How do I know if I’m Stuck in the Past

This article addresses one of three places a human being can find themselves in life.

  1. Stuck in the past
  2. Stuck in the present
  3. Stuck in the future


It’s important to note that we can only be stuck in one of them at a time, and usually for life. Today we talk about stuck in the past.

We all have a history. A story. From birth to today we have a series of experiences, all the way up to yesterday, in fact all the way up to a few minutes ago, we have stories about what did and didn’t happen to us. Every story is based on a perception of what happened. Those perceptions collect to form some sort of identity. Those stories are hard to change.

But when things start to go wrong in the present, we try to fix things and those stories can form the basis of therapy, psychology, coaching, self improvement, healing and more. Those stories are worked on. As we work on them, they become more true. For example: someone might say “my parenting wasn’t good enough” and on that basis, the work on themselves begins.

It’s a brilliant courageous process to dig into the past and potentially allot of pain in order to get over it. However, it’s not all healthy. What is exposed in dealing with past stories about anything, an ex, an old boss, abuse, bullying, and more, are a set of judgements. He did this, she did that, she should have done this and he should have done that. There are a clear set of unmet needs which can be directly attributed to discomfort, emotion and pain in the present life of that person. The individual will then try, consciously or unconsciously, (usually the latter) to avoid bumping into anything similar to the negative aspect of their story.

And so, in dealing with, retelling, working on and developing clarity about the past story, individuals create their own future. They seek, want and attract people, places and thinks that do not contain the struggles of their past. They avoid people, places and things that may remind them or appear to present similar characteristics to the past. Hence, their future is created out of a series of “don’t want” and “do want” lists that are established from past stories.

So, if the future had 1,000 options before stories were told of do want and don’t want, the future has now, less than 100 options. The past stories create a path into the future that is limited. And the result is drive, but terrible stress. Avoiding the do want and the don’t want, becomes like swimming through crocodile infested swamps. A terrible tip toe that can even involve severely high expectations, fragility, control obsessions, micro management, super sensitivity and allergies. It become a tough ride, hard for the individual and those who care with and for them.

And because nothing affects the child more than the unloved life of the parent, the children become the teachers by demonstrating the exact opposite behaviour, characteristics and qualities the “stuck in the past” individual wants to avoid. What we judge in our stories, we breed, attract or become. Hence, therapy, psychology and messing with past stories is fraught with both compassion and a disaster causing validation. An accidental confirmation that perception is truth, opinions are real and emotions are consequences rather than causes of pain.

Why universal laws matter

There are inescapable truths in the universe. Truth that science confirms and yet such truths are rarely applied to moods, emotions, thoughts and perceptions. If they were, all stories of the past would be demonstrated to be half truths, lies we believe and share and therapies try to remedy. If those universal truths were applied to stories, all stories would simply end up as events. Not good or bad events, events.

The negation of a story is difficult for people to handle. They have spend and entire life leveraging those stories of lack or difficulty or pain or loss into opinions and judgements, they have married those who validate their stories and they control those they marry to prevent any witnessing of what they believe to be the dark side of their past.

The more those stories are told the smaller their options become because new stories are added weekly. Stories of parents at schools, governments who don’t support the right things, friends who are bad or good and so it goes. The circle eventually attacks their work until they can no longer rise in business for fear of story sensitivities being attacked. Work can even become a space to vent and control/

The idiosyncrasies of a person stuck in the past are: moral high ground, opinionated, rigid beliefs, anger, stress, protector of the “weak”, underprivileged, abused, disenfranchised, disregarded, powerless, minorities. And in this you realise their are no mistakes in the universe. Stuck in the past creates an unconscious community that, at a level, has an enormous benefit even protecting the environment, earth and resources. It is therefore part of nature’s plan.

Nature’s Plan

To the individual stuck in the past, there is stressful agitation. Their goals and dreams may or may not manifest because so much energy goes into emotion, reaction, validation and avoidance. It is an exhausting role to play, the role of the individual stuck in the past.

Nature’s plan for each and every human being on the planet is to learn from the past and arrive in the present. But if the learnings are based on stories, they are not learnings at all, they are more stories.

To learn from the past, the story must die, and be revealed as just another event in the ladder of life. “I had a mother” - “I had a father” - “I went to school” - and as the stories vaporise into events, the individual evolves into the future. Hence, to kill a story, one must apply nature’s universal laws, because in nature, those stories are simply perceptions, far from truth. And the moving of a perception to truth, is, in itself, evolution, nature’s plan.

If this article has raised your blood pressure, then please be in touch so we can book you some story killing coaching sessions.

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!