Relationship baggage

5 signs you have too much baggage for a relationship

by Fran Creffield - January 20, 2014

Almost everyone carries same emotional baggage from the past, it’s part of being human, but if you’re carrying too much it may stop you from being able to form new relationships.

In order to form a healthy relationship it’s necessary to be emotionally available. This means having space in your heart and head for new experiences to come in and for intimacy to develop. Often through no fault of their own people become blocked to this possibility because their head and heart are full of pain from the past.

Everyone has had difficulties to overcome, losses to cope with and heartbreak to heal, it’s an inevitable part of life. Some people can move on easily and put these things down to learning experiences, but for others these difficulties become emotional baggage that they carry around. Often people aren’t aware of how much baggage they’re carrying so here are some signs to look out for. They might even help you start on the path towards freeing yourself so you can one day enjoy the kind of healthy love and relationship you deserve.

1. The blame game

Do you believe that the cause of your problems is always outside of yourself? Do you blame your parents; your school; the government for the difficulties you experience in life? Maybe it was your ex who messed you up and stopped you being able to trust again?

If you feel like you’re a perpetual victim of life and nothing ever goes your way, then you’re stuck. Blaming forms emotional baggage that’s so big that it’s almost impossible for anyone to get close to you because the first time you feel any emotional pain in the relationship you’re likely to blame them.

2. Control issues

Wanting to orchestrate, control and manage life often stems from a desire to feel safe. Fear of not being in control may be huge so you coerce, manipulate, smother and micro-manage people who get close to you. It’s like you have a script you want them to follow and you feel angry and stressed when they don’t play along. Relationships are often messy and unpredictable, if you can’t handle that then you’re not ready for a relationship.

3. Unable to receive criticism

A developing relationship involves give and take as you find out where each other’s boundaries are; what makes your partner happy and what they like and enjoy when you’re together. If you aren’t able to take criticism without becoming defensive, angry, indignant or sulky then your partner will never be able to communicate their needs to you. They will constantly be tiptoeing around your fragile ego and the strong foundations needed for a healthy relationship won’t grow.

4. Negative mind-set

Do you moan a lot? Some people see the negative in every situation and happily share their negative projections with the people around them. Being around someone who is very negative is emotionally draining. Finding a new relationship won’t solve the problem and turn you from a negative person into a happy optimistic one; instead you will probably turn your negative focus onto the person you’re dating and become critical of them and the relationship.

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5. Stuck in the past

If you’re stuck in the past you’re unlikely to be able to look towards the future or enjoy the present which is where love, hope and new relationships reside. You can’t change the past but you can change your response to it and how much time you choose to spend reliving it. If you identify with any of these signs it’s a good indication that you’re ready to drop the baggage and move on with your life. The first step in tackling any problem is to admit that you have it. The fact you’ve read this article could be a sign you’re ready to change. Be ready to admit if you need professional help in this process, many of us do and asking for it is a sign of strength and courage not weakness.

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