When the past becomes our present.

Old emotional wounds have many ways of inserting themselves into existing and new relationships. When this occurs, they can prevent a connection from blossoming or slowly pull at a relationship until one or both parties suffocate. Some of our deepest wounds often come from childhood, and others will make an appearance at a later point in life.

Dealing with heartbreak, betrayal, having our ideas about love questioned and our spirits bruised are distressing experiences to go through. Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually — these past traumas have the power to greatly impact our overall character; it can affect the way we think, the way we see ourselves, and the way we see others. When emotional pain cuts us deep, it can cause repeat unhealthy behaviours and offer a recipe for toxic relationships. Sometimes without even realising, few of us will continue living our lives holding onto negative, distorted thoughts in our unconscious mind. But one thing is for sure… none of this has to be permanent.

Cute but psycho

I’d be lying if I said freeing yourself from the past was an easy process. It really isn’t. Speaking from personal experience, I spent years convinced that I was healed from my first relationship. Unfortunately, feelings of resentment and bad memories can linger long after a previous split. The reality was that I had simply swept everything under the carpet and put in place a few coping mechanisms which involved: always having my guard up, purposely starting conflicts to make myself feel better and feel more in control, never communicating or addressing the root problem, and playing the blame game. After going through a couple superficial relationships in my emotionally unavailable state, it became clear that my issues were just adding this growing ball of toxic energy. The longer I left it to manifest, the worse I became.

I was cheated on in my first relationship but didn’t find out until a year later… and it was only by chance I had discovered the secret. Around the same time, the manipulative and controlling behaviour became more apparent (dictating what I could/couldn’t wear, where I could go, who I could talk to/hang out with, etc.), our heated arguments were pretty intense, we hurled things at each other then got into physical altercations. The atmosphere was always tense and disruptive, and not just between us but for others as well. When things were good, they were amazing; when things were bad, it was hideous. Being 16 at the time, in my first relationship; I was naive and “blinded by love”. I can’t even comprehend what was going through my mind back then. All I knew was that no matter what shit we had gone through, he was never wrong in my eyes. Eventually three and a half years later, I found the courage to leave. And by no means was it an easy exit.

I swiftly got into my next relationship about 5 months after but I was just a ticking time-bomb for my next partner… and the next one after that. When I look back, I feel awful for the way I treated some of my exes. Even thinking about it now makes me cringe and feel a lot of shame. I found myself creating worst-case scenarios in my head, getting easily triggered over certain things they’d say or do. I was always feeling hypersensitive, insecure and on-edge when they wanted to have a guys night out or attend a work do. I dealt with it all by self-sabotaging. I would go down their phones to check their call logs, messages, photos, social media. I looked through their draws, cupboards — I don’t exactly know what I was looking for but I needed anything to use as ammo so I could pull them up on it and accuse them of cheating on me. I honestly think I put more effort in my search for “evidence” than I did with the actual relationship. Messed up huh?

Road to recovery

When we’re stuck in trauma, our limbic system (basically an important part of the brain) can become impaired in its ability to regulate our emotions. As a result, our mood, sleep and thought patterns can be impacted and lead to symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, loss of appetite, low sex drive and even depression. It’s essential to understand how past issues are affecting your love life so that you can address them.

No one likes feeling vulnerable, disappointed or hurt, but how we deal with past issues determines the quality of our lives, our next relationship and ultimately helps to shape ourselves. As mentioned, it’s not a straightforward or quick practice, nonetheless I guarantee that taking an opportunity for self-reflection and learning can be the gateway to experiencing real joy and happiness. If you’re seeking some guidance on how to release those burdens, I’ve compiled some mindful tips to help loosen that grip on previous situations and move forward in a much healthier way.

IT IS WHAT IT IS
For some of us, “letting it be” or “letting it go” alludes to the idea that we’re wrong or it feels like we’re allowing someone else to be right. It also means letting go of your expectations of how things should have been. The fact is, what happened was all in the past and there’s nothing you can do about it. The drama, holding on… it’s all in your own mind. As you continue feeding the memories, you make what someone said or did even bigger and more powerful in your head than it might have been in reality. Accepting what happened gives you the ability to create empowering stories and discover valuable lessons to carry with you in the future.

DO NOT PUT EVERYONE IN THE SAME CATEGORY
Your new partner should not be punished for the pain you felt from previous relationship, just because someone did you wrong in the past, it doesn’t mean that your new partner will do the same. It’s an unfair position to put them in. It’s important to communicate, be open and honest, and explain why you might have certain hangups or sore spots. And if it’s a situation where you’re clinging onto hurt and anger but struggling or refusing to let it go, then perhaps you’re not in the right frame of mind for a new relationship.

TAKE YOUR TIME TO HEAL
There’s no timeline for healing from trauma, it can take months or even years. However, it’s vital to release the sadness and let yourself process all the emotions. Use the opportunity to self-discover and work on getting your mind back in a better place.

LET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM
Some will feel better after verbal communication with a friend, family member or therapist, others might prefer writing down their thoughts in a journal. Either way, the cathartic release can do wonders for your mental health. You’ll find that self-expression helps to clarify your thoughts, feelings, reduce stress and even solve problems more effectively.

DO THINGS THAT YOU ENJOY
On your road to recovery, I reccomend channeling your energy into things you enjoy. Perhaps you let go of a hobby you used to love? Maybe you want to take up something new? Just go for it. Even if it’s a bit of therapeutic shopping, brunching with friends, binging on awful reality TV shows or treating yourself to a pamper session — stick to positive environments, surround yourself with good people and focus on finding happiness and inner peace.

I always encourage learning and growing from all our experiences in life. When we’re dealing with past trauma, concentrate on becoming stronger in the process, rather than carrying the baggage around like an anchor. Don’t let it weigh you down from living and enjoying your life. The past should be used as a reference to serve and support you for the present and future. Always keep in mind:

“Scars remind us of where we have been, not where we are headed.”

“I didn’t appreciate you dueting with him at karaoke!”

Insecurity and neediness quickly became a deal breaker for me after exiting one of my past relationships. I can’t and won’t tolerate that kind of behaviour. When I’m emotionally checked out of a relationship, that’s it. There’s no going back. I will close the door, lock it and throw away the key. I don’t offer friendship post-relationships, but I do try to part ways in the most amicable way possible. Though this hasn’t always panned out the way I would have hoped.  

In this post, I want to talk about the challenges I faced when dealing with a possessive, insecure and needy partner.

As a disclaimer, I will be honest and say that I have been that unbearable, anxious person once upon a time. It was not pleasant for either party, nor do I wish to ever be in that frame of mind again. I can only describe the behaviour as very toxic and unhealthy. With the relationship I’m about to discuss, I’ve seen it from both sides. Not only have I experienced going through it but I also know what sort of dubious thoughts can run wild inside the head once triggered…

Beginning

It all started at my old workplace. Normally I’m not a lady to mix business with pleasure but we managed to keep it very low key and maintained professionalism when working on projects together. I remember finding out that he’d liked me from one of my colleagues. Unfortunately, I felt quite the opposite. I didn’t find him attractive, he was very geeky, wasn’t very masculine, pale looking, his sense of style didn’t make sense to me… there was no way I could see myself going out on a date with him.

The company I had worked for at the time had some amazing perks including free gym membership at Virgin Active or GymBox. Obviously, I took full advantage but realised that a certain someone was doing the same, and had signed up at the same gym around the corner from the office! I also found him there at the same time as me (stalker lol) I’m not a rude person so when he came over to chat, I let the conversation flow. I mean, he was a nice guy but he was getting a bit too flirty for my liking… I was so uncomfortable! But I find out he had a girlfriend so firstly… thank God! Secondly what the hell was he doing? Eventually he confessed that he liked me but I palmed him off and told him to sort whatever issues out with his girlfriend.

Anyway, fast forwarding to a few weeks later, a bunch of us went out for lunch together. He told me he’d broken up with his girlfriend and was in the process of moving out of their place! Erm… okay? Then he said he really wanted to take me out on a date. Note: I had my stupid colleagues behind the scenes pressurising me to give him a chance! 🙄 So I agreed to hang out with him after work… and boy was I taken by surprise because I actually had a good time. I hope I don’t sound mean?! As time went by, I discovered a number of great qualities about him: very passionate, intelligence, well-mannered, family-orientated, sensitive (in a good way) and extremely ambitious. I suppose it’s those things that made me develop attraction for him.

But (there’s always a “but”) there were many other qualities I was about to find out….

Middle

Overall, we were together for just under a year, thankfully by the time I broke up with him, I had already left the company! Hurrah! Things were pretty solid for 6/7 months. We took a couple of little trips away, he’d met my family and a few friends (vice versa), he was coming along to family occasions, I practically split my time between my home and his. It was lovely!

Then came the possessive, insecure and controlling behaviour… 😒

Jealousy at work
Most people that know me, are aware that I have a very bubbly, friendly and sociable personality. I’m a little lairy, love cracking jokes and sarcasm. Male or female — how I speak/act towards you, doesn’t change. I’m very much a “what you see is what you get” type of person. The ratio of male to female in the office was something like 80:10. I was quite close with 4 or 5 guys in the office, so I’d always go over and have a chinwag whenever I had some downtime.

Clearly this didn’t sit well with someone and he’d either:
1) Get out of his seat, walk over, hang around, wait for me to finish so he could “talk” to me.
2) Walk past me, attempt to make eye contact and give me evils.
3) Send me passive aggressive texts once I was back at my desk.

LOL!

I had to put up with comments like: “Why were you laughing so much with XXX? What was so funny?” or “Why did you pop to the shops with him and not me?” or “You’ve spoken to him more today than you’ve spoken to your own boyfriend!” — Sometimes I overthink or over analyse things which causes me to question my own actions, even when I’m right! I do it more often when I care about a person. When I first received those kind of messages, it pissed me off massively but I also didn’t want him to feel threatened in anyway. I responded calmly and gave him a lot of reassurance… a lot of it! The thing is, I’m also not a pushover. I already experienced being with a controlling person beforehand so I knew better this time. It wasn’t long until I got fed up of his bullshit.

Invasion of privacy
I used to work at his place and borrow his laptop whenever I left mine at home. Not realising that this was clearly a mistake, I kept myself logged into my emails and the work instant messaging platform (Slack). I didn’t think anything of it at the time until one day at dinner he randomly came out with “I saw your conversation with XXX on Slack… why are you guys joking around like that?” and “You talk to XXX every fucking day, and it’s not even about work.” — I was shocked and almost choked on my orange juice!

This guy needs to adjust his tone! And why did he think it was okay to casually drop in the fact that he was going through my work conversations?
The discussion did not go down well, I lost my appetite and jumped in a cab home.

Ruining my Christmas
It was the Christmas work do and as much as I find these occasions kinda cringe, I had to get involved because there going to be karaoke… and I’m the karaoke queen bitches! 😂 Except that night I wasn’t so much. This guy ruined my mood, all because I had dueted with one of our male colleagues (a mutual friend as well!) Excuse me but if Aladdin’s “A whole new world” is lined up, I’m not missing out on that banger!

While everyone else was clapping and woo-ing, he was sitting there giving me the dirtiest look. At this point, I didn’t give a fuck. He decided to take me to a side and say: “I didn’t appreciate you dueting with him at karaoke!”. I laughed in his face which pissed him even more… so he went home. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Don’t even touch me
With all this bullshit, I was getting exhausted mentally. Who has time to justify their actions at every moment!? I resented him and was pretty much checked out of the relationship. Everything he said pissed me off. Looking at him pissed me off. I started taking my bits and pieces from his place and bringing them back to mine. I didn’t even want him touching me… every time he’d go in for a hug or kiss, I’d turn away and pull a disgusted face, sometimes even put my hand up to stop him for getting closer.

End

There was only one direction this relationship was heading in, and it was straight down the pan! He had to go. I was already preparing my breakup speech which consisted of about 5 sentences. But more importantly, I had a 2 week girly holiday to San Francisco, Miami & Barbados coming up… and I intended to thoroughly enjoy it!!

Based on how we were around each other, he knew it was coming. During the first few days of my holiday, he was constantly texting me and I was completely unbothered. I remember he had text me: “I miss you!” and I recall ignoring it for a whole day then eventually responding with: “We need to talk when I get back. I’d like to enjoy my holiday now so let’s just save it for when I return.”

Harsh but that’s what happens when people are pushed too far. I had a fabulous time and it was a much needed break! I got back in touch with him on the same day I landed. We agreed to meet the following day for a coffee and basically the rest is history. There was no anger towards him whatsoever. If anything, I tried to get him to explain why he carried himself the way he did… but I never got to the bottom of it. Then again it was never my problem to resolve in the first place. I was much happier after breaking free and that was the most important thing.

Final thoughts

While most people will have some level of insecurity/jealousy (there is such thing as a healthy dosage), problems arise when a person’s level of insecurity affects the majority of the relationship… to the point of killing it. An insecure person will always question “why” and feel they’re not good enough. Nothing you can say or do will make an excessively insecure person, secure. You end up wasting a lot of time, effort, and energy. And normally the person who ends up drained, will be you. Everything can be great about someone but insecurity will more than likely override it.