Space Mountain – How to Love Someone with Emotional Baggage

June 30, 2021

At some point, everyone has been in a relationship with someone (or been the person themselves) whose emotional baggage is affecting the relationship negatively.

Maybe she doesn’t let you in too close, because she’s afraid to become attached and lose you like she lost her father, maybe he is on the defense with you, because he dated women who were controlling and so he thinks you’re trying to take away his freedom. Few individuals, have the rare ability to work through their own baggage, and leave it in the past. 

With the help from a loving partner, your man or woman will be able to leave the baggage in the past where it belongs, and experience the fullness of your love.

To understand where baggage comes from, we have to look at human behavior. There is a fundamental truth that affects everyone no matter how intelligent you are; when you are exposed to something repeatedly, you believe it to be true. This phenomenon is called the illusionary truth effect; and it’s used in politics, the media and the practice of law, to influence our choices and beliefs.

  • Advertisers use the illusionary truth effect to convince you that their product is something you need. 
  • Radio uses this effect to influence you to support and love artists:
  • This effect also works brilliantly on social media, where false “facts” spread like wildfire. 
  • Lawyers use it; to build a case for their client.
  • And, Michael Jackson used the strategy while he was working on the “Bad” album, when he wrote on his mirrors “100 Million Albums Sold for Bad”. 

How to Help your Partner Leave the Baggage Behind

Those of you who have been in a relationship with someone who has been cheated on know this to be true; She or He does not believe you no matter how much you try to convince them you are not going to cheat. This is because repeated information is seen to be more truthful than new information.

Baggage doesn’t always come from romantic relationships. Imagine your mother is an anxious woman, and she was particularly anxious that you would get kidnapped as a kid. As you grew up, you formed your own anxieties about being kidnapped, and when you had your own child, your anxieties escalated even more. This is the result of the illusionary truth effect. Through repeated interactions with your mother, and consistently hearing about her anxieties, you took on her fears as your own and believe the threat of being kidnapped to be true. 

Key Communication Strategies to make Truths Stick and Myths Fade: FOCUS ON TRUTH

1. Repetition – repeat what is true.

This is vital in order to rewire what your man or woman believes to be true. Even if your partner experienced the cause of their baggage or trauma years or even decades ago, they have replayed those memories in their head over, and over, and over. The new truth that you share, has to be repeated enough times to replace those thoughts. This takes patience.

Do not repeat what is not true, even if you’re bringing it up to tell your partner it’s not true.  *Remember, the more you repeat something, the more a person will believe it to be true. 

A study at the University of Toronto had participants read statements, and they were told which statements were true and which ones were false. 3 days later, the participants were tested. They were more likely to believe that all of the statements they had read before were true, including the false ones.

The brain uses a subconscious shortcut when deciding if something is true; we ask ourselves “have I heard this before?” And if so, it registers as true.

Get this: Participants who were told 3 times that a statement was false were more likely to believe it as true when compared to those who were only told once

Instead of bringing up your partner’s false beliefs, replace it with something positive. *This is a tactic that Public Relations pros and Political Campaign Strategists know and use.

In the case of a partner who has been cheated on, instead of saying “I’m not going to cheat on you, try saying “I only want to be with you”. 

2. Focus on the facts, and make them easy to remember.

As children, we are taught the alphabet with the ABC song, and as high schoolers we learn the mathematical order of operations using the acronym “PEMDAS”. The brain latches on to what is repeated, and easy to remember. Memorizing “Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction” is going to take a whole lot longer to learn than simply remembering “PEMDAS”. 

Make the truth you communicate to your partner as easy to remember as PEMDAS. Let go of all your “cool” and ego and use clear and simple words, and get to the point; your partner should be able to remember and repeat this information 3 days later. 

*Studies find that the more explanation you give for why something is true, the less believable it becomes. 

3. Let them know it’s coming.

One of the most powerful ways to avoid misinformation is to let your partner know it is coming. Let’s say your wife becomes upset every time you plan a night out with your boys, and she takes it as a sign that you are sick of her. Of course this is not true, but by the time you get back from your night out, she is mad at you and won’t tell you why. To avoid this, let her know it (the misinformation) is coming. 

It looks something like this; “Hey baby, I’m having a boys night on Friday night. Please don’t think this means I am sick of you, I love you and want to give you the best of me. Sometimes in order to give the best of me, I need to recharge with my boys and just be one of the guys. I hope you can understand, and not take it personal”. This time, when you go out with the boys, she will recognize when her usual feelings of upset starting to boil to the surface, and will remember what you said. Repeat this enough, and that pre boys night talk will be her new truth. 

Choose a partner you are willing to work with; and you will have a happy life. Living with emotional baggage is like being on a roller coaster in the dark; you can’t see what’s coming. Through the 3 practices above, you will arm yourselves with the protection necessary to keep you and your partner safe while on the ride. Through consistent practice, you will exit the roller coaster, hand in hand.