Comprehensive Advice for Men with Emotional Baggage

Every person has a whole universe inside them. People are made of their experiences, both good and bad. Some people manage to let go of negative experiences and keep only positive memories. Those who are not able to deal with their bad experiences suffer a lot. Complexes, fears, anxiety, depression, barriers – all this is caused by emotional baggage.

man with emotional baggage

What is emotional baggage?

Emotional baggage is a person’s unresolved emotional issues of the past. Metaphorically, every person carries a backpack with them throughout their life. Pleasant experiences are light-weighted, while negative ones are like stones – they only slow you down. Some childhood traumas affect our reactions to different situations in adulthood. Failures breed all sorts of fears and anxiety. If your past experiences turn into a burden, you need to get rid of them, because carrying it with you is quite tiring and even detrimental. It can ruin your friendship, poison your relationships, or make your life more difficult.

Emotional baggage from past relationships is probably the most harmful. Once bitten, twice shy. You opened up to a person, you were emotionally connected, and then something happened that cut that connection and left you disillusioned and fearful. Men with emotional baggage are as numerous as women. However, men are generally worse at letting go of emotional baggage as they are taught to keep a stiff upper lip and keep their worries to themselves. People tend to look for a cure for their broken hearts in new relationships. However, the weight of negative experiences doesn’t allow them to love with their hurt hearts.

Every man with emotional baggage needs to realize that living in the present constantly recalling the past failures and apprehending the worst scenario will not lead him anywhere. Dealing with emotional baggage is the only way to be successful and to find harmony in life.

Types of emotional baggage

All of us went through some unpleasant situations in the past. But if you care about your future, you need to realize that it’s unhealthy to bring old stuff to a new stage of life. Why carry a bulky backpack if it consists of useless things? Here are the types of “content” of emotional baggage:

The fear of relationships. Maybe, in your childhood you were a witness of how love causes suffering. Maybe your heart was broken, and now you believe that all that romantic happiness is fleeting, so it’s better to avoid it at all in order not to end up suffering from a bitter breakup. But who said that you should be in a relationship all the time? Many people are happy on their own. You should become alerted if you often fall in love but flee once you see it’s reciprocal. No matter how much you want to enter a relationship with someone, you don’t have any feelings for them.

carrying emotional baggageSelf-sabotage. If you think that you don’t deserve love, you are sabotaging your own life. Alcohol or drug addiction, dramatic romantic experiences (falling for unavailable people) may indicate that you have a low self-esteem. Our partners are the reflection of what we think of ourselves. If you don’t appreciate yourself, it affects your relationships with your partners.

Guilt. Nobody is secured against mistakes. We are not saints. We are humans, and it’s natural to have the pangs of conscience after you did something wrong. Feeling yourself guilty is how you punish yourself for your misdeed, but it does you nothing good. It’s counterproductive. There is no use in overanalyzing that unpleasant situation and playing all the possible “what if” scenarios in your head. Learn to forgive yourself.

Childhood traumas. Most of our psychological issues stem from our childhood. The way we were treated back then by our parents influences our adulthood. If you were criticized often, if you didn’t feel due parental tenderness and care, you grow up feeling unworthy, wanting to prove the contrary. That inner fight is your baggage that doesn’t let you relax and enjoy your life.

The need to be good for everyone. You want to be a goody-goody. You prefer to stay away from all possible conflicts, as that means taking someone’s side and proving your point of view. You’re too timid for that. Also, you’re very flexible and people use it.

Toxic ex-partner. Your relationship with your ex failed, but you still recall it. You go back to that time when you were together, remembering how much pain that person caused you. You hope that one day that person feels the same as you felt back then. This idea haunts you and doesn’t let you live peacefully.

Divorce or breakup. One of the most painful emotional baggage examples is the feeling of being abandoned. You think that everything is great between you, and then your loved one says that you need to end your relationship. Your confidence is shattered, you feel devastated and when you find a worthy person, you behave in an unhealthy way towards them. You may be clingy, have a dependent relationship, or even want to push away that person to prove to yourself that you can’t land a decent partner.

Perfectionism. You want everything to be perfect in your life. Perfectionism is harmful to your mental health. You set too high standards for yourself. You want to excel at everything you do, but nobody asks you to do everything 120%. This is your inner motivation caused by some past experiences. Usually, people prone to perfectionism are trying to prove to someone (and to themselves, in the first place) that they are the best.

Being overwhelmed by all those pieces of baggage, you can’t live a happy and balanced life. You need to learn how to get rid of emotional baggage.

Letting go of emotional baggage

The main thing you need to realize is that you can’t go on carrying emotional baggage. Admit that you have it, find out what caused it, and sort it out. Of course, unpacking your baggage may take time and even professional help, but the sooner you let go of emotional baggage, the better. Here is a step-by-step algorithm for you:

  • Make up a list of things that burden you. Self-reflection is a useful thing. Sit down in a quiet place and write down all those fears, doubts, and acquired patterns of behavior that have tortured you for years. Face your inner enemies that don’t let you live your life the way you want.
  • Analyze each of the items on the list. Try to trace the root of each of your problems. When did you begin to be afraid of committed relationships? Maybe it was after one of your exes cheated on you. Admit it and embrace it, but don’t reflect on it too much. Go to the next step.
  • Find something positive in every negative experience. It’s important to look on the bright side. Everything that happens to us is some priceless experience that teaches us something. If your father was emotionally unavailable or often criticized and belittled you, this probably made you mince your words talking to other people in order not to hurt them.
  • Turn your old experiences into new habits. Let go of your past by doing things contrary to those people did to you. If to take the example from step 3, then promise yourself that you will always be patient to other people and treat them with respect. This is how you get rid of the burden killing it with an antidote.
  • Make the process of freeing yourself gradual. You’ve been carrying this baggage for years, and it may take a while to throw out all the unnecessary stuff. It’s like uprooting an old habit – you don’t do it in one day. Regularly remind yourself of what you’ve learned from your negative experience and what conclusions you’ve drawn.

Dating someone with emotional baggage

let go of emotional baggageThe trickiest part about emotional baggage is that you don’t notice it at first glance. You meet a person, you start dating, and only then you notice that this person is somehow disturbed, as if they have some secret. You feel that there must be some story behind their behavior, and there is, but you are not let into this secret. Not yet. Perhaps, you’ll become the one who will help this person drop their emotional baggage. But first, you need to know how to recognize a person with emotional baggage. Their emotions are blocked from you, so you need to watch for the red flags:

  • Weird obsessions, going to sleep late, taking too much care of one’s health or appearance.
  • Avoiding frank conversations about personal matters with you but discussing them with their family over the phone.
  • Not showing their emotions.
  • Being reluctant to discuss their past.
  • Getting suspicious when there is no reason for that.

At first, that mystery your partner creates around oneself will attract you. You’ll want to get to know them better and reveal what they are hiding inside. After a while, you’ll see that this person is reserved not only with you, bit with other people too. This will make you try to change them. You’ll do your best to prove that they can totally trust you. However, for quite a while, your date will stay secretive and get quiet once it comes to discussing how they feel or what they are worried about. Of course, it’s not easy to deal with such a partner. At times, it may seem to you that your partner is indifferent to you or doesn’t trust you.

When your partner decides to open up to you, listen carefully. Don’t compare their experiences with your own. Just listen and express empathy. Don’t criticize or take it personally.

If your partner doesn’t want to talk about their past, you can resort to their family or friends for help. Those nearest and dearest might be aware of your partner’s past experiences and put you in the picture. Having that information, you’ll be able to adjust your behavior and find the right time to discuss their emotional baggage. A frank conversation always proves to be the best solution.

While men are generally advised to avoid dating women with emotional baggage, indeed those women can be perfect romantic partners. Women are emotional creatures and they manage to deal with their emotions more efficiently than men. They resort to crying, long conversations with friends, new impressions. After they sort out their baggage, they become improved versions of themselves.

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