Unfortunately, not all relationships end well. And even more unfortunately, unresolved issues from those poorly-ended relationships can then affect later relationships. In order to regain control over your capacities to connect with others and develop healthy friendships or romantic relationships, it is important that you can identify and understand the potential effects of your past problems. Here are a few of those things to be aware of!
Make it Harder to Trust
A core part of relationships trust—trust with emotions, with time, with physicality, with information, with weaknesses, with everything. When you have been in a relationship in which your trust was broken, the vulnerability it took to place that trust in another person is completely undone. This often leads the betrayed individual to build ‘walls’ of caution and boundaries between them and other people to protect their feelings from being hurt again. As you meet new people and even begin to form connections with them, it may require a conscious effort and a slower pace to deconstruct those ‘walls’ of distrust and once again open yourself to inviting another person to share your thoughts, feelings, and those vulnerable aspects of your life.
Bring Back Past Trauma
“Harm” can manifest in a number of ways. One may be the breaking of trust, as mentioned before. Other serious forms of traumatic treatment include emotional abuse or manipulation, and physical assault. When an individual is on the receiving end of this kind of treatment, they may develop a condition called post traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD) in which certain physical or action-related triggers can bring back the memories and feelings of the abuse, and therefore cause panic or severe anxiety for the individual. PTSD is also a risk factor for substance abuse issues. If a partner has caused harm because of their addiction, the abused person may feel threatened or nervous around any future partners who use any of those same substances.
Lack of Confidence
Being hurt emotionally (or mentally and physically, for that matter) causes a serious blow to one’s self esteem. Thoughts of “what did I do wrong? Could I have been better? What was wrong with me that made them treat me like that? Why wasn’t I good enough?” sadly come easily to people with unresolved relationship issues. As future relationships become a possibility, those thoughts are dragged back to the surface of emotions and it becomes difficult to have confidence in your abilities to have a successful relationship or to “be good enough” for one! This, of course, is not the case—everyone is worthy and deserving of healthy, happy relationships. It just takes acknowledging that and recognizing that past failures are not determinate of current or future successes!
Don’t let any of these things get in the way of a potentially successful relationship that could bring you the peace and happiness that you want in a partnership! Learn from the past, and let those experiences provide you the right tools for getting it right in the future.
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