Initially when we meet people we meet their representative- the perfect, good behavior version of themselves. But, at what point do you meet the real person? As the relationship is growing towards monogamy and possibly marriage, when are the masks removed, allowing full disclosure to come into play? When do you meet, see and/or discuss the baggage that others carry and identify how it enters and sabotages their relationships?
Let me tell you my story…
Recently, I had a discussion with an old friend. We hadn’t been in each other’s lives in years. Our relationship ended (according to my account) after I confronted issues that I was having with him. I sent him an email explaining my challenges. In my mind, after past failed verbal attempts, I put it in email form so he could hear me, uninterrupted; he could hear what I was saying minus my emotions, pain and disappointment. He could hear my heart and where I was genuinely coming from.
But he didn’t, instead he walked away. However, when we discussed the situation 10+ years later, I heard a very different interpretation on his part. He felt that my email said “He was Nothing! He would never be nothing! He was full of it and in essence forget you.” (This is the clean version). I was speechless, this isn’t who I am or how I presented myself to be. After reading the email, he thought I had walked out of his life so his response to my email was literally “Goodbye”, nothing more.
He walked away.
During our conversation, I quickly learned that after 10+ years he was still hurting because he thought I walked away. I was in complete shock- “What?” “How?” I explained that I was attempting to have a conversation with him in a different way. And instead of talking to me, he disappeared out of my life. So in actuality he left me. He couldn’t comprehend that truth; because it would change the narrative that he has played out all of these years in his mind–that I walked out of his life.
Unfortunately, I realized that out of his brokenness from past relationships, this gentleman had a need to milk his self-inflicted wound. Choosing to negate the reason why we had the problem in the first place– because of his actions, which caused and unleashed an emotional tsunami that took a toll on our relationship. Something to this day, he will not take full responsibility for.
Ways Emotional Baggage Can Impact Your Relationships
More importantly, I saw first hand the power of emotional baggage and how it serves as a puppet master, altering a persons opinion and manipulating their reactions and interactions with others.
Needless to say this conversation has left me emotionally numb regarding him and at a loss for words. I find myself at a crossroad choosing to squash the past and asking for God’s help in the forgiveness process.
If we don’t face our issues, our relationships will only go so far…
Out of this conversation, I learned quickly how the spirit of offense can turn and twist the truth around. How issues, pain and baggage from childhood and past relationships can easily creep into a situation where the person is no longer responding to you, but to actions and words spoken by others from another time in their lives. As well, how a person will respond to you based on the poison others have put in their ears concerning you; while choosing to negate the relationship they have with you personally.
4 Ways to Deal with Your Emotional Baggage
This situation is a prime example of the importance of communication, honesty, transparency and accountability in your intimate relationships. Our conversation is 10+ years overdue, the details aren’t as fresh and the external relationships have changed. If this conversation and the level of honesty and transparency associated with it would have occurred sooner, we would probably be in a better place. Now years later after so many hurt feelings, misunderstandings and lack of truth, I find myself questioning why should I reconnect past hello.
In an effort to have healthy intimate relationships,
- We must confront and deal with our brokenness, issues and baggage.
- We must allow ourselves to be vulnerable with the ones we love in an effort to not only heal but have the open communication and healthy relationships we desire.
- We can’t allow the power of offense (present or past) to hinder us from gaining closure and forgiving those who have caused pain.
- And finally, we must forgive. Forgiveness is key to our mental, emotional and physical healing.
If we don’t face our issues, our relationships will only go so far, causing us to constantly confront the same challenges, and never experiencing the beauty of a healthy functioning relationship.
BMWK, how have past issues affected your relationships?
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