When someone uses your past against you, it is because of 7 reasons.

Time duration: 11 hrs 15 mins

  • When someone uses the past against you regardless of your remorse, it is because of the 7 reasons we’ve listed in this article. 

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“The future influences the present as much as the past”.

  • Friedrich Nietzsche

If not all of us, most of us have done things in the past we wished we never did. We’ve hurt people we shouldn’t have. We’ve overreacted to corrections or grievances when we shouldn’t have. We’ve let our pride, greed, or anger get the best of us, and in retrospect, we’ve realized that we could have acted better. Many of us will undo some past wrongs if we can. Sadly, we cannot undo the past, nor can we undo the effect of our actions on people.  

Our actions can affect people in many unimaginable ways. It can cause psychological traumas, losses, physical pain, and many other effects. We have no control over how people choose to act towards us because of our past mistakes. We cannot force them to forgive our past, nor can we force them to erase the memory of our past and see us as brand new individuals. We can only hope they do so. 

Why do people keep bringing up your past mistakes?

When someone keeps bringing up your mistakes, it is because of these reasons;

  1. They are struggling to forgive you. 

A person who has not forgiven you will keep bringing up the past in arguments or conversations. Not many people find it easy to forgive and not every action can be forgiven easily. Some actions leave ugly scars and void in people. For example, an innocent man who has spent so many years in jail might find it difficult to forgive his accusers. Or a person who suffered financial hardship because their friend stole their life savings might struggle to forgive. People like these struggle with many traumas aside from their incurred losses. 

You may have cheated in the past, abused your partner, or falsely accused someone. You should understand that your victim might still be struggling with humiliation, fear, depression, low self-esteem, or self-doubt because of your past actions. If they are still struggling with the effect of your past mistakes, they might still be struggling to forgive you, and therefore they’ll keep bringing up the past in arguments. It is best to give such people enough time to heal or even accept that they may never get to the point of forgiving you. 

  1. It is hard to trust you again. 

Trust is the foundation of most relationships. When trust is lost, it is difficult to recover. If your boyfriend or girlfriend keeps bringing up your past mistakes, it is because they are finding it hard to trust you again. Their lack of trust does not necessarily mean they hate you or have any ill intentions towards you. Instead, they are uncertain about your behavior, and it would take a bit of time for them to learn to trust you again. 

For example, if you abandoned a relationship and later wish to walk back into it years after you walked out, it might be hard for people you walked out on to accept you back. No matter how often you apologize, they’ll keep bringing up the past in arguments when they can no longer trust you. Their reluctance stems from the risk of being vulnerable to you. They may have forgiven you and moved on with their lives, and yet not want you to be a part of their lives. They are not bringing up your past mistakes to hurt you, but rather to protect themselves from you. 

  1. They are jealous of you. 

When someone keeps bringing up your mistakes no matter the good you do or your growth level, they are jealous of you and looking for ways to feel better than you. They are truly not happy with your growth and are trying to project their failures and insecurities on you. They are looking for ways to gain power over you, and therefore bringing up your past mistakes will help them to demystify you or reduce your worth. 

When you react to the words of jealous people, you empower them to continue to use their words against you because they know that it affects you. Your anger or annoyance feeds their need for more power over you. When jealous people use your past against you, they are trying to run away from their problems and failures. Their goal is to make you become like your past. 

  1.  They want to use guilt as a weapon to control you. 

The fourth reason why people keep bringing up your past mistakes is to guilt trip and control you. When someone you know keeps bringing up the past in arguments, your past gives them leverage over you. It is their best line of defense in arguments and the perfect way they know to tame you and get whatever they want from you. They want you to keep doing their biddings. They also want you to remain subservient to them. It is best to keep such people at arm’s length. If it’s possible to amend your past mistakes to the right people, it would be difficult for others to use your past against you. 

  1. They want you to pay for past mistakes. 

A person who thinks that you’ve not gotten what you deserve for the wrong you did in the past will keep bringing up your past mistakes at any chance they get. They do not want you to walk scotch free after hurting them or someone they care about. They will tell as many people as are willing to hear them out about your past, hoping that they avoid you or do something to pay you back for your past sins. People that want you to pay for your past mistakes will not mind soiling your reputation no matter how far or high you’ve climbed the social ladder. Your progress is to their advantage. The more people know you, the better their chances of defaming you.  

  1. They are trying to stop you from repeating your past. 

When someone brings up your past mistake in a conversation, it could be that they’ve seen you walking down the same path you did in the past, and they want to stop you in your tracks before it’s too late. It might be unpleasant to hear them repeat your past, but sometimes it is the only way they can get to you. 

We must realize that our ways are not always obvious to us. Sometimes people watching us from far can see us more than we can see ourselves. Bringing up the past in arguments isn’t always bad if the aim is to stop us from threading a wrong path.

  1.  They are very insensitive and judgmental people. 

There are insensitive and judgemental people that would always use your part to isolate or mock you whenever they want. Such people don’t care about your history or the full story; they only care about what you did or what the report says you did. These people will keep bringing up the past in arguments or conversations because they find it difficult to process the effect of their words on others. Sometimes these insensitive and judgmental people live around your neighborhood or place of work. They could also be distant relatives. You’ll often hear them whisper words about your past although they do not know you. You’ll also notice that they’ll try to make you feel isolated. 

How to respond when someone keeps bringing up your past.

If you are wondering how to respond to someone that tries to use your past against you and how to make them understand that their words are hurtful and inconsiderate, there are four ways to do so. 

  1. Ignore them. 

One of the best ways to respond to people that keep using someone’s past against them is to ignore them. There are many inconsiderate and difficult people out there. No matter what you say or do right, they’ll stubbornly hold on to your past because it profits them to do so. Explaining yourself to such people or reacting over what they said will give them a false sense of power over you. It is best to say absolutely nothing to them and ignore them. Do not let the words of such people keep you locked up in your past. 

  1. Boldly talk about your past. 

In certain situations, you need to be bold enough to talk about your past and use the lessons to encourage change in people. Some people keep bringing up your past mistakes because they think they can hurt or shame you with it. You probably lost a spouse because you were promiscuous in the past, and your current partner keeps using it against you. Or you probably went to jail for a crime you committed, and people keep judging you for it daily. Speak about your past without shame to people that claim to love you, and if they don’t believe the change in you, perhaps they should not be close to you. When people know that they cannot hurt you with your past, they’ll respect themselves.

  1. Correct them.

If someone claims to love you and yet keeps bringing up your past to hurt, guilt trip, control, or embarrass you, you can bluntly tell them to stop. The truth is that some people do not know where to draw the line unless you show them. They’ll keep bringing up your past in conversations and sharing it with other people because they think they have access to your life. You have to make them uncomfortable about talking about your past. Not everyone has a right to talk about your past. If they don’t stop, they should not be close to you. 

  1. Stay away from them or make them stay away from you. 

You do not have to be in close contact with people that choose to keep using your past against you. Taking drastic measures like cutting them off or relocating to another location is sometimes the best way to move forward in life. 

“I’ve made mistakes and made amends the best I could. I have learned from my past, and I am determined to move in the right direction. If you can’t look beyond my past, we can never be happy in each other’s space.

Frequently Asked Questions.

  1. How do you get over your past relationship trauma? 
  • Accept that you cannot change what happened. The past is the past. 
  • Pick out whatever truth or lessons you’ve learnt from the whole situation. Accept it and move forward if the truth says you could have acted better or wiser. Don’t keep punishing yourself for what happened in the past.
  • Give yourself enough time to heal. If you need to cry, scream, travel, or be alone temporarily, do it. It is ok to grieve what has happened. 
  • Speak about it. You do not have to hold it in. Confide in someone mature about the whole situation. When you talk about it, your mind will be freer. You can go to church and talk to an elder if you have no one to talk to. 
  • Use journals. If anything is still bothering you about the past, pen it down and move on.
  • Be conscious about being positive and being in a healthy mental state. When memories of the past want to occupy your mind, shut it out with positive thoughts.
  • Rediscover yourself. You cannot rediscover yourself by being idle or alone when trying to get over the past. Be brave enough to meet new people and try out new things.
  • Set a new goal for yourself to keep yourself positively focused on growth. 
  • Seek professional help if you need to.
  • Choose to forgive yourself and the person that has wronged you. 

Did you know that forgiving someone is freeing and can also be a source of happiness? 

2. It is ok to talk about your past relationship with your partner, but you need to consider;

  • How your partner feels about it
  • When and where is the right time and place to talk about your past.
  • Your intentions or motive for talking about the past. 

Don’t just talk about your past relationship because you are looking for what to talk about with your partner. Secondly, do not talk about your ex often. When you talk about your past often, you give your partner the impression that you are still clinging to your ex. This could affect his trust in you and ruin your relationship.


It is hurtful when people bring up the past in arguments or conversations. It is painful when they don’t want to let the past be the past. Their reasons for bringing up the past could be good or bad. But it is important to put yourself and your progress first when people have chosen not to let go of your past. Do not let people use your past to control you. It is also important that you learn from the past. 

Review about past mistakes. 

  1. If you did something wrong to someone and they don’t know about it, will you apologize to them?
  • Yes 
  • Nope 

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