Start by writing about your grandparents and parents’ experiences with money, work and relationships. As you write, refer to them by their first names. This helps you to see them as people, not authority figures you dislike, fear or worship. Objectivity also helps you to see yourself clearly.
Notice the choices family members made (and still make) that always ended in failure, some of which you may repeat, since they are so familiar.
Notice the choices family members made (and still make) that always turned out well, including your good choices. This is when you were being true to yourself in spite of the emotional and financial risks.
Be assured, if you stop making the choices that never worked for anyone in your family, and you repeat the choices that always turned out well for you, being patient with the slowness of change for the better, the rest of your life will be a dream come true.
Nancy Anderson is a career and life consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area and the author of the best-selling career guide, Work with Passion, How To Do What You Love For a Living. Her new book, Work with Passion in Midlife and Beyond is available in online and retail bookstores. Her website is workwithpassion.com. Nancy invites you to send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.