stop-? Dunno.

Adagio's avatar

My response to the question ties in with what @gailcalled said, when someone is verbally rehashing a problematic issue the listener does not need to provide answers and certainly not platitudes. Humans, especially men it would seem (sorry guys, I’m generalising) often feel a strong need to provide answers and work everything out but a listening ear alone is extraordinarily valuable. Sometimes talking/repeating over and over again is sufficient enough for a person to work through problems in their life, on the other hand sometimes professional help is needed.

Bill1939's avatar

I doubt how much value can be obtained by merely sharing past experiences with friends. However, sharing them with a professional who will not be judgmental and can assist one with uncovering those events that are negatively effecting their lives is of great value.

I believe that one can begin to understand painful past events by understanding the reality that existed for those who caused them. When one can see what motivated others to act in ways that left unresolved feelings of disappointment, resentment and anger, essentially redefining their experiences in broader terms, one will be freed from unconsciously motivated behavior inappropriate for the moment that triggered them.

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma I agree, it can go on too long. I think a lot of time people tend to have unrealistic time frames, especially younger people for how long is normal though. Also, some people want their friends or family to snap out of it, because they are uncomfortable watching the person in pain, it is a selfish act sometimes to tell the person they need to feel better faster. We just need to be reasonable about grief I think, and often venting can be associated with grief. In terms of just indecision and rheuminating about things, that can quickly become too excessive, I do it too much I think, but not so much it stops me from enjoying myself or moving in a general forward direction. I think it is partly personality type.

SnoopyGirl's avatar

I think talking out your problem with someone you trust is important. I know for me as a woman, I like to just be heard. I usually figure out what I need to do next by sharing my problem. I also feel a therapist is a good person to talk to. Sometimes you just don’t feel comfortable sharing person thoughts. A therapist can also guide you with ways to let go of painful situations. I’m all for therapy and forgiving and then releasing the pain for ever!

sydsydrox's avatar

I guess it only matters if problems from the past come back to bite you on the rear end. If it doesn’t matter, then it doesn’t matter.

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