(Warning – this post may be triggering)
I’ve heard this quote twice in the last few weeks, I can’t find who originally said it, but it really struck a chord with me.
How often do we bring our past hurts into our everyday life and relationships? Or maybe you don’t even realise that you’re doing it?
I am a self-professed personal development nerd. In my free time I love to geek out on books, documentaries and doing online tests to find out more about myself and my personality, I just find humans and the way our minds and bodies work to be utterly fascinating.
My latest geek-out sessions have been around how our past experiences, from childhood, to adolescents, to adulthood actually shape our behaviours and emotional responses that we have today. I mean sure, it’s obvious that the things we have experienced in our past would naturally have an effect on how we end up the way we do, but I didn’t realise this to the full extent! And the ways in which it can affect us, without us realising.
Did you know that your subconscious mind (also known as that little voice in your head that tells you that you aren’t good enough, or makes you scared of what other people will think) is actually fully formed by the time you are 7 years old!? It is then re-enforced by your life experiences, like when that guy doesn’t like you back – ‘see I told you that you weren’t good enough”.
So essentially when we listen to that voice and allow it to hold us back (because it’s actually just trying to protect us in the only way it knows how), we are letting a 7 year old make decisions about our lives for us. Crazy right?
Anyway, before I go too deep into the scientific stuff, let’s talk about just some of the ways that these past hurts or traumas can affect our relationships and how we feel when we’re older;
- Jealousy – Jealousy mostly comes from not feeling ‘good enough’ which can come from being bullied or teased as a child, this can then show up later in your relationships. So, your partner could be doing all of the right things to give you the love and attention that you need, but he could just say ‘oh she’s pretty’ whilst you’re watching a movie and the next thing, you have all of this anxiety thinking ‘why did he just say she’s pretty, what about me?’ and before you know it you’re trying to come up with ways in your head that you can look more like her and be more like her (and this reaffirms that voice in your head “see you aren’t good enough or he wouldn’t have said that”)
- Control – Control can also come from similar childhood wounds as jealousy but it can also come from things like feeling abandoned as a child, maybe your dad had to go away for work or just wasn’t around much. It can also come from emotional neglect (not being told you’re loved by your parents) and this can lead to co-dependant relationships and being a demanding partner. What I mean by this is that you end up in the type of relationship where you feel your partner ‘completes’ you or you believe they need to do this or that to prove that you are loved and you’re scared they might leave you. When in reality, we don’t need anyone to ‘complete’ us, because we are already whole.
- Lying – lying tends to come from having a difficult parent who always put you down and never made you feel good enough and perhaps embarrassed you in front other people. So maybe you always felt like you had to prove yourself and make yourself ‘larger than life’. It can also come from being mentally or physically abused as a child, so if you knew you were going to be punished, for example, because you got a bad grade in school, if you changed that grade and got away with it, suddenly you learn that lying works and this can become a coping mechanism that becomes normal with time and practice to the point where you don’t even realise you’re doing it.
I could talk a lot more about the different ways we are affected by our past hurts but to save this being the longest blog ever, I’ll leave it at those areas for now. But if you’re itching for more information, I recommend that you listen to the ‘Unleashed’ Podcast by Alexi Panos Ep. 15 with special guest Riana Milne.
Ultimately though, when you can start understanding why you do what you do or behave the way you behave (or maybe how your partner behaves) you can start to show compassion and forgiveness, and then start to work on those parts of yourself that need some healing and love.
I would love for you to comment or reach out if you have connected with this.