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Friday, July 3, 2015

Emotional Baggage and Trauma affect Relationships

Some men have a very hard time relaxing and letting go in their relationships with women.  I think this is due in part to emotional trauma and baggage.  Someone in their past, whether it be their parents or a past lover, did them wrong. And, they don’t know how to get over it and move on.  So, they carry the burden and those hurt feelings with them into their future relationships.  This causes a lot of problems and makes for tumultuous situations.  

Several years ago I used to date a man who I was introduced to by one of my sisters and her husband.  I will call him Tommy (not his real name). They all went to school with him and felt that they knew him very well.  He was described to me as a "good guy who is doing something with his life and staying out of trouble".   My family decided to introduce us to one another while we were all out at the movies one weekend.  He did seem to be a  really smart, well-spoken, nice guy with a good personality.  He was a few years younger than me, Black American, tall and in good shape.  He also had handsome features, with a dimpled smile, slanted eyes and dark smooth chocolate skin.  

We went out on several dates and hit it off very well.  Tommy was about 23 years old and I was 27 at the time.  Several weeks into the romantic courtship,  he began to show some of his true colors.  I am not trying to paint myself as a perfect woman, without fault or flaw.  But, there were a few things that I noticed about him that I did not like.  He was a really heavy cigarette smoker and he always arrived at my apartment with a 40 oz. bottle of beer.  I think these were some habits that he picked up during his time spent in the marines.  They were a big deal for me because I don't smoke or do drugs.  I rarely drink alcoholic beverages.  

I was annoyed at the fact that Tommy would always find a way to talk to me about his ex-wife. Apparently she did a lot of dirt to this young man and he never fully recuperated from it.   I think that everyone has issues.  If you are living on this Earth you have experienced some type of trial or tribulation or have gone though some degree of trauma at least a few times in your life.  No matter how sheltered a person is, one can never live their entire life without experiencing some sort or pain, stress or sorrow.  I think we each have our own coping mechanisms and ways of reacting to trauma and stress. 

Well, about two months into the courtship, he told me that his wife had cheated on him while he was away in Europe serving in the marines.  On top of that, she had completely emptied out this poor man’s bank accounts.  When he returned, he discovered that almost $100,000 dollars of the money that he earned was gone.   She was not paying their bills as she should have been. 

Somehow, Tommy was under the impression that he could sue his wife to recoup the money that she spent without his knowledge.  He was sorely disappointed after his divorce attorney informed him that it was not possible for spouses to sue one another.  In marriage, what’s his is hers and what's hers is his, basically.  That’s why it's important to carefully select  the person that you choose as a life partner.  If you can’t trust that person literally with your life and financial future, then it is not a wise idea to get married to them. 

So, I invited him over to my apartment for one weekend and he showed up again with a forty of Olde English in a brown bag.  I could tell that Tommy had too much to drink because his speech was a little bit slurred and he was temperamental from the moment he walked in the door.  He started taking shots at me.  

I had cooked some dinner, then we ate and watched TV.   All of a sudden he started talking about the people on his job and started ranting about women.  Then, he made the comment that “All women are bitches and whores!”  When, he saw the shock on my face, he caught himself and recanted and saying, “Except for you, my mother and my sister”.  There was no way for him to unsay what he said.  

I told him that he was not going to disrespect me and that he had to get the hell out.   He pleaded with me to stay but I wasn’t having it.  Thinking about it now, I sort of felt bad because the guy was not in any condition to go out there and drive. But, at that moment I was in my feelings and I didn't want him there.  He called me a few hours later that evening and apologized but it was too late.  I had lost respect for and interest in him.  

A few weeks after that incident, my brother-in-law called asking me how things were going between me and Tommy.  He was curious because Tommy called him after our fight and told him what happened.  Tommy was crying, saying that he thinks he fucked up.  I said, "Yeah, he’s right. He did fuck up!"  My brother-in-law basically called fishing for information to pass on to Tommy (they were homies). I cut straight to the chase and told him that I wasn't interested in reconciling with Tommy.  I didn’t hear from Tommy for several weeks after that and it appeared that he had moved on.  

Tommy is not a bad person by any stretch.  He has a lot going for him but, I think that Tommy has some emotional issues and unfinished business that he needs to work on. I think that he married too young and he chose the wrong person.  And forming a legal and emotional bond with a toxic person, can lead to a lifetime of heartache, ruin and despair. 

 He was still holding onto what his wife did to him and probably some other stuff that he never told me about.  I also think that Tommy leans too much on the drink when he is stressed out and sad.  It’s something that he needs to work on or he will just continue to repeat the same mistakes and make his future girlfriends pay for his issues.  Since he couldn’t make his ex-wife pay, he is probably making everyone else pay on a subconscious level. 

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