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"Healing the Past. . .In the Present"
Susie and Otto Collins 

Has this ever happened to you? Somebody says something to you that immediately triggers negativity within you. You don't have a clue why you are so upset and you wonder just where that feeling came from.

Tony Robbins would call this a "negative anchor"-- something that is said or something that is experienced that you associate with a previous negative event. Peter Levine refers to this as trauma being held in the body. Whatever you want to call it, the event and feelings surrounding the event, rear their ugly heads again and again until you are able to heal the original situation.

This weekend, we were with Susie's extended family of 14 people, ages 1 year to 79 years. The living room was crowded as we watched the NCAA basketball game. There wasn't a chair for Otto as he stood in the doorway watching the game. Several family members offered to make room for him but he declined. As they continued to insist that he sit down, he became agitated.

It took him a few hours but he realized that his agitation came from previous situations with his ex-wife when she would say to him, "Please sit down! You're driving me crazy!" His agitation was from the trauma of the past.

The agitation from the present situation fired off a negative anchor within him that instantly took him back to a time in a previous relationship that needed to be healed. At that moment he pulled out the baggage from his previous unhealed relationship but had the awareness to realize that his present negativity had nothing to do with the people in the room and the present moment. He was able to let those old feelings go and live in the present moment, enjoying the game and the people in the room. 

This situation is what Stephen Covey talks about when he says, "Old resentments never die. They just get buried alive and come up later in uglier ways." The resentments we hold which are not resolved usually manifest themselves again in other relationships which have nothing to do with the original trauma.

We suggest that the first step in healing these past resentments is to stop yourself when you first feel it and examine where the negativity is coming from. The first step to creating any change is awareness. Go back in your mind to your previous relationships--where did this feeling come from, who was there and what was the situation? It's very important to differentiate what happened in the past from what's happening now.

Ultimately, you will want to work on forgiving that person and honoring how that experience created who you are today. Only after you are able to release the past, can you experience the emotional freedom that we all desire.

Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books on relationships, including "Should You Stay or Should You Go?" "No More Jealousy" "Creating Relationship Trust" "Communication Magic" and "Attracting Your Perfect Partner." In addition to having a great relationship, they regularly write, speak and conduct seminars on love, relationships and personal growth. To read more free articles like this or to sign up for their free online relationship tips newsletter visit or

Susie and Otto Collins
P.O. Box 14544
Columbus, Ohio 43214
(614) 459-8121

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