40 years old, feel stuck in my 20s!

I had a interesting client the other day who, at 40, described herself as looking, acting, and feeling like she was still in her 20s.,  Now some of us might think, what's wrong with that?  Except she actually felt stuck at this earlier life stage, and it was getting in the way of her settling down with career direction and more enduring relationships which she desired at this point in her life.  The client also shared that she had felt a low level depression most of her life.

As we entered the regression, we asked for a prior life experience relating to this "stuck in my 20s" dynamic, and she found herself recalling a life in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the mid-1800s.  She was a young, handsome, single "gentleman," gainfully employed by a shipping company in an office position, and living the high life.  In fact the initial scene we stepped into, he described feeling exhausted and then realized it was because he was pretty hung over from partying the night before.  He had a robust group of friends with whom he would spend many evenings drinking and smoking and enjoying themselves.  He described himself as really loving his footloose and fancy free lifestyle.  In his late 20s, he just wasn't ready to settle down quite yet.  

Unexpectedly, he gets caught on the street in the midst of a shipyard worker uprising outside of his place of business.  In the ensuing riot, he is inadvertently but fatally shot.  His final thoughts are, "I'm not ready to go; not now, not yet.  Let me enjoy one more breath. I just wanted to enjoy a little bit longer...it's not fair."

In processing this life experience the client shared that the "footloose and fancy free" feeling was quite familiar.  "But somehow his version was better," she explained.  "It's as if I've been trying to recreate his life, but it doesn't fit, it's out of context with who I am, with the here and now."  She also said she often had the experience of just reveling in breathing.  When she had traveled in Russia many years prior, she found that she felt very comfortable and at ease there.

We were able to understand her current stuckness as the unfinished business of the prior personality.  He really was enjoying that stage of his life, and wasn't ready to settle down yet.  By hearing his story and allowing him to give voice to his desires and regrets, we worked to free the client from the unconscious need to complete for the prior personality.  I suspect that her depression may also have been related to the disappointment with which the prior personality met death, so asked her to be aware if those symptoms also released as she moved forward.



Ann Barham LMFTComment