Posted: January 31, 2022 in: Pain-2-Power, Personal Empowerment

The Trouble with Going Back Home

Going back home has a nice ring to it.  Most of us feel nostalgia for the places and people who populated the early years of our life stories.  This is true in such a vast percentage of people that it is clear it applies even to those who had complex, possibly very painful experiences with “home.”  And when that is the case, the pull to return home can be one to resist.

See, home isn’t one spot on the psychological map.  It’s more like concentric orbits.  It’s where you went to school, where you made friends and lost friends, where you woke up and went to sleep, where you exceled and fell short.  And the energy states you revisit depend on how much gravity each of those orbits exerts on your psyche.  Is home mostly the place you legitimately felt safe and loved.  Or is home mostly the place you learned to abandon your dreams, because they were discouraged by family or friends or teachers?

It would be one thing if you could avoid “going home,” when it seems wise, by steering clear of an exit off the highway.  But home has a way of going viral, so that it appears, again and again.  Relationships that seem like they began yesterday can actually have roots that reach all the way back home—to positive or toxic dynamics that can be replayed in the present moment.  Fears that seem like they apply to today’s circumstances can actually have begun “way back when.”

For these reasons, it makes sense for each of us to get a clear vision of what home really consisted of.  Were we supported and unconditionally loved?  Was our self-esteem nurtured or eroded?  Were our goals applauded or demeaned?

Too many people, however, don’t take the time and invest the effort to see home for what it really was.  For them, they don’t need to decide whether to take the exit for home, geographically, or psychologically.  Because they never really left home.  Home continues to dictate who they associate with, how they see themselves, what they believe is possible for themselves and whether they ever embrace the most powerful parts of themselves.

How can you see and feel and think deeply about home, without it becoming the orbit you enter blindly and stay wedded to your entire life?  There’s only one way:  Taking the trip back in time to understand—with your head and heart—what really happened at home, during the formative years that began making you the person you are today.  Then, and only then, will you be freer to leave the gravitational pull of home when one of its orbits is self-defeating.

Dr. Keith Ablow

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One response to “The Trouble with Going Back Home”

  1. Wendy Tuck says:

    It is so hard when none of my 4 sisters validate anything less than stellar.. a little “mom was cold, Dad was a little controlling.” Excavating the sexual violence in my life leads me to believe the roots were at the home. I see I wish my sisters would confirm everything I suspect. It’s not their job. Are there ways to see the impact of family on my life without knowing specific interactions and when everyone in the family says I’m wrong? It creates a lot of doubt in my mind that anything happened or that it had an impact. Just the fact none of my sisters will talk is a big sign about something, isn’t it?