Dealing with One Who Loves to Bring Up the Past

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Have you ever encountered someone who always brings up the past? Perhaps it’s a friend, family member or colleague who constantly reminds you of past mistakes or events. Dealing with someone who loves to bring up the past can be challenging and it can affect your relationship with them. In this article, we’ll discuss some strategies on how to handle this type of behavior.

Understanding Why People Bring Up the Past

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Before we discuss how to deal with people who bring up the past, it’s important to understand why they do it in the first place. Some people bring up the past because they want to feel superior. By reminding you of your mistakes or failures, they feel better about themselves. Others do it because they can’t let go of the past. They may have unresolved issues or regrets that they haven’t dealt with yet. Understanding why someone is bringing up the past can help you approach the situation with empathy and understanding.

How to Deal with Someone Who Brings Up the Past

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Here are some strategies you can use to deal with someone who loves to bring up the past:

1. Address the Behavior

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The first step in dealing with someone who constantly brings up the past is to address the behavior. Let them know that their behavior is hurtful or annoying. Be specific about what they’re doing that bothers you. For example, you could say “When you bring up that mistake I made last year, it makes me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”

2. Set Boundaries

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If someone continues to bring up the past despite your request to stop, it’s time to set boundaries. Let them know that you won’t engage in conversations that involve bringing up the past. You could say something like “I appreciate your concern, but I prefer not to dwell on the past. Let’s focus on the present and future instead.”

3. Reframe the Conversation

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When someone brings up the past, try to reframe the conversation in a positive way. For example, if they bring up a past mistake you made, acknowledge it but then focus on what you learned from it and how you’ve grown since then.

4. Avoid Triggers

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Some people bring up the past in response to certain triggers. For example, a family member may bring up past arguments when they feel stressed or overwhelmed. Avoiding these triggers can help reduce the likelihood of them bringing up the past. For example, if you know that a certain topic tends to lead to arguments, try to avoid it or approach it in a different way.

5. Seek Professional Help

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If someone’s behavior is affecting your mental health or your relationship with them, it may be time to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can help you work through your feelings and develop strategies for dealing with the person who keeps bringing up the past.


Dealing with someone who constantly brings up the past can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. By understanding why they’re doing it and taking steps to address the behavior, you can improve your relationship with them and reduce the impact it has on your mental health. Remember to be patient, empathetic and kind when dealing with this type of behavior.

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