# 31 Redeem Your Past

purple-dotLake City Dock 1

So often I encounter psychotherapy patients whose story goes as follows, “I am (depressed, angry, an alcoholic, etc.) because I grew up in a dysfunctional home.”  This story is not only flat and lacking in perspective, it is lacking in hope.  It far oversimplifies the true nature of the human condition.  I recall the man who told me that he grew up in the ghetto and realized by his teens that if he stayed there he would end up dead or in prison, so he resolved to get out and to make something of himself.  I have personally interviewed many adult children of alcoholics who felt they became very mature and responsible at an early age because they had to run the household due to a dysfunctional parent. . They resolved never to drink alcohol,l and they kept that resolve. Contrary to what you hear in the media about how children who were abused grow up to abuse their own children, the research indicates that 90% of adults who were physically abused as children do not abuse their own children.  They made the decision to leave abuse and hatred behind them.

Do you feel burdened by a life story about growing up in a dysfunctional family?  If so, we must rewrite the story, embracing the whole of the human experience and pointing the way toward a livable future.  Your past is yours to make of it what you will.

Finish these statements:

Even though I grew up in a dysfunctional home, there were three good things I got from my family.  These were

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Growing up in a dysfunctional home taught me many valuable lessons.  Here is one of them:

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Even though I grew up in a dysfunctional family, I turned out well in many ways because of some innate qualities (or abilities) I was born with.  These are:

____________________________________________________________________________________

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Though there were many painful experiences in my home life growing up, there were people outside my immediate family who were beacons of light in the darkness, and whose support and encouragement sustained me.  These were:

____________________________________________________________________________________

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One thought on “# 31 Redeem Your Past

  1. Herb Ellis says:

    So Dr. Betsy, is that a picture of my neighbors dock in this blog post?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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