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Blaming your parents for your problems will get you nowhere. Understanding how your relationship with them impacted you could change your life.

“Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana

People often ask, “What good is it to go back into my past and dredge up all that pain? There’s nothing I can do about it now. What’s done is done. Isn’t it more important to figure out how to handle the present?” The answer is, yes. Learning to live effectively in the present is the most important thing and the goal of the therapy process. So why deal with the past?

The reason why exploring the past is essential is to help you understand yourself and the present more clearly. Behind most emotional or psychological problems lies a unique history that explains how your problem originated and why it has been maintained. Understanding and insight ultimately lead to empowerment, growth, and permanent change.

One of the most important things to look for in investigating the past is any trace of emotional trauma. Trauma freezes a person and limits his or her ability to grow emotionally. There are two types of emotional trauma: “Big T-trauma” includes singular traumatic events such as rape, a violent mugging, a natural disaster, or a terrorist attack. “Little t-trauma” might also be called developmental trauma. These include consistent hurtful interpersonal experiences such as neglect, criticism, ridicule, and any kind of verbal abuse, harsh punishments, invalidation, disrespect or abandonment, as well as racial or cultural discrimination. When “little-t traumas” are repeated over and over, they have the destructive impact of a big-T trauma. Because emotional trauma is the cause of most major emotional problems and loss of aliveness, it is absolutely necessary to explore one’s past in order to identify any experiences of this nature.