When Our Emotions Trigger Unpleasant Memories


In previous blogs I shared, the good news is that both boys and men do have a depth of emotions and feelings, but lack the freedom to express or recognize them.  In this blog, we’ll discuss the obstacles or struggles men face with when they discover that emotions often trigger memories.

As I shared previously, feelings and emotional awareness strengthen our ability to connect and communicate with loved ones.  Our feelings and emotions work similar to the collision avoidance systems available on many new vehicles.  To accomplish this, collision avoidance systems use a variety of sensors that are capable of detecting unavoidable obstructions in front of a moving vehicle. Depending on the particular system, it may then issue a warning to the driver or take any number of direct, corrective actions.

Our feelings and emotions are the sensors that enable us to connect, communicate and correct any miscommunication to those we love.   Unfortunately for generations, men have been taught to suppress, deny or ignore or feelings.   Furthermore, a man’s unresolved memories can be a huge hindrance to expressing his feelings or emotions.

The emotions that we’re feeling at this moment often connect us to memories of a past event or relationship when we had similar feelings.  For many men, these emotions trigger unpleasant or unresolved memories that have been relegated to the hallways of our heart.

Memories we’d like to forget like past failures, broken relationships or being deeply wounded by the callousness of someone you trusted too much.  Memories loaded with unpleasant emotions, anger, hurt, guilt, shame, betrayal, and resentment.  Memories tucked away, hoping that we can ignore them by denying that they’ve harmed us.  Memories of things said or done that we’ve never forgiven.  Never forgive others and specifically never forgive ourselves.

Memories that haunt of your heart never go away. They remain right where you left them.  As long as they remain unresolved, the emotions you feel today will always trigger one or two of these unpleasant memories just when you least expect it, often ruining your day or influencing your current relationship.

Consequently, many men continue to suppress or hide their emotions to avoid dealing with their unresolved past.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way.  If we want to be able to recognize, affirm and express our emotions freely, we need to let go of the memories that haunt the hallways of our heart.  We can only do this by letting go of the pain of our past, which I will cover in greater detail in my next blog.

For now know this, forgiving yourself of past mistakes, failures and poor choices is vital to becoming the healthiest man you can be.  You can’t earn forgiveness, but you can choose to grant it.  We discuss this further in future blogs.

I hope today’s blog has encouraged you.  Make sure you sign up to receive blogs posted every Tuesday and Thursday. TransformingFamilies.org resources are designed to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man God created you to be.

I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘rturner@transformingfamilies.org’.  My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.

1 comment on “When Our Emotions Trigger Unpleasant Memories

  1. Luis Romero

    Randy, what an awesome blog entry here. This applies and fits both genders perfectly. Men are not taught to hide their feelings, though. We are taught to handle them in different ways than women. I also know many women in today’s culture (our society had given women the license to exploit their sexuality among other things) who flee from their memories to avoid the feelings of self wretchedness and poor moral decision making of their past. Focusing this on only men overlooks the reality permeating in our society today and exacerbate the evil double standard that puts women above men.

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