You May Still be Processing Pain From Your Past Relationships Without Even Realising It
By Marie Miguel
Breaking up with someone can be traumatic. Regardless of whether you initiated the breakup or your ex did, it can take a lot of time to process the relationship, the breakup, and where to go from there.
If you are looking for a new relationship or you are looking to cultivate a better relationship with yourself, your friends, or your family, it is important to close the painful chapter of an ex–significant other.
Deciding to move on from an experience does not typically mean suppressing it. In fact, it can often mean that you spend some time intentionally facing the pain and the associated fears (what some people refer to as “baggage”).
This way, you are more capable of entering new relationships with yourself and others without stringing along any of the pain from the previous relationship.
If you don’t want to do it alone, seek out the guidance of a mental health professional, such as those at BetterHelp. It can be an incredibly liberating way to learn when and if you’re ready to address any pain that was inflicted.
Here are some ways in which you might be processing the pain from a previous relationship:
• Lack of trust
• Emotional manipulation
• Desire to be dependent
Lack of Trust
If you have trouble trusting yourself or other potential partners, you might be carrying some unresolved pain from a previous relationship.
In many cases, people experience a lack of trust because they were previously abandoned, cheated on, lied to, or embarrassed in some capacity. While these experiences can be emotional, it does not grant one permission to cause someone else pain.
Trust is incredibly foundational in any relationship, so learning to trust again can be vitally important. When you trust another person, you give yourself the opportunity to love fully. You give the other person the ability to show up for you.
It stops becoming a game when you take time to establish trust.
Losing trust is one big risk that goes with trying to trust at all. There is always a chance that you will be let down, disappointed, or upset by something someone else does.
The hard but important lesson to learn is that you have minimal control over other people’s actions. The best you can do is be clear about what you need, give it in return (so that it is always a partnership), and set boundaries before lines are crossed.
If lines are crossed and trust is lost, you have the right to end the relationship, but remember: the next person you date is not the one who broke your heart.
Give yourself a chance to start anew. Give yourself the chance to trust.
If you were emotionally manipulated during a relationship, you might have been the recipient of gaslighting, lying, or transactional benefits.
Manipulation of any kind is never okay, but emotional manipulation can be so incredibly sneaky that it might take you a while to realise that it ever even happened.
Did they frequently propose ultimatums? Did they frequently use the silent treatment or shut you down during an argument? Did they require a transaction for any sort of affection or basic task?
A lot of things can be masked as emotional manipulation. Even if your ex hinged their physical and mental wellbeing on you, what might seem sweet in the moment could have been emotional manipulation.
Explore these occurrences and thoughts, possible with a mental health professional if it might help, to try finding your best path forward toward healthier relationships.
Desire to Be Dependent
If you have left one relationship and feel desperate to be in another, you might be struggling with an issue of dependence.
Many times, people get accustomed to having one person that they talk with throughout the day. It can be comforting to have one person they share intimate details with and lean on for support.
When you break up with a significant other, you may suddenly feel pushed into a realm of independence. It can be difficult to navigate, and difficult to feel like you can manage alone.
It can be important to repair that inner relationship to your independence rather than bringing the pain into a new relationship.
If you are in need of a mental health professional to help guide you through the experience of a breakup, do not be afraid to seek one out. Give yourself permission to grieve this relationship so you can bring the best version of yourself into the next one.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.