As psychologists, we have treated countless clients who came into our offices after months or years of avoiding responsibility for their problems.  “I can’t help the way I am; my mother made me this way” is an ever popular refrain.  Successful therapy, in these cases, depends on breaking down the person’s self-deceptive, self-protective excuses.  It depends on making him face the link – not between his past and his present – but between himself and his actions.    Frankly, it’s a reality that not everyone wants to own.  Some want to think of themselves as victims.  After all, all of us, if we are honest, are tempted to play the victim on occasion.  But that’s what inevitably gets us into trouble…especially if we choose to remain stuck in that mode due to our emotional baggage.

Those who stare at the past have their backs turned to the future. – Unknown

Used with permission from "Love the Life You Live" by Les Parrott, Ph.D. & Neil Clark Warren, Ph.D., published by Tyndale House Publishers, 2003. Visit to find the love of your life.

Les Parrott, Ph.D., is founder and codirector (with his wife, Dr. Leslie Parrott) of the Center for Relationship Development, a groundbreaking program dedicated to teaching the basics of good relationships, on the campus of Seattle Pacific University (SPU).  He is the author of numerous best-selling books, including "Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts."  For more information, visit

Neil Clark Warren, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the founder of, a relationship Web site.  He is the former dean of the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology and the author of seven books, including the best-seller "Finding the Love of Your Life."