If you’re wondering why your relationships often go awry or seem more difficult than they should be, perhaps it’s time to consider your role in this. Ouch, “I have a role?” Yes, you just might. And some of it might stem from your baggage. Consider this possibility for the betterment of your relationships and overall sense of self.
Are you scanning your environment looking for evidence to support an unhelpful story?
There are many ways that your baggage can get in the way of how you relate to people. It usually has something to do with a problematic narrative you carry about yourself. This story plays out as an underlying belief system in which you filter the world. So unconsciously you scan your environment for evidence to support your story. Your beliefs can be positive, which is ideal, or your beliefs can do a great disservice to you.
Here are some possible ways you might be sabotaging your relationships by not owning your stuff:
- You have rigid expectations of how others are with with you and can be easily disappointed, leading you to cut off from people –> Underlying Belief: People will let me down.
- You are a people pleaser to avoid conflict but you carry resentment for doing more than your share or being taken advantage of –> Underlying Belief: People will reject or abandon me unless I make them happy.
- You struggle to let intimate partners in too close to you yet you desperately want connection. –> Underlying Belief: I am unlovable …or… Intimate relationships can’t be trusted.
- There is a big difference between how your portray yourself to others and how you feel. –> Underlying Belief: I am not ok…or…There is something wrong with me.
Belief systems such as the ones above develop from painful experiences early in life via trauma or messages received from the important people in your life about connection, love, safety, value and how your relate to the world around you. The quality of your attachment to parents and primary caregivers is also very relevant.
When you have “stuff” you haven’t worked through, you can inadvertently sabotage your relationships by looking to reinforce the story you carry. If you inherently don’t believe good things about yourself or how others relate to you, you can inadvertently set yourself up for that situation to occur. For example, if you believe, “People will leave,” what might you do to initiate that response in people to create a self fulfilling prophecy? If you take ownership of yourself in what you’re putting out and how you might be defended, things can be totally different. Self-love, fulfilling relationships and a sense of peace are attainable.
How to unwind out of a painful past
The first step is to acknowledge that the way you have been operating in your relationships hasn’t been serving you well. Sometimes it can be really hard to get away from the desire to blame others for the issues at hand. And yes, in some cases the other has ownership too! Start by looking at your role.
The next move is to do something about it. This might mean an honest talk with reliable friends who can offer insight, educating yourself via books or other tools or seeing a therapist with a practice focus of family of origin work. Be warned that this process can be painful as you will face things you’ve worked hard to defend against (consciously or unconsciously) but comes with the potential for great reward.
If your “stuff” remains unresolved, you run the risk of repeating patterns, staying stuck and blocking you from real happiness…which is your right if you so choose to do all in your power to claim it.