Almost everyone has been hurt or let down at some point in their lives. Often, it’s those closest to us that can end up hurting us the most. If that sounds familiar, you are not alone. Whether it was by a family member as a child, a failed romantic relationship, or even a broken friendship, emotional hurts tend to run deep, and they’re often hard to overcome.
As time goes on, these painful memories may stick around as well. Then, it becomes so hard to let go of them. When this happens, they can have a negative impact on your relationships today. Whether you’re in a romantic relationship or you just want to improve your closeness with friends and family, your past pains could be keeping you from having healthy connections. However, there is hope for getting through these memories.
First, let’s take a closer look at why that is and what you can do to let go of the pain from your past.
Recognize How the Old Wounds Are Affecting You
The first thing you need to do to stop old wounds from hurting your relationships is to recognize them for what they are. Are your past hurts doing damage to your current connections? There are a few ways to check.
First, explore your longings for the relationship. Further, examine your expectations of the relationship. Do these longings and expectations look familiar with those who have hurt you before? Are the expectations spoken or unspoken? Have you shared them with your current relationship? Second, consider the conflicts in your relationships. How often do they happen? Are they consistent? Is the conflict always the same? Next, what does your reaction to these conflicts look like? If it seems out of proportion, questionable or tense, it could be a sign that your past is trying to come to the surface. Said another way, your past hurts may be triggering you current reactions.
Finally, you can usually tell if past hurts are impacting you now by how your reaction changes. It’s not uncommon to have extreme reactions once in a while. However, if your reactions hardly change or you’re on a rollercoaster of feelings, this may be the old wounds speaking. Take note.
You’re Projecting the Past Onto Other People
Another way past hurts can keep you from having healthy relationships is projection. Projection may be like seeing your current partner like others who hurt you. You may be placing your own past hurts, frustrations along with your predictions of how your current partner may react onto him/her. This may be your way of protecting you from feeling your own pain. For example, let’s say you’re in a romantic relationship. No partnership is perfect, and it’s okay to have disagreements and arguments. Some studies have shown that arguing the right way can actually strengthen your relationship. However, if you tend to bring up things in several arguments or discussions that has nothing to do with the situation at hand, it may be your past hurts and habits are taking over. Your past pains can make it difficult to focus on the present. This takes you out of the moment and can cause a few misunderstandings as well as confusion with your partner while avoiding the issue(s) at hand.
What Can You Do?
If any of these signs sound familiar, you don’t have to let the past continue to control your present. It’s okay to feel your feelings and acknowledge them, especially when it comes to recognizing where they stem from. However, getting to the underlying cause of those feelings is the only way you’ll ever be able to fully process and work through them.
First, recognize the tension, stress, or uneasiness you are experiencing when you interact with your partner or friend. Then, for the moment, take a step away from arguments when they happen. That doesn’t mean avoiding confrontation. But, when you feel your emotions rising to the surface, take a step back until you’re able to calm down and clear your head.
Ultimately, talking about your past hurts is the best way to work through them. You don’t have to do it alone. Consider working with a therapist, not only to discover which hurts are troubling you today but how you can overcome them.
If you’re struggling with past hurts and you’re worried they’re affecting your relationships today, feel free to contact me to set up an appointment. You deserve healthy, happy relationships, and together we can work through the pain you’ve experienced to make sure that happens.
that past hurts which are very painful and intense may be seen as trauma. These are past (or present) negative experiences that may incite fear, shame, guilt, stress, nightmares, and other troubling thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This is where counseling is available to help you through these emotional wounds and bring hope and healing.
We Are Here For You
Please reach out today. Counselors with Pathways Counseling Services are here for you…to help you overcome these painful memories and hurts that are affecting your current relationships. Send us a request at email@example.com or give us a call 520-292-9750 to learn more or to set up an appointment.