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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

When You Start to Let Go of Your Past, These 10 Things Will Happen

When You Start to Let Go of Your Past, These 10 Things Will Happen

We have all experienced the loss of something significant that has caused us great sadness and pain. Maybe you are holding on to a relationship you know in your heart is not healthy, hoping it will turn back into how things were in the beginning, before all the pain and hurt.

Starting to let go of your past in relationships, or anything significant, is one of the hardest things you will experience in life. We are comfortable with the known, and we will often choose known suffering over an uncertain future. We resist change and hold onto the past often long after it has quit serving us.

So, maybe you need a push to view letting go of your past in a new light. Below are ten wonderful things that will happen to you once you start to let go of your past.

Notice the phrase “start to let go of your past.” Letting go is a process that takes time. But the sooner you move through the process of letting go of what is hurting you, the sooner better days are to come for you!

1. You will realize a new positive version of yourself.

“I use memories, but I will not allow memories to use me.” – Deepak Chopra

Our brains are fascinating combinations of pure miracle, computer processor and organ tissues. But did you know that the memories that you hold are not necessarily all that accurate? Did you know that your memories can actually be altered and defined by you today? You have the power through what you choose to focus on to change your future. When we are experiencing a negative aspect of life, our brains scan the past looking for similar memories to match up with this, confirming the current negativity. That voice that says “You always end up in these bad relationships. Why do you always do this?” That comes from this filtering and matching process. Once you let go of what is hurting you, your mind and memories will work on creating a powerful new positive version of your life.

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2. You will make room for the new.

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle

When you keep replaying the past you are forfeiting your present. Once you decide to let go of the past, however, you become drawn towards new goals, new visions and new people that will lead you to an exciting fresh chapter of growth in your life. Our lives our not meant to be static. Change does happen for a reason, and the less resistance you create against change, more growth is available for you. Think of the process as a tree that has to drop it’s leaves and become bare. The reason the tree is stripped down to it’s core is the miraculous coming of Spring. New growth that is powerful, beautiful and necessary for that tree’s survival follows the winter. No, we are not trees. But we are living the same type of growth and rebirth cycle all through our lives. Embrace the truth of this, and come to peace with it. Think back over your life. How many changes did you despise at the time that you now can look back on with appreciation for how they helped you grow?

3. You will handle new obstacles with grace.

“The past should be a learning experience not an everlasting punishment. What’s done is done.” – Unknown

Once you move through a difficulty life has thrown at you, it will enable you to handle the next one with even more grace and ease. It’s a learned skill to let go of your past and move on. Think back to how difficult break-ups were early in life. If you’ve had some dating experience, the ability to let go and move on gets easier. Trusting yourself gets easier the more you experience it. Future change and more experiences that require letting go lie ahead guaranteed. The more practiced and comfortable we are with this process, the more we will grow gracefully.

4. You will learn to love yourself first.

We all want to feel loved in our relationships. But the key to feeling loved is actually to love yourself first. No amount of actions or absence of actions or words of another can fix a lack of love for yourself. We stay in relationships that are not great for us because we are searching for something outside of ourselves when we really need to be finding that inside ourselves first. Turn inward during this time of letting go.

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5. You will inspire others.

Without even knowing it, you will touch and inspire others. When I meet smiling, kind-hearted, generous, tender souls that I know have gone through great loss, I am always awed in their presence. These people are proof positive that recovery can, and does, occur if you let it. When you let go of your past you will own that as a part of who you are and positively show others in your life how to let go with grace. Early in my life, I experienced an abusive relationship. I don’t enjoy revisiting those memories. But I do so if I feel it will help another in need and inspire them to think differently.

6. You will grow closer to your destiny.

We are all here for a purpose. Every experience, each hardship, every burden, even all our hurts have shaped and formed us into who we are supposed to be at this very moment. We are each here to balance out the universe in a very unique, and intricate, way that only we can fulfill. All of your experiences are creating the very fiber of your being, bringing you closer to what you came here to learn. Believe that each learning experience is meant to draw you closer to learning your life lesson. It is not necessary that we view each experience as positive or negative, but each experience is necessary for our growth to unfold.

7. You will naturally attract what you need.

“Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.” – Bryant H. McGill

The piece of your past that no longer fits in your life came to you at a time when you were a much different person than who you are today. Are you the same person now that you were ten years ago? No, you are a vastly different person right now. You send off different vibrations than who you were before did. Who you are now will naturally draw to you exactly the situation, the person, and the future that you need right now. Know that, trust in that and step into that in faith. What you need will come to you at exactly the right time for you.

8. You will realize that YOU are really all you need.

“You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.” – Eckhart Tolle

Being in a blissful, supportive, loving relationship is wonderful, but do you really think that is the only path to happiness? Look around you. Who do you know who is not in a relationship that seems to have it all together? What do they do differently? They find joy in themselves, their interests, and build a life not dependent on someone else. There is a difference between love and attachment. When we become attached and dependent on another for our own well being and happiness that is not love. Love is without attachment and dependency. Love yourself as much as you love another, and your relationship outcomes will naturally become more positive.

9. You will grow in your empathy for others.

In addition to inspiring others, you will become more in-tune with other’s pain. When we ourselves have experienced pain, loss and disappointment, that enables us to see the same in others. You will have the heart to notice the young girl you work with who is in the midst of an unhealthy relationship. You will have the experience and empathy to feel her pain and to offer support. You have been changed by your experience into a more advanced, soulful person who now can help others with what you’ve learned. We are all here to help each other on this journey and lean on each other for support.

10. You will know in your heart what is good for you.

“Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly, it reminds us that we know that we could do better.” – Kathryn Schultz

At the end of a relationship we experience things that just aren’t good for us. These can be things inflicted by others that we know are against our core values, or they can be things we put upon ourselves. When we don’t receive the love and support we are looking for, we can turn bitter and angry. When we hold onto grief, we can punish ourselves with guilt. We can only hold onto bitterness, anger, and grief for so long before we have to let go of the pain. We know these burdens are poisoning our heart, and robbing our soul of the joy it needs to thrive. So we must learn to feel what is good for us more fully. That is how we learn to go forward and do better, live better, choose better.

I would love to hear your insights as to what letting go has taught you, and any positive growth you have to share through learning to let go.

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Featured photo credit: emprize via 123rf.com

More by this author

Dawn Hafner

Dawn is a Practical Life Coach who offers concrete tools to help people implement life changes.

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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