Does Past Relationship Hurt Drive Your Current Relationship?

Can your fear be standing in the way of attaining fearless love?

Listening to: To Be Loved by Adele

You’d be hard-pressed to make it far in these dating streets without suffering from some form of emotional aftermath. Taking a chance on love is a risk in every sense of the word. Becoming vulnerable with someone could mean putting your happiness, livelihood, and sense of emotional security on the line without knowing it – all in the name of experiencing a love like no other. So when it comes to being guarded in relationships, I fully understand what that tried and true defense mechanism entails. The mind (and heart) automatically refers to past experiences to determine the future success of present experiences – love included. If someone has hurt you in the past, of course, it’s natural to give careful consideration to the probability of getting hurt by your current boo. So it’s only human nature to be guarded, sis.

But, I want to uncover how your current risk management process may be garnering overexaggerated reactions that are impacting your current relationship. All of us regardless of romantic history, relationship status, and state of our current relationship can admit to suffering from sticky icky relationship residue at one point or another. Relationship residue is a term that refers to the emotional baggage we incur due to trauma or an emotional hardship we’ve experienced in former relationships. We’ve seen relationship residue show up as a result of observing how our parents interact unfavorably with one another, witnessing unhealthy behaviors in our loved ones’ relationships, or experiencing a range of challenges in our own former relationships. Either way it goes, relationship residue likely exists in the interactions with our partner, particularly those requiring a degree of trust and vulnerability we’re not used to or comfortable with.

So what is a girl with #relationshipgoals to do?

Before I get into these tips for recognizing reactions based on fear, I want to make you aware of something. Fear is a learned emotion. It’s a self-protection mechanism and a natural survival instinct. Since it’s a learned emotion, that means it can be unlearned. If you’re intentional about recognizing unproductive and harmful patterns and correcting them, you will be successful in rerouting your thoughts, fears, and reactions to a more positive output. The key is committing to the process and consistency in your self-healing journey.  

Tips for Being Present and Unbiased in Your Relationship:

  • Hold yourself accountable, first and foremost! The saying that you can’t control others’ actions, but you can control how you react to them fully applies here. It’s up to you to determine how conversations go with your partner. Remember that before you find yourself going down a rabbit hole that you can’t get out of. Anything can be said with kindness. So lead with love and make sure that your words model it whenever possible.
  • Remind yourself that you deeply care about this person and would never intentionally hurt them with your words and actions.
  • Seek to understand what’s behind your partner’s words and actions. Most likely, the root of what they’re trying to tell you is a few layers deep.
  • Take time to listen to what your partner is currently saying and what is currently happening in your relationship before responding, rather than letting your underlying fears and insecurities take over.
    • To accomplish this, you need to familiarize yourself with your personal triggers intimately. Pausing when you feel upset and asking yourself what you’re really responding to helps you identify why you’re experiencing such strong responses to an otherwise common situation or scenario.
    • When you learn to self-analyze and address your current state of emotions, it helps you gain control and perspective. This goes a long way when it comes to communication and building trust.
  • Always aim to be in full control of your emotions. Easier said than done, right? Especially when it comes to communicating with someone you have intense feelings for.

    Here’s how:
    • When you find yourself acting out of character or overreacting to your partner’s words, take a moment to pause and reflect on your words before responding.
    • Inconsolable anger, irritation, and unjustified/explosive reactions can bubble up quickly and with intensity. But they’re rarely caused by the situation you’re currently facing. They’re normally a symptom of a deeper, ongoing issue. This means you’re not fighting fair and have likely allowed an issue that has nothing to do with the situation at hand to take the front seat. Remember that feelings aren’t facts. Dig deeper to uncover what’s going on.
    • Strip down your feelings about the situation and focus on the basic facts. Only deal with what you know to be true in order to find the truth behind your primary reaction.

Once I reached adulthood, my mother began to share her mother’s advice with me. “In all of your getting, gain understanding.” Relationships are give and take. Instead of focusing on what you’re attempting to “get” out of it, be mindful of how you show up daily, seek to understand what your partner needs to feel loved and appreciated, and how to develop a level of understanding that makes you comfortable enough to experience fearless love.



Ready to Launch a Book Club?

Starting a book club is a huge task. There are quite a few things to consider: synergy, engagement, what to read, and how to find

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our mailing List