The Weight of My Emotional Baggage

I hired a new coach, she’s fantastic. She broke my brain in our very first session. Cracked that bad boy wide open, and I’ve had breakthrough after breakthrough since. This week’s breakthrough was realizing just how much emotional baggage I’ve been carrying around in my relationship with my husband, Chris.

Being in a blended family is freaking hard! With so many moving pieces and involvement of several different personalities, it’s impossible not to have conflict. Oh man, Chris, and I have seen some conflict! And this week, I saw for the first time just how many of the big fights and hurt feelings I’ve been collecting and carrying with me.

Every argument we’ve had over his exes, my ex, the kids. Every time I felt he should have protected me and didn’t. I let it weigh on my heart, my mind, and my world. So whenever we’d get into a big fight, I’d drag out my bag of injustices and throw all that shit at him. It was some Santa level baggage, and I was hanging onto all that stuff for dear life. Even after he’d apologized and owned his part.

Somewhere in my brain, I think I imagined that holding onto all of it was my way of punishing him for hurting me. It felt justified. It felt purposeful. It felt important, and I had a shit-ton of evidence to support it all (which only made me argue for all the reasons I thought I deserved to hang onto it).

But this is what I finally realized. I was so focused on collecting and keeping track of every time I’ve been wronged, I had a hard time seeing all the stuff that was actually going right. Bringing up all that old shit not only discounted the progress we’d already made, it was preventing us from maintaining it, causing the yo-yo of being awesome one week and then fighting the next. 

I thought hanging on to all that stuff was necessary. I thought it would prevent me from getting hurt again. But now I see carrying all that stuff around was only hurting me. I was the cause of my own suffering, and you know what suffering doesn’t lead to? Security, happiness, connection, appreciation, forgiveness, resilience, all things that I view as important in a marriage.

You guys, when I could finally see this, it was like the clouds parted, and a million pounds had been lifted from my chest. I felt lighter, freer, it was insanely liberating. How had I not seen it? Reliving it over and over again was not only optional but completely unnecessary. But now I DO SEE it. So I put that shit down and didn’t turn back. I’ve always considered our marriage to be really, really good and now I see what has been holding me back from helping make it great. 

Why is this important? Because we don’t just do this with husbands, partners, and paramours. We do this with friends, family, co-workers, and when co-parenting. Disagreements will happen. Hurt feelings will arise. People will disappoint you and make you angry. We are humans. We are imperfect. We make mistakes. You can’t control the humans. This is a reminder that avoiding pain is not an option. But choosing suffering is.