Even though, our romantic relationships take place in the present moment, often they are influenced by the ghosts of our childhood. Do you sometimes hear your mother’s voice in your head telling you what you have to do? Does this really serve you well?
I once met a great man. He had lived through a very painful childhood with a parent who had problems with alcohol. As a child, he learned not to trust anybody. He was in a relationship for ten years now, and he said with deep conviction in his voice: I’ll never trust my girlfriend. Why should I? His voice expressed the pain and anger he felt as a child. He carried this ghost with him, each day. I could feel his pain. I also grew up with the belief that I couldn’t trust anybody. However, this belief made the world an insecure and lonely place. How can you experience true connection if you don’t trust? During a dark night of my soul, when this pain became nearly unbearable, I chose to open my heart and learned to trust others. Yes, it was a risk and, sometimes, I trusted people who didn’t deserve it. But the benefit was greater than the risk: I longed for love and belonging, and my decision empowered me to create nurturing and supportive relationships.
What are the ghosts you carry around with you?
I don’t know what your ghosts are. My ghosts were violence and manipulation. I tried different ways to deal with them – ignoring them, running away or getting angry. But they didn’t go away and haunted me in my romantic relationships. Finally, I found a solution: shining light on them and looking at them compassionately. This awareness gradually transformed them and empowered me to be ready for the love I wanted to experience.
You can’t choose your childhood and your family. If you have grown up in a family with insecure and painful relationships, this impacts the way you relate with other people. If you had great role-models in your childhood, your romantic relationships are likely to be smooth. If not, that’s something you should take care of. As human beings, we tend to be attracted by what we know, and we tend to repeat what we have learned from our family. If your past limits you and doesn’t bring you happiness, then it’s time to clear these patterns. No, you can’t change the past. It was as it was, with its delights, regrets and injustices.
But does your childhood have to haunt you for all your life? Do you have to repeat your parent’s destiny?
As an adult, you have choices. You can write your relationship story, and I know that you can create a magnificent one. If you don’t do anything or blame your parents for what was, the ghosts of your past are likely to haunt you for your lifetime. Another option is to open your heart, heal the wounds of your past and learn new behaviours that empower you to experience nurturing relationships. You may ask: Why should I? It wasn’t my fault. Yes, you are right. You have been innocent as a child. But you are an adult now, you are responsible for who you are. You can stick on blaming your parents or life in general or whomever you want to blame. Blame won’t change anything. The alternative is to sit down with yourself, compassionately take responsibility for this wounded child within you and become a great parent for her. This way, you can create the love you deserve. Nobody else can do this – neither your parents nor your partner. Only you can heal yourself and reclaim your wholeness. This process is like peeling an onion. With each layer you peel off, you get better connected with yourself and you will become happier. You will dare to show up as who you are in your relationship. And this is the basis for true love and belonging. Sitting down with myself wasn’t always comfortable, but it enabled me to experience love and belonging and to create nurturing and caring relationships. And that’s what you truly want to experience, isn’t it?
If you don’t change anything, you will get the same result as always. Start to walk on a different path today. Make a list and write down the following points:
- What are the ghosts of your childhood that are still haunting you in your relationships?
- What do you want to experience instead of them?
- Are you willing to release your ghosts?
- What is the first step you can take today to realize your dream?
Do you want to read more? Check the post How to become a modern heroine.