7 Types of Emotional Baggage (And the Secret to Getting Rid of Them)

by April Maccario

You’ve probably heard of carrying around baggage, like divorce, children, etc. However, what exactly is emotional baggage? 

According to Medium, emotional baggage is the insecurities and hang-ups carried over from previous experiences in our lives. 

You may have emotional baggage from your family, friends, or previous romantic relationships. It’s all about what has happened to you in your past relationships that now directly affects your happiness. We all want to be happy, right? 

If you are human, most likely, you’ve had emotional baggage that’s affected your success in new relationships and your general happiness. Think about it; why did your last relationship end? Was it some character trait you or your partner had that you or he/she just couldn’t get past? Is it something you have identified and are trying to fix (if you had the baggage)?

If you are working on self-improvement to try to get past your emotional baggage, good for you! That means you are healthy enough to be reflective when it comes to your love life, and you are trying to improve your shortcomings to become a better person. 

This article will explore the topic and explain how to move past this hardship.

Why Do We Have Emotional Baggage?

We often don’t realize our partner has “baggage issues” until it’s too late. We fall in love with others only to later learn what their hurts and hang-ups really are. Don’t you wish you could recognize emotional baggage in someone else, so you don’t have to face the hurt and pain of breaking up with yet another poor soul? Many people don’t realize they have any shortcomings. 

Unfortunately, in most cases, we don’t get a chance to see the negatives in someone until we get more serious with them. At that point, we are highly invested in the individual, so weighing the pros and cons can be a difficult thing to do, mostly because we may be in love with them and want to just push the negatives aside due to the happy moments we share. 

However, it is important to recognize emotional baggage when it’s first seen. Determine if this individual is worth the negatives that you have to deal with, or can you overlook these hurts and hang-ups and focus on the positive? Whenever your boyfriend/girlfriend shows the emotional baggage you have recognized, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of being with them.

Types Of Emotional Baggage

types of emotional baggage

There are actually many types of emotional baggage; anything you are carrying around that weighs you down because of your past could be classified as an emotional problem that you probably want to work on. After all, most people have the goal of being in emotionally healthy relationships. Why is it so hard to get over these things, and how can we get better?

Really almost anything that is holding you back from being healthy could classify you as being an individual carrying baggage; emotional or relationship baggage are tough obstacles to get past. One baggage synonym is insecurities, which can cause you to carry baggage; relationship issues relating to insecurities are very hard to get past and move forward. 

1. Trust issues

You may have determined that the special someone you are dating just can’t get past the hurt that they have experienced in their previous relationships. Usually, this means that they were cheated on or hurt badly, causing them to be unable to move past their mistrust of others. 

If you are experiencing this, work on self-improvement techniques or consider seeing a therapist, so you can safely and comfortably vent or work past this relationship before trying to enter a new one where you may not trust your partner through no fault of their own.

2. Fear of commitment

Many guys, in particular, have a fear of commitment. They’ve seen other relationships fall apart or have watched their friends go through a negative experience with a woman. If your partner is going through a fear of commitment, be sure that you want to be in a short-term relationship that really isn’t going to progress. Is that what you want?

3. Regret, guilt, or shame

Perhaps, you are dating someone who believes they are to blame for the way their children turned out or why their marriage collapsed. 

It’s important to address these concerns, so you can be in a healthy relationship where you focus on the special someone you are dating rather than listing the many regrets you have - things you can’t do anything about right now. 

4. Painful memories

Many people just cannot let go of the past or the memories they have in reference to previous experiences. Maybe they lost a child or had some other deeply impacting deaths happen to them. These are difficult things to let go of, but with the right help, you can find ways to cope with something like this. A trained therapist may be your best option.

5. The inability to let things go

Some people have much difficulty in forgiving and forgetting. This usually means that, in life, they find nagging or bringing up past mistakes to be normal. Being in a relationship like this can be detrimental, as they just don’t have the ability to “forgive and forget.” In fact, a relationship like this may cause you to backslide in life. Be on the lookout for this!

6. Anger issues

Often, those we date just have unresolved anger issues that cause them to blow up over the stupidest little actions we take as a normal part of life. If you are dating an individual like this, watch out for his or her anger to escalate. If they become violent, you should seek help or reach out to a community resource for assistance. 

If you have experienced violence or abuse, enlist the help of the authorities. 

7. Trauma

trauma

Typically, going through a trauma of some kind is not the individual’s fault. Maybe they lost a dear family member or had something very scary happen to them. If you are going through this or are dating someone who is, consider enlisting the help of a therapist, counselor, priest, or other trained professionals who can help you get past it.

How to Get Over Your Emotional Baggage

How do you classify baggage? Define it for you and your situation, and think of how it affects your well-being and self-esteem, in particular. How has it affected your past relationships and your life, in general? Are you looking for a way to get past the pain you are feeling? 

In most cases, no one enjoys being in failed relationships. There are, of course, those who enjoy casual entanglements and look forward to bouncing from one date to the next.

So, how can you best get over the damage that was left from previous negative experiences, and what words would help you to know how to tackle these issues? Well, you may need to follow a step-by-step plan on how to get rid of this emotional damage, so let’s take a quick look at how you can begin to improve your life once you are freed from these handcuffs. 

Step One: Identify your problem areas

Check-in with yourself and find out what has been holding you back in your love life. Do you have one of the common types of emotional baggage going on in your life? Think about the reasons you have been broken up; are they valid reasons, which would give you a clue as to what you can work on, or did they just want out? Determine the reasons you are having trouble.

Step Two: Determine the best way to start letting go

What can you do about the character flaws you identified in the last step? Is there anything that you can work on to make yourself a better person? What are the reasons that exes broke up with you in the past? Once you have a solid list of problem areas, you will best be able to find solutions.

Step Three: Practice self-improvement to free yourself

What did you identify in the last step as the stuff you need to work on? Now is the time to actually work toward achieving your goals. If you have anger issues, find a great self-help book to guide you through the best ways to overcome this. I would recommend books that are like workbooks you can write in; they are interactive and personalized just for you.

Step Four: Give yourself time to heal properly

If you are working on fixing flaws you have, the last thing you want to do is to rush into another relationship. Instead, take the time you need to fix your problem areas and get over the causes of these stress areas. Work on what you need to and get past what caused you to be in the state you are right now. For example, you may need to just forgive an ex for something. 

Step Five: Once you are healthy, begin a new relationship

once you are healthy, begin a new relationship

It’s a good idea to wait until you are satisfied that you’ve determined the issues you are carrying around, work on them to the best of your ability, and given yourself plenty of time to heal from your past hurts and hang-ups. When you feel happy and ready for the next phase in life, go ahead and enter a new relationship, but take caution that this person is not like your ex. 

FAQs

What does it mean to have emotional baggage?

You have something that is holding you back from being in a healthy relationship. This may be something from your past experiences, or you could have inherited it from family members, such as parents or grandparents. Try to recognize what’s keeping you from achieving your life goals.

What does baggage mean in a relationship?

Usually, this means that someone is carrying around anything that is possibly keeping them from entering a healthy relationship. Some people have children or messy divorces that may prevent them from having new, strong relationships with others. Many people can get over another person’s issues and love them completely.

How do you get rid of emotional luggage?

One great way to get past carrying around emotional luggage is to talk to someone about what is troubling you or what you believe to be a problem area. A therapist can possibly help you best find ways to accept the worries you are carrying around and face them head-on.

Does everyone have emotional baggage?

There are some people who do not have it because they are constantly trying to determine their faults and get past them. Others don’t even realize anything is wrong with them, so they carry on with their lives, usually repeating the same mistakes over and over again. 

What are examples of emotional baggage?

Fear of commitment is a pretty good example of this. Those who feel this way may have past experiences that showed them that being in a committed relationship just wasn’t “for them.” Maybe their previous partner was controlling or restraining, and they don’t want that to happen again.

To Sum Things Up…

What emotional baggage are you carrying around? Have you considered looking deep to identify any issues you may have, and take the needed steps to get rid of your hurts, bad habits, and hang-ups? Are you ready to meet someone new?

Discuss your experiences in the comments section, and share!

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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