UnPack your Griefcase

Most people will agree that baggage of any sort is an absolute task to unpack, however, ‘Emotional Baggage’ is a whole other ball game and it’s a terribly heavy feeling to carry around. Being in a committed relationship means allowing a person into your life and learning to love that individual regardless of (that person’s) past experiences and heartaches. 

This is definitely not an easy road because sometimes the issues faced by that person in the past can trickle into your current relationship. Imagine being honest to a person then one misunderstanding occurs and he/she just can’t seem to forgive you or trust you again. What if that person is you and every relationship you enter is affected and poisoned by a past emotionally traumatic relationship? It’s time to understand what is happening in your mind and heart and break the cycle.

While some people break up and move on without a care in the world, others may develop major baggage, extreme heartache or even something called “post-traumatic relationship syndrome.” Yes, there is a newly proposed mental health syndrome and it can share common symptoms with post traumatic stress disorder. Most individuals who can relate to this, tend to have suffered abuse of some sort in a past toxic relationship. Emotional abuse, physical abuse, dealing with a narcissist, whatever the situation was or may be, it affects everyone in one way or another. Educating yourself is so crucial towards healing and investing in current or future positive relationships. It is a step to recovery and a life free from past chains that constantly drag behind you. 

Take your time before jumping into another relationship and seek guidance from friends, family or even a counsellor. If you are already in another relationship, both you and your partner need to communicate so you can understand that the problem is rooted in the past. You don’t want innocent people to feel like they are doing something wrong or get hurt because of an ex. Partners who have been in a negative, emotionally scarring relationship tend to have low self esteem, even if they put up a confident front to others in public. They can sometimes feel that they do not deserve love and are worthless. These hurtful opinions may have been formed by years or months of constant belittling and bashing from an ex. If the person you once loved constantly degraded your self confidence and eroded your self esteem, it is completely understandable that you need time to heal. It begins by acknowledging the fact that there is an issue to be dealt with. Never question if you did the right thing by leaving an abusive situation; the mind tends to play games especially if you were dependent on your past partner for approval and validation. Remember, if someone treats you badly the problem is them not you.

 If you are in a new relationship and constantly bring up your ex or find yourself comparing your new partner to your ex, that is a major red flag and you need to step back and do some self evaluation. No relationship needs to be paying for the mistakes of an old flame. 

Apologising constantly and anxiety are other signs that you have been affected by the past. Yes, many people deal with such symptoms in everyday life but it is amplified when you leave a toxic relationship and your brain is still wired to keep drama to a minimum at all costs. Never disregard your feelings and standards because you are in fear of being hurt again. Be true to your partner. Even experiencing flashbacks or nightmares are also major cues that your mental state is grief ridden and my best advice is to invest in counselling sessions.

Trauma damages beliefs about the meaning of life. It twists our thinking and develops terror-filled thoughts. We have to remember that there are still good people in the world who want positive, happy fulfilling relationships and you are blessed if you have met one of them. Open your heart, let go of your grief and accept the risk that real love exists. You deserve it and your partner deserves it. If the shoe is on the other foot, understand that your partner is going through a tough time but together you can overcome this challenge. Face it, it is time to unpack and be happy again. 

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