Ghosts of Past Loves - Advice on Letting Go of Your Past, So You Can Have a Healthy Future
Dear April Masini,
I am a 35-year-old woman who has found herself in a string of dead-end relationships. Some of them have been due to the men that I picked -- they weren't good for me -- and others were due to the way I treated great guys who came into my life and quickly exited. I tend to shut people out and try not to get too attached."
I was married once, when I was much younger, and it ended quickly because he was unfaithful. Since then, things have gone downhill. What's wrong with me?
Alone and Helpless
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Alone and Helpless,
Call it Karma, or call it psychology, but there most definitely is a connection between your past and your present. Some people choose to accept Karma as the reason for their luck or lack of it. I choose to ask my readers and clients to take responsibility for their choices — and that means looking at your past, and figuring out why you want what you want and why you’re getting, or not getting, as the case may be, what you want in a partner. This means that you are going to need to take a long, hard look at your relationship with your ex-husband and address the issues that appear to have come out of it for you.
Three Examples of How Past Relationships Affect Present Relationships:
* Some men or women have intimacy issues that stem from their pasts. They’ve had damage done to them in the past that makes them fear intimacy. That leads them to have a string of boyfriends or girlfriends — or marriages — rather than staying with one person long enough to get to core of who they are — meaning their self and their partner.
*Some men and women get too physically intimate too fast because of their pasts. Anyone with a sexual abuse in their own past, especially as a child, has a tendency to be promiscuous, and this can complicate and confuse relationships.
* Some men and women who grew up with addicted parents — whether the addiction was alcoholism, drugs or something else — are used to chaos, and will think that being in chaotic relationships is normal, because it is what their past has allowed them to normalize.
Three Ways to Adjust Your Karma By Working On Your Self
* Fear of intimacy or abandonment is NOT a relationship death sentence. If you can recognize your intimacy and abandonment wounds, and be aware of them, you’ll recognize when you’re reacting to your past in current relationships, rather than reacting purely to the behavior of you and your partner in that moment. Recognition is the first step. Adjusting your behavior so it is not a reaction to your past, but a reaction to the present, will heal you. It’s not easy to do, but it works.
*Sexual abuse can be treated in the same way. Remembering and recognizing the abuse is a first step. Realizing the situation, now that you are an adult, is a second step. For instance, most children who are sexually abused don’t realize that what is happening is abuse. Often it is inflicted by a relative or family friend. Understanding and accepting anger and loss over what happened, can begin your healing. Seeing relationships now, as different from the past, is also a step towards letting the past go, and changing your present karma — or relationship history.
* There are plenty of regulated programs for people who are addicts or are partners or adult children of addicts. The essence of these programs is recognizing the addiction, separating yourself from it, and adjusting your own life to choose and act in a healthy way with healthy people.