Is “Emotional Baggage” Affecting Your Relationships?
I don’t want her to go through what I went through”
I often meet with concerned parents (mothers in particular) who fear for their daughter’s emotional stability as they move into high school. The conversation with me often reveals that the mother had her own struggles in high school, be it grades, social pressures, or rebellion.
I often hear, “I don’t want her to go through what I went through” or “I don’t want her to make the same mistakes that I made.” The mother is concerned that her daughter will meet the same fate. So she creates restrictions that seem “unreasonable” to the daughter or lacks trust in the daughter despite a history of honesty.
The daughter feels angry and hurt because she hasn’t done anything to warrant the level of suspicion from her mother. This can be very damaging to a relationship. Mom may need to unload her baggage so that her daughter doesn’t have to carry the burden of mom’s high school experiences.
Break Free Of Emotional Baggage
If you see that you are packing these unnecessary items in your proverbial bag, good job. It’s a healthy indication that you are ready to drop the emotional baggage and move on with your life.
1) Accept Responsibility For Your Past:
Recognize it for what it was and how it impacted you. Make peace with your role in the interactions and recognize how you’ve grown from the experiences.
2) Sit With Your Emotions
In your current relationships, you likely will find yourself experiencing fear, anxiety, and sorrow along with excitement and happiness. Rather than trying to avoid these emotions through control, acknowledge them and their validity (they make sense based on past experiences) and remind yourself that things are different in your current situation.
3) Respond To Red Flags Only When You See Them:
Red Flags are red so they can be spotted. If similar, unhealthy patterns in your new relationships are obvious, then, by all means, respond to them. But if they aren’t there, don’t operate as if they are. (and if you find yourself struggling to get out of the cycle of unhealthy relationships, reach out for professional help).
4) Differentiate The New From The Old:
When we carry old baggage, we are assuming that the new relationship plays by the old rules. Your new relationship is not with your mom, dad, frenemy from high school or ex. Actively look for ways that your new relationship is different.
5) Enjoy The Trip:
There are no guarantees in life. It’s impossible to protect yourself from hurt and heartbreak. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth creating strong connections with family, friends and romantic partners. The fact that life is unpredictable, with twists and turns makes each moment together that much more valuable.
Breaking free of emotional baggage allows you to focus on more on the present. Enjoy it.