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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can you move forward when the past keeps on coming up?

    An adult child appears to want to have a caring & loving relationship with a parent but keeps on bringing up the past(which we all know cannot change)
    It's always the same - how hurt & depressed they are/have been, but is not willing to ‘let go’ even though they talk about moving forward. Is there any point trying to make this work
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  • 4



    HealthShare Member

    Hi…You have not actually explained your situation well but if you are referring to something that happened to you in your past (perhaps when you were a child) I can honestly say you must find the best Psychologist around and let it all out. I have done this but I still cannot mention the horrible person by name/relationship who ruined my childhood. I am now 61!!! I an nowhere near as bad as i was before “letting it all go” but this person no longer encroaches on my thoughts. Don't know whether I have answered your question or not??

  • 6


    Karen Amos

    Counsellor, Personal Trainer

    Walk and Talk is just what you need to begin living a life that you love. I'm Karen Amos and at Walk and Talk Australia … View Profile

    Thank you for putting your concerns ‘out there’ in order to find some direction.  It appears to me that there are 2 ways to look at this problem of the past.  1. From the present looking back or 2. looking from the present to the future.  
    I can hear the desire to move forward in your words but there seems to be a lack of not just ‘knowing’ but ‘doing’ as well.
    About No. 1. It is all good and well to try to forget, let go, drop it when it comes to our previous experiences  in life, yet there is something in that experience that has shaped us to become who we are today.  That is where healing can begin - acceptance. What happened, happened. It wasn't good at all, but I survived and am here to tell the story.  What kind of story?  The victim's?  The victor's? That is up to you to decide.
    About No. 2. So you move on.  In order to do that, you might decide to do things differently.  Say ‘yes’ to going out with friends, when you really want to say ‘no’.  You go out for a walk even when it is pouring rain outside.  In this way you are trying to create a new version of who you would like to become and testing what it feels like to live like a new you.  One that does not carry the baggage of the past.
    One thing that I believe can change your experience is forgiveness.  This is not a religious type of forgiveness. This is a way for you to decide your own level of emotional freedom from the circumstances that trapped you in the past.
    My apologies if that sounds rather vague, you may like to look up for more information on forgiveness.
    From my personal and professional experience, this has been the key to unlocking my future and setting the past free.  
    Kindly, Karen

  • 1


    Often enough, we do not know our own mind. In the process of dialogue with another person, we are able to clarify what we think … View Profile

    Forgiveness and moving on is easier said than done. Often letting go is a process - not a one off - and part of the process of letting go, can be for some people to revisit the hurts with the person who they perceived caused them in the past and let that person (or parent) know what the hurt has meant.

    The best way to help someone with this, if you are the parent, is to actively listen - to the content and the feeling in what your adult child is saying. And offer an apology, a simple, direct expression of regret for any harm caused. There is a lot of healing in an apology if it is heartfelt.

    Another option might be to ask a counsellor in your area to help you both with a family therapy session - contrary to popular belief, you don't need to be mum dad and 2.5 kids to benefit from family therapy - sometimes it is valid for parent and adult child to be assisted in a facilitated conversation that can begin to heal old wounds.

    It's great that you have sought some assistance via this website, that indicates you too are willing to do the hard work required to address the problems in the relationship, that you have heard your adult child when s/he has said they wish to ‘move forward’. There is always hope.

    Interestingly, the human mind seems totally programmed to either be in the past or the present, never the now. And fundamentally, as you have said yourself, we can't change the past, or control or predict the future, so the now is the only place where your relationship can begin to heal.

    Good luck

  • 6



    HealthShare Member

    I understand your question now. Sorry. The absolute answer is “NO”. I had the same problem, exactly. I let the daughter know how she hurt me and didn't talke to me for 4 years. I decided to write an apology while she was in England and she said she was happy to “move on”. When she arrived back in Australia I mentioned I would like to visit. She decided it was better I did not as she had to consider the children (my grandchildren, 1 I had not even seen) and her husband. Don't ask me why, her excuse to use the children against me I guess. She said we had always argued!! (what parents don't argue with their children) and I realise she had withdrawn her decision to move on. She won't hurt me anymore. I have a wonderful boy who would never treat me the way she has. My opinion is they will always blame you, for whatever it is. My answer, a big “NO”. Your decision but I made mine and I am living quite happily without her in my life.

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