1. What is Emotional Baggage?
  2. Types of Emotional Baggage
  3. Letting Go Of Emotional Baggage

Quite often we experience grief, pain, offense, disappointment, and anger, but instead of expressing it, we try to subdue it. That's what we are being told every day. We shouldn't let our emotions out, we should suppress them. As a result, a lot of men and women live with emotional baggage. The vast majority of people don't see any problem in carrying emotional baggage, but actually, it impacts almost every aspect of our life. It can affect your work, your family and your relationships. Especially relationships, as dating someone with emotional baggage is not that simple as it may seem. If you want to make your life easier, you need to learn how to deal with emotional baggage and how to let it go. This article can be useful in figuring out all the problems that emotional baggage can bring and ways of dealing with it.

man with emotional baggage

What is Emotional Baggage?

Of course, before dealing with emotional baggage, we need to learn what it is per se. Urban Dictionary gives us two definitions. According to the first definition, emotional baggage consists of painful memories, mistrust, and hurt carried around past relationships. According to the second definition, emotional baggage is a common excuse for immature men to maintain a sexual relationship, avoiding the commitment. Well, it is better to stick with the first definition if you want to figure out what it is. All in all, emotional baggage is a combination of all the disappointments, wrongs, pain that you've received from past trauma.

While emotional baggage often forms in childhood and your teen years, it affects your adult life. Basically, your past traumas hamper your attempts at having a normal romantic life. You may think that your parents' divorce had no impact on you, but then you find yourself frightened to commit, as you think that you'd follow the same pattern as your parents. Being rejected once in your teens can easily affect your dating life in the future. You would be constantly afraid that you are going to be rejected again and again, finding it way easier to give up dating altogether.

Sometimes, emotional baggage can form in adulthood. You are dating a woman who's trying to avoid conversations about where your relationship is heading to? Most likely you are dating one of those women with emotional baggage that has formed as a result of abusive relationships. Women who experienced domestic violence find it extremely hard to start a new relationship, as the emotional baggage from past relationships is haunting them. They are simply afraid that their new partner may turn out to be an abuser too. You are dating a man who is getting angry at the most innocent phrases or actions of yours? Most likely you are dating a man with emotional baggage, which is based on negative experience from his past romantic relationship. He didn't solve them in the past and he is frightened of everything that reminds him of his ex.

carrying emotional baggageAll in all, emotional baggage is the shadow of your past, which you need to deal with. Otherwise, all of your attempts at building a relationship are going to fail.

Types of Emotional Baggage

Although we've mentioned some examples of emotional baggage, it's time to delve a little bit deeper into them. As you can see there are thousands of examples of emotional baggage and millions of ways that they can affect your life, but we should concentrate on the types of emotional baggage that threaten your romantic relationship. While you may think that you have no problems or think that everyone is entitled to suffer from your not so delightful past experiences, your partners may have a different point of you. So, aside from that emotional baggage can easily prevent you from having romantic relationships, you can easily ruin them when you have them, as you think that your partner needs to share your drama of the past. Now, let's figure out the three major types of emotional baggage that threaten your romantic relationships.

1. Problems With Your Family

Regardless of whether you are twenty or fifty, if you had abusive parents, it is going to haunt you throughout the years if you've never tried to deal with it. Another thing, you may feel a lack of attention from your parents when you've got a baby brother or sister. Now all your life is devoted to becoming better than your brother. And you are getting depressed or angered when your sibling is getting more success and attention in your adult life. And you are constantly complaining about your parents and your sibling to your partner. You refuse to meet with your partner's parents and you don't want to show your partner your parents. And whenever you agree to family dinners, you start a fight with one of your relatives. And definitely, you are forcing your partner to side with you, even when it is obvious that you are wrong. And also you think that you are going to be a bad parent for your children, so most likely you are going to deny your partner having kids. And every time your brother or sister gets some extra attention or is achieving another success in his or her career, you are going to get depressed. Needless to say that your partner is not that happy with you being unable to let go of your past.

2. Depression

Of course, you are depressed, as you are a realist. You know there is no point in being social with others, as all they do is lie to your face. You don't want to take part in this circus, as things definitely haven't changed since your high school. Your partner cannot understand you and it irritates you a lot. He or she is always telling you that you should be more optimistic, but you know that there is no point in that. Your partner is just too naive to realize how life works. Being optimistic is naive. You wrote the book and you are a realist, you know that you can't get much good of this life. And there is no point in believing that the future is going to be any better. You wrote the book and you know how things work. Future won't bring anything good. Since your early years, you've learned that life is not fair and it's not going to change. Your partner is leaving you, well that was obvious because he or she is too naive and believe that he or she can find someone better than you.

Of course, your partner won't find anyone better than you because there are no such thing as better people. And you are better off alone, as it adds more to your depression. Now you can be depressed all you want. No one is going to tell you that you should be more optimistic. No one is going to tell you where you should tuck your complaints. No one is going to tell you that you have a very dark and negative view on things. Simply because you are completely on your own. And you kinda like it. Depression is your old friend and nobody understands you better, so why bother talking to others? They don't understand why you are depressed, as they are too naive.

3. The Ex Factor

You are constantly haunted by the ghost of your ex. No, your ex is not dead, you just had a very painful breakup and you can't let it go. You want to start a new relationship, but you know that it's going to end the same way. You are not ready to compromise yourself. Now everything is going to be your way and you won't let your prospective partner wrap you around his or her finger. Then you go on a date, but the date ends without any result, as you realize that your date mate is not your partner. And maybe you should start again? But your partner doesn't want you back. So, okay, you are going to settle with someone else. But your new partner is not the same as your ex. And you begin hating your new partner for not being the same as your ex. let go of emotional baggageDefinitely, you are going to split in a few months, because your relationship was doomed from the very start. And then you are going to find a new partner, whom you are going to hate because he or she is not your ex and it will go on and on.

Letting Go Of Emotional Baggage

Okay, after learning everything above mentioned, it's time to figure out how to get rid of emotional baggage. Letting go of emotional baggage can be a tough issue, as most of us simply are not ready to make a step further. So, let's figure out how to let go of emotional baggage types-wise.

1. Forgive and Forget

Okay, it is clear that you can hate your parents for being abusive and you may blame them for being more attentive to your sibling, but you are an adult, for Christ sake. Forgive and forget and continue living on. There is no point in cherishing your hate for so long. If you can't do it on your own, visit a shrink.

2. Let Go Of Your Past

Or sure, your school-mates were hypocrites. The first girl you asked out laughed at you. You lasted on your first job for two weeks. Okay, it was traumatic and painful, but are you that easy to break? Are you sure that the future is dark and full of terrors? Why not try to prove yourself and others wrong? If you can't do it on your own – consult a shrink.

3. Let Go Of Your Ex

Okay, painful breakups are painful breakups, but you need to let go of your ex. You won't have the same relationship twice and you need to be open to new experiences. Remember good things and forget the bad stuff. And get ready to accept someone new in your life.

When dealing with emotional baggage, you can't expect that it will be very easy. You see, it is very easy to say but hard to make. When dealing with emotional baggage, it is crucial to have external help because you may not be able to adequately interpret the situation by yourself. Thus, it is absolutely normal to ask other people for help. For example, you can ask your relatives or very close friends. Of course, in this case, you should never overuse their help and support by turning it into a one-sided process when you only demand and ask. Sadly, in some cases, our relatives or friends can't help us with emotional baggage. There can be plenty of reasons for that starting from the severity of the problem and a lack of time. In this case, if you feel that you can't do this alone, then you may need help from a professional. Professional psychologists have the knowledge and experience which will come in handy in your situation. Thus, if you feel that it is too much for you to resolve alone, and your friends are not able to help you too, neve neglect an opportunity to ask for professional help.

Comments (2)
18.02.2020 11:58
I think the help of a specialist is needed here. Everything comes from our childhood and bad experiences. It is not always possible to overcome it alone, but it must be done. Otherwise, you can ruin your whole life.
Karl Johnsen
30.04.2020 17:55
Excellent explanation of emotional baggage. Thanks a lot! I want to add something too: when you feel swallowed by negative emotions, just stop and reevaluate everything. Find out what causes it. And ask yourself is there something you can do about it. Then, try to convince yourself that this is not a deal-breaker. This approach works fine for me, and I hope that it will help you too.

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