The famous saying by Edmund Burke is that those who don't know history are destined to repeat it. Well, the same goes for our personal history. If we don't know our personal history, we are destined to repeat it. And if our history has issues like most of us, we're going to cause our own future issues. We all need to recover from something. We can recover from our past and change our future by facing our history. Maya Angelou said that history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. So how do you face your history to not repeat it?


Most of us were not raised in the Beaver Cleaver family. John Bradshaw, a pioneer in recovery, says that 100% of all families are dysfunctional on some level. Pia Mellody, a pioneer in codependency recovery, says that anything less than nurturing parenting is abuse. Our childhood years are our most developmental.  As children, we have developmental needs that need to be met. We have physical, emotional and spiritual needs. We need to feel safe, be heard, valued, affirmed, accepted and loved. Not only did many of us not get what we needed, we were neglected, verbally, emotionally, physically or sexually abused, shamed, judged, belittled and yelled at. We might have had perfectionistic parents who expected too much from us. We might have had emotionally unavailable parents who had their own unresolved issues from the past or addictions such as alcoholism, drug addiction, workaholism, gambling addiction, overeating or sex addiction. The abuse we experienced might have been overt or covert. One traumatic event can cause trauma in us. Daily abuse over many years causes even more trauma. Children can suffer from PSTD, post-traumatic stress disorder, similar to war veterans or anyone experiencing serious trauma. Since most of our thinking is subconscious, about 70%, we don't even realize how much we were affected by what happened to us. We have deep seated wounds. Anger, fear, sadness and busyness are the result. Many of us are in denial, repressed what happened because it was too painful, medicated it or just moved on from the past without facing it. Many of us shut down or disassociated from our feelings. Many of us recreated the same issues and relationship problems we experienced as children in our adult relationships and lives. Some of us developed our own addictions or got involved in relationships with people with them. Most of our problems are of our own making. So what is the solution? Pia says we need to get our history straight. So how do we do that?


Like Maya said, we need to face our history with courage. We have to stop denying, repressing, medicating and running from our past. We have to face it to recover from it. There are many ways to do that. First, we need to stop running from our past and face it. We need to stop medicating our feelings in various addictions so we can feel our feelings. John Bradshaw says feeling is healing. Some of us might need or could benefit from 12 step programs like AA, NA, GA or OA to deal with our addictions. Some of us need or could benefit from more intensive inpatient or outpatient treatment. Individual or group counseling could also help to look at our history with trained professionals and others. When free of our stage one addictions and in touch with our feelings, stage two recovery could help. Other 12 step programs like Alanon, CODA or ACA focus more on our family-of-origin issues and relationships with ourselves and others. Many faiths and religions offer faith-based recovery programs. Recovery groups that focus on grief, loss and anger can be helpful. There are many self-help and recovery books that can also help. Most of us can't recover on our own. We need help from others. By facing our past and working through the issues and feelings, we can recover. As we recover, we break the chains of the past and are free to create a new and better future.


So is your past holding you back? Now you know if it is, what's holding you back and what you can do to change that. Are you doing what you can? Why not? You deserve to be the best person you can be and have the best life you can have, experiencing all of the freedom, happiness and success that comes with that. Here's to your future success. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.







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