Sunday, October 27, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Signs That You've Got Some Serious Baggage'


As I was doing some research on something for someone, article entitled "5 Signs You're Carrying Emotional Baggage" was one that *could not* be avoided:

1. You're projecting. Those with baggage can oftentimes be riddled with self-doubt. What makes this self-doubt even worse is that, as you see the worst in yourself, you also begin assuming the same of others. If, for example, you're on a first date and feeling wary and quick to judge, you might automatically assume that your date is judging you just as harshly. This, in turn, could make you defensive. Way to kill the buzz before you've even shared your first toast, right? If you're experiencing negative feelings about the person you're with, ask yourself where these feeling are coming from. Could it be that you're making unfounded assumptions?

(For the record on this next one, "infidelity" is really a word for adultery and that doesn't happen in dating but in marriage. Just wanted to clarify that for all of the people who "play house" rather than actually live it: vows, paperwork and all.)

2. You're paranoid. We don't blame you for being a bit suspicious about infidelity, especially if you've been burned in the past. But in order for a relationship to work, you have to trust each other. If you don't fully trust him—or even if you do, and are just being cautious—your paranoia can manifest itself in some extremely unattractive ways: clinginess, neediness, breaches in privacy... (No, we don't condone e-snooping of any kind.) No man (or woman, for that matter) wants to feel as if he's under constant surveillance, especially if he did absolutely nothing to betray your trust. So keep your suspicions in check, unless he's done something that's actually worth worrying about.

3. You're comparing him to lovers past. This goes beyond simple paranoia. It's more subtle and insidious. If you see him smile in a certain way—or utter a certain phrase—and you immediately think of your abusive ex-boyfriend, or that immature idiot you rebounded with, or that unfortunate one-night stand, you're letting your past drag you unnecessarily down. Do you consistently find yourself souring on new dating prospects simply because of unfortunate similarities? It's important to remind yourself that he is not your ex. Try thinking, instead, of all the amazing qualities he has that your ex most certainly did not.

4. You're throwing up walls. We've written in the past about the secrets healthy couples shouldn't keep. This is because, in order to fully commit to each other, you should also know each other pretty darn well. Holding back on emotions, or reliving painful events from the past in ways that affect your present, can keep a relationship stagnant. So ask yourself: what have you been keeping fom him, and why? Chances are, he can tell you're hiding something, and we're sure he'd rather hear about it than be stonewalled.

5. You're holding back from commitment. OK. So commitment-phobes are everywhere, and some of them aren't carrying an ounce of baggage. But in many cases, the fear of tying oneself down can be indicative of a deeper problem. If you're not giving any of your relationships half a chance, it's time to do some soul-searching. There's nothing wrong with being single, but is it what you really want? And if it's not, what's making you hesitate when you come across the possibility of love? If all else fails, consider talking to a therapist or a love/dating coach about burning that persnickety baggage.

Of course, *that* was written by a woman and so I thought it could do a lot of us some good to see this issue from a man's point of view. Yeah. The truth hurts sometimes (LOL). Here's the list from "8 Signs Your Girlfriend Has Emotional Baggage":

1. She has a number of pre-conceived notions

If your girlfriend has fixed notions about some aspects of the relationship, then it could mean that she has some emotional baggage. There may be something that is an absolute no-no for her. For instance, she may insist that you always be the one to say sorry, irrespective of whose fault it is. Also, she may get ticked off by things that might seem completely normal to others. This simply goes on to show that in her previous relationships, she has faced a lot of emotional trauma and thus has several pre-conceived notions of how a relationship should and should not be.

2. She displays extreme emotions

A woman who has emotional baggage may display extreme emotions. One aspect of this is that she may keep all her feelings and emotions bottled up. Any attempt at having a heartfelt conversation with her might end in a disaster. Another aspect of this could be that she is extremely unpredictable about her emotional outbursts. You may see a number of mood swings. This is a sign that your girlfriend has a lot of unresolved emotional conflicts or issues in her past.

3. She is scared of being dependent on someone
Women who have a lot of emotional baggage tend to avoid being dependent on their boyfriends. This could include emotional dependency, financial dependency, and more. They are too scared of getting used to having someone in their life as it could cause them extreme hurt if the person left them in the future. So, to avoid such heartbreaks, they stay away from having any type of dependency on their boyfriends.

4. She has compulsive habits

If your girlfriend has a number of compulsive habits, then it could be a sign of emotional baggage. Such habits may include excessive eating, smoking, drinking, or more. It could be a sign that she is trying to compensate for some unchecked emotion by indulging in compulsive habits.

5. She does not let you into her past

If your girlfriend is extremely secretive about her past, then it could mean that she has a lot of emotional baggage. Such women do not let others into their past and any discussion or inquiry about their previous relationships would yield no results. They either try to avoid the question, or start avoiding you.

6. She seems scared of making a commitment

Women who carry emotional baggage are usually commitment-phobic. This is usually because they have had such bad relationship experiences in the past that they feel scared to associate themselves with another man. If you feel that the woman you wish to date or are dating has not let you in completely, is holding back, or is constantly building walls around her, then it could mean that she has emotional baggage.

7. She has trust issues
If your girlfriend is carrying emotional baggage, then it would not be easy for her to trust you completely. You may find her being over-possessive or highly insecure. In extreme cases, she may keep on checking your phone or your e-mails to ensure that you are not cheating on her. Such behavior is often indicative of the fact that she has had boyfriends in the past who were not loyal to the relationship.

8. She has no social past
Women who have a lot of emotional baggage usually end up having no long-term friends and a hard-to-trace social past. This shows that in order to forget the trauma that she suffered in her previous relationships, she has had to cut old ties, make new friends, and change her social circle. Such a social pattern in an indication that your girlfriend is trying to forget something bad that happened in her past.

Of all of the things that a husband is to be---example, guide, provider, protector---nowhere in the Word does it say that they are supposed to be *a therapist*. So if you see yourself in either list, *now would be the time* to seek some wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5).

Amen? Amen.



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