How to learn to live during the war. Tips from 94-year-old psychologist Edith Eger, who survived Auschwitz
Edith Yeager, a 94-year-old American doctor of psychology who specializes in war trauma, gave some advice on how to learn to live in this terrible time. She survived Auschwitz in her youth, and so all her life she has been analyzing the "victim" and "survivor" narratives from her own experience and teaching other victims about it.
Ukrainians also received some effective advice from her on how to cope with feelings of hatred and hopelessness. Edith Eger told about this in an interview with NV (to see the photo, scroll to the bottom of the page).
Learning to live, not to survive
To get rid of the minute-by-minute anxiety about the future and the feeling of hopelessness that it is impossible to change the past, the psychologist advises to learn lessons from tragic events and focus on the present.
"It is important to get rid of two things, the first is the feeling of guilt about the past. It is important to get rid of the thoughts that things could have been done differently, because nothing can be changed in the past. The second is worrying about the future, we are constantly worrying about the future, about things that may never happen," the commentary says.
Get rid of the feeling of guilt
According to the expert, the past cannot be changed, but it is necessary to learn how to experience it properly and get rid of guilt. To do this, she advises to "let all the emotions that have accumulated inside" through.
"For many years, I have experienced different feelings, and it is important to go through them and give yourself the opportunity to be filled with them-anger, rage, grief. I talk a lot about the triad: "grieving-feeling-healing". In order to grieve, it is important to start feeling, to let your feelings manifest," said Edith Jaeger.
She advised not to position yourself as a victim by asking: "Why me? Why me?" but to focus on the fact that you managed to survive the war or survive during the fighting and ask yourself: "What's next?"
Do not forbid yourself to be happy
Edith Jaeger emphasized that "allowing" yourself to be happy means controlling your life, where you forbid yourself something, and therefore do not fully experience freedom. In addition, limiting yourself to pleasant little things does not help, but only plays into the hands of the enemy, who came to Ukrainian lands for this purpose.
"Answer yourself the question: how does it help you to deny yourself happiness and joy? How does it help those you love and who love you? Love and guilt cannot coexist. Where guilt appears, love disappears. It is important not to kill love and hope in yourself," the psychologist explained.
It's normal to hate, but you can't get stuck in this feeling
The expert, based on her own experience, revealed that feeling rage and hatred during the war is a normal phenomenon that does not need to be "hidden" inside. However, when experiencing negative feelings, it is important not to get stuck in them for a long time.
"It's important to experience feelings and let them come out - to scream, to get mad, to show hatred. But it is important not to get stuck in this manifestation of fierce emotions, because by investing a lot of ourselves in them, we can suddenly distance ourselves from our lives and hide from them in hatred," the message says.
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