Carrying Emotional Baggage

Unresolved emotional baggage in a marriage can be dangerous, as it is often buried deep beneath one’s emotional surface and doesn’t have the immediate effects that financial or fidelity issues have. In order to get beyond your past, you have to be willing to wholeheartedly examine your past so you can fully accept what happened and, more importantly, grow from it.

Even the most ideal upbringing can still leave a person with emotional baggage. While some people may have a past of physical, emotional or sexual abuse that they need to resolve from their emotions, others may have been raised with two extremely nurturing parents that perhaps set their expectations for a relationship unrealistically high. As such, it doesn’t take a traumatic personal event to have emotional baggage, and it’s important that you strive to deliberately unpack the past baggage you’ve stored.

Key Culprits of Baggage

In order to maintain a healthy relationship, you must rid yourself of residual resentment from any past relationships. As time goes on, a person’s experience with their past relationships often remain stored within their subconscious. If you fail to address past mistakes, you will be at an increased risk of falling back into old patterns with your spouse. Four common culprits from your past that lead to problems in your current/future relationship include the following:

  • Parental Programming – Your upbringing has left you with behaviors or attitudes you may not be consciously aware of.
  • Sibling Influence – If you were the oldest child in your family, it may be hard for you to share power in a marriage because you were used to being in control when you were younger.
  • The Ex – Past relationships are a source for learning and growth. We learn what to do and what not to do, but you should never tarnish your present relationship with insecurities from a past relationship.
  • High School Skeletons – High school is a time of great insecurity for many, and any experiences of teasing, bullying, or feelings of inferiority may still be affecting you.

To address this baggage and ultimately rid yourself of it for the sake of not only your emotional well-being but your spouse’s as well, you must attempt to find any blind spots you’ve created in your past. Have the ability to freely forgive can lead you to a much healthier place for your present relationship.

Contact an Austin Marriage Counselor

If you need help unpacking your emotional baggage in order to move forward with a happy marriage, contact Austin marriage counselor Kathleen Snyder MFT at (512) 659-8600.