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Changing Perspectives on the Past: Summary

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

The above methods are useful for helping you realize how your past and your family's past has effected your present state of affairs. Simply knowing that something happened will not be transformative, however. You may become even more upset then you presently are when you realize how your past has affected you, for instance. It is only when you come to a new, more accepting relationship with the facts from the past that you are able to change your perspective and identity with regard to the past.

As you uncover relationship patterns and family patterns that have shaped and formed you, do your best to not get too upset with them, but rather to accept that they occurred. There is nothing you can do to change the past. However, you have a great opportunity to change your future and your present. You can only do this to the extent that you accept and learn from what happened in your past and use the knowledge you gain to alter your course towards the future. If you sit around upset with yourself that you have spent 20 years recreating abusive relationship after abusive relationship and going nowhere, you will lose time that you can spend making your future relationships healthier. Once you have a grasp of the impact your past has had upon you, turn to face forward and use what you've learned to improve your life.