Why Do We Tell And Re-Tell Our Stories?
By: Kathy
May 27, 2012

Know someone who is constantly telling the ‘stories’ of their life?  Or is it you?  We often tell our stories in great detail, with all of the drama, the exasperation, the angst, as if the offense had just happened!  There’s no problem with relaying things that we experience in our lives, but there’s something else going on when the stories are being told and re-told countless times!  Why would we need to keep replaying the bad scenes of our lives, even years later?

Polling:  We may re-tell our stories to get others to affirm that we have a right to feel hurt by whatever happened.  We may need to ‘poll’ those around us to assure ourselves that our response to the event was appropriate.  We are so unsure of ourselves that we have to have others tell us that we are okay.  When we are finally convinced ourselves that we had a right to be hurt and/or that our response was one that we can live with, we can stop telling the stories!

Stuck in Our Grief:
  Replaying the stories means that we are stuck in our grief about what happened.  The mere process of telling and re-telling the stories keeps the wound alive, however, and we can’t move on from the hurt because we are constantly being re-wounded by it!  At some point, we have to realize that the outcome is not going to change.  When we are ready to accept that it happened, incorporate it into our history, and deal with the grief, we can move on.

Trying to Make It Make Sense:
  Sometimes we are so stunned and knocked off course by someone else’s behavior that we spend a great deal of time trying to make sense of another person’s behavior.  We can’t move on until our brains find a rational explanation for why the person who hurt us did what they did.  What if there IS NO rational reason for what they did?  In their unhealthiness, sometimes people do or say very inexplicable, irrational and immature things.  No amount of reason or logic will make it make sense . . . because there isn’t any sense to it!  When we can learn to accept that the only ‘rational reason’ for another person’s senseless behavior is because they are unhealthy, we can finally free our minds of the task of rationalizing it and move on.

Emotional Cutting:  Re-living our ‘wound inventory’ is a form of emotional cutting!  In this way, we keep reminding ourselves of the hurts of our life – maybe because feeling wounded feels familiar, maybe because being a victim is the only way we know to be loved, or maybe it is a primitive way of protecting ourselves (by keeping the hurts fresh, we are reminded not to allow ourselves to be hurt again.)  Regardless the reason, we are keeping ourselves in a perpetual state of pain!  While someone else may have hurt us, when we realize that we are the ones re-wounding ourselves by it, we can finally stop being hurt by it!

Once we figure out why we need to keep re-telling our stories, we can finally resolve the issues, move forward and make new, positive and more healthy stories!