Ghosts to Ancestors

Psychoanalysis is often about turning our ghosts into ancestors, even for patients who have not lost loved ones to death. We are often haunted by important relationships from the past that influence us unconsciously in the present. As we work them through, they go from haunting us to becoming simply part of our history. Norman Dodge, author, The Brain That Changes Itself

I’m not a person who thinks much about the past…I’m an “in the moment” sort of gal. However, writing a book about mother loss has gotten me to think about my mother and her family of origin. The circa 1923 photo below is my Grandfather Martyn with my mother on his lap and his other two daughters, my Aunt Lucy and Aunt Eugenia. I think this photo was taken soon after his wife, their young mother, died.

After all these years,  I’ve only recently given much thought to his dilemma, a young widower with three daughters to raise. I’ve not been “haunted” by important relationships from the past but I am discovering just how much my history has determined who I am today.

Affirmation: My past is an important part of my present.

Coaching questions: How have important relationships from the past influenced your life? Have you been able to turn them from ghosts to simply part of your history? If not, how might you do this?


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