When a couple enters into a relationship, they bring into the relationship a lot from their past. If it is not disposed of, it affects the interpersonal relationship between the two.

If you have in some way been emotionally scarred prior to entering a new relationship and those scars remain unhealed, then you may be inadvertently and unintentionally contaminating the relationship.

If you have had a painful and combative relationship with either one or both of your parents, you may have great difficulty relating freely with your partner.

Sigmund Freud’s view is that all symptoms, strange and unhealthy ways of thinking and behaving, are due to an effort to cope with and adjust with life, which though necessary to survive at a particular time and in a particular environment, might not be appropriate in the present scenario.

In addition to emotional scars, we also carry thoughts, feeling and behaviour patterns of our childhood in our body-mind. Each person has three ego states, which are distinct sources of behaviour; the parent ego state, the child ego state and the adult ego state. When you are acting, thinking and feeling as you observed your parents to be doing, you are in your parent ego state. When you are feeling and acting as you did when you were a child, you are in your child ego state. When you are dealing with current reality, gathering facts and computing objectively, you are in your adult ego state.

The truth is that you cannot give away what you do not have. If your heart is encumbered with pain and angst, and if your mind is controlled by unconscious childhood patterns, you cannot give unencumbered love to anyone. You become part of the ‘pain chain’, wherein your own victimisation is transferred to other people; a ‘victim’ creates another ‘victim’ and the ‘pain chain’ goes on.

Don’t delude yourself into thinking that you can effectively compartmentalise your emotional pain and keep it from infecting your relationship. It requires immense amounts of energy even to keep it contained, where it constantly bubbles waiting to erupt. Moreover, the very fact that so much of energy is devoted to containment of the pain undeniably changes you. In fact, if there is anything worse than having a problem, it is denying that you have one.

You may have been victimised but understand that those who have victimised you have themselves been a victim of circumstances. One victim victimises another. And you create more victims if you don’t consciously choose to break the ‘pain chain’.

I am not suggesting that you as a child were accountable for what happened to you. Having said that, accountability would mean that the adult (grown child) holds the responsibility for what he or she does about the aftermath of painful events in life.

If you are aware in the present, you break away from past and you create a new future, and you heal—you are no more a victim, but a survivor.


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