Whenever I hear a suffering client say "oh it's all just my fate", I know we have challenging work ahead. Yes, it's not uncommon for people to relive their traumatic past (e.g. abused daughter marrying an abusive husband), and it's certainly tempting to believe it's due to a mysterious higher power (fate) since it provides an unquestionable explanation for all the suffering. But this relief comes with a steep price-as long as you believe the vicious cycle is your fate, you live in it forever. Numerous times in therapy, I, as either the client or the therapist, experienced the power of unveiling the unconscious. There are many choices we make automatically in life, and becoming aware of what drives us to make these choices makes it possible to choose again. The abused person would never truly know s/he has a choice of not suffering in an intimate relationship until s/he realizes which part of their unconscious drives them to repeatedly choose pain. How to make the unconscious conscious? The best way is to work with a therapist with whom you truly connect. If you want to do it alone for now, pay attention to two things: 1) your memorable or recurring dreams (see my previous post for dreamwork); 2) any time you feel a strong, lasting emotion (e.g. anger, sadness, frustration, shame, contempt). Dreams and emotions are the two things that connect directly to your core self. Use them! * * Follow me on Instagram @therapywithyiwen for tips to get along better with yourself and everyone else.