The Past

If you don’t go back to find out what effect your past is having on your present you will forever live out your present as if it is still your past. That is why therapists often need to have their clients talk about the past.

For example, if a little girl grows up without feeling that her daddy loves her, and going into adulthood she never realizes that a past wound is affecting her current choices, she will continue to make bad choices from those past wounds. She will find herself, in fact, forever trying to find what she could not find as a child, and she will likely be willing to compromise herself in tragic ways in order to find it. Of course each mistake will leave her more empty and desperate, leading to bigger and bigger mistakes.

Many times people complain “I don’t want to talk about the past, what does the past have to do with right now!” Of course that is exactly right. The past does not need to have any impact on the choices we make today. The problem is that many people have not resolved their past and they are making choices in the present moment that come out of emotional spaces created many years earlier.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana

On a personal level, it is not enough to just remember facts and details. One has to see the connection between past circumstances and present choices. Only when a person becomes aware of that connection will they be able to see the repetitive and toxic pattern they are locked in. The good news is, once awareness comes, freedom is very near. The tricks our minds play on us only work under cover of darkness. They cannot stand up to truth and once the light of truth is shown on them, they immediately begin losing their power.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. A request for me to defend some of my comments does not obligate me to do so.

  • Jan

    I grew up with a very abusive father. I could do nothing to please him. But, God protected me from making bad choices. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior at age 5. At that time, I did not think anyone loved me, but I knew Jesus did. I sang myself to sleep each night – “Jesus loves me this I know.” When I was in my 30’s, I began having panic attacks. I went for counseling and began remembering events that I had blocked for all those years. Now, I have no regrets nor would I change anything about my childhood. God placed me in that family for a reason and allowed me to experience abuse for a reason. As a result, I have been able to reach out to other abused women and children, and to help them seek the help they need or to escape the abuse. I never did drugs or alcohol, as many do, to hide the pain. I also chose, at an early age, to never marry anyone who was abusive. God gave me a wonderful husband. He never yelled at me or hit me. I never knew him to be angry with me. Not that I was perfect or did not deserve it. Why I did not make bad choices is only because of God’s grace and mercy. This is a good article. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for reading and especially for commenting, Jan. What a story! I’m so glad you were somehow able to escape the cycle of dysfunction. I see many clients who have tried to make similar choices but somehow end up choosing husbands who become addicts and/or abuse years into the marriage. It’s amazing how that often happens. Your story is amazing. Please read and comment any time.

  • steve

    Nice post. Succinct and helpful.

  • Irma

    Oh my gosh, I wish you would quit writing posts about my life 🙂

    Direct truths from you, yet again, and I appreciate it very much.

    • I aspire to continue writing posts about your life and about everyone’s life, Irma. 🙂 That tells me I’m right on target!