Does it seem like everytime you are in a relationship it tends to fail? Do you spend countless hours anticipating some form of deception from you partner even though nothing has happened? Are you starting to think that you may be sabotaging the relationship yourself but you are still in denial about it?Well, if you answered yes to these questions, you may be carrying around emotional baggage from your past.
What is emotional baggage?
Emotional baggage is like residue of the mind that formulates from past traumatic experiences that have not been resolved; in return, this conditioning of the mind allows the conscience to think irrationally about the relationship that you are currently in. These emotions are not just limited to our significant others, but can manifest itself in other personal relationships such as with family, friends and associates. To illustrate what emotional baggage is and how it can affect lives, let’s say that you were cheated on by your spouse. Not only did they cheat on you but they flaunted it in your face and blamed you for their actions because they said that you gained weight and you were no longer sexually attractive to them anymore. The conditioning process of the mind now begins and you start to feel bad about yourself. You are now bitter and scarred and vowed to never let this happen to you again. So, now you have broken up with that particular jerk (male or female) and you are dating again. You meet a nice person and everything seems to be great in the beginning. All of a certain, you get really scared like you are having an anxiety attack. You look into the mirror and say to yourself, “self, I think that I have gained some weight and I am fat now “. This perception may be far from the truth but all you can see is fat and that your partner will leave you. Because your self-esteem is now lacking you start to project your fears onto to them which in return, creates friction and conflict. Your emotional baggage is getting in the way of having a prosperous relationship because you allowed someone else to define your self-worth.
Signs of emotional baggage
- Projection : This happens when people have self-doubt. These feelings can snowball into an assumption that someone is prejudging you and then you will become defensive. Being defensive all of the time especially when starting a relationship, can be buzz kill.
- Paranoia : One of the most important rules to sustain a relationship is that you got to have trust. Without trust you will make your partner feel as if he or she is up to something. Paranoia can also make you appear to be clingy and needy. There is nothing wrong about being a little cautious especially after being hurt, just make sure that your suspicions are legitimate and control your emotional fears.
- Emotional walls : Holding back on your true feelings and recreating past negative feelings in yourself can make a relationship become stagnant. If you have trust than you will feel comfortable exposing your true self, that way there is no misunderstanding about who you are what you are about.
- Lack of commitment : If you are not ready to be in a monogamist relationship than so be it. But, if you are in the habit of sabotaging relationships out of fear and you never allow it to blossom, then you are letting your past dictate your future. You will always be wondering around in the land of “single people” if you do not learn how to lay all of you cards on the table and start to trust.
How do you deal with emotional baggage?
In life, in order to change negative behavior you have to empower yourself by being aware of this flaw and admit that you have a problem. Being in denial can destroy your life and hurt the people around you. When you admit to carrying emotional baggage you will start to look for positive constructive ways to deal with potential episodes.
Talking to a therapist is another way that you can attempt to redeem yourself from this weight. Therapist have been trained to help us get to the route of our problems which the majority of the time have stemmed from our childhood. They are an outsider looking into the situation and they may see something that we have mentally suppressed like, sexual or emotional abuse. Our minds have a tendency to block out or suppress negative experiences that have happened to us in our lives. These experiences stay stored away and collect dust. They always seem to pop up when triggered by an emotion of situation that we are uncomfortable in.
Lots of people turn to spirituality to help them cope with life’s problems. Whatever religion you participate in, try talking to your pastor, priest, rabbi, etc. The bottom line is that no matter what you do in life, you have to eventually trust someone. If you are a religious or a spiritual person, faith and trust in your personal deity is the key to making miracles happen.
Group therapy sometimes helps an individual by listening to others who have similar problems. You start to realize that you are not alone and there is nothing weird or crazy about you. You may even open up faster because you feel a sense of ease knowing that you will not be judged. It is also a great platform to meet people and to grow together.
Life is what you make it. You can spend the rest of your life alone and miserable because you’ve failed to see the elephant in the room, which is projecting self-doubt, paranoia, emotional walls and lack of commitment. Try to open your mind and empower yourself through self-observation and begin to love yourself. If you do not love yourself enough to make a change than no one else will or can love you. People may have giving up on you an tell you that “you will never change” but, yes, you can. Only you can overcome your past which is not easy to do but, anything worth having is worth the trouble. Love you life and yourself because, you only get one life.
Until next time, stay critical.
Saratoga Integrative Practitioners Network – Complementary health and healing arts professionals in the Saratoga Springs, NY, area.
Albany’s Lifework Center – Holistic Psychotherapy Treatment
Healing Arts Network – Shamanic Practitioners
Karmer Psychological Associates – mental health counseling