People say you shouldn’t live in the past but the truth is that the past influences your future. After working with countless couples as a marriage counselor I see on a daily basis how our past influences our relationships. It can be as little as how we wear our hair because a past boyfriend said it looked bad curly or as big as how we choose a partner based on how we were treated before. The past is always with us; it has imprinted upon us a way of how we view ourselves, others, and the world. Three factors that can impact your relationships from your or your partners past are:
If you or your partner have experienced trauma in the past it should not be taken lightly. Trauma has a way of sticking around in the darkest parts of our brains. If one has not processed and healed past trauma it can cause maladaptive thinking, hypervigilant behavior, dissociation, attachment issues, and sexual dysfunction to name a few.
Whether it is addiction to substances, alcohol, or pornography your partner and your relationship will benefit from knowing that you have or are still suffering with a use/abuse disorder. Addiction can affect the relationship in many ways such as lying, manipulating, and rationalizing. A common theme I have seen in relationships where addiction has been kept secret is gas lighting- manipulating someone into questioning their (the non-addicted partner) own sanity. Those suffering with addiction will go to great lengths to keep their disease a secret.
If a partner has been neglected by others in the past specifically if it was by their family of origin (the individuals that raised them) this can have a profound affect on how they behave in relationships. Typically those who have abandonment issues also struggle with being too controlling or too passive, have a hard time trusting others, believe they themselves are unworthy of love, and are insecure and self-depricating.
Begin Individual or Relationship Counseling in Paoli, PA
The best way to keep the past from causing damage in your future relationships is to seek help from a professional counselor. A therapist can evaluate and aid in processing unhealthy behavioral and thought patterns. They will also provide insight and guidance to help ensure happy and stable relationships. Lastly, be open and honest not only with your partner, but with yourself.
Are you looking for a counselor in the Philadelphia area? If you are ready to improve communication and gain confidence in your relationship, reach out today! I offer individual therapy as well as premarital, couples & marriage therapy in my Paoli, PA counseling based counseling office as well as in home counseling sessions.
Natalie Nesbitt, MS, LPC, NCC loves working with couples! Helping them find the passion in their relationship; remove blocks that are keeping them from being their best; learning to have a marriage they have only dreamed. Providing personalized couples therapy and life counseling at her private psychotherapy practice in Paoli, Pennsylvania, conveniently located on the Main Line. She has helped countless couples save their marriages and/or relationships and come back from the deepest of betrayals.