Many of us have struggled through relationships with the wrong people before finding love, and we often carry the emotional baggage from those relationships with us as we enter into new relationships. It is important that we learn to recognize what our emotional baggage is and how to unpack it so it doesn’t hurt our chances of having successful, loving relationships in the future.

Emotional baggage can be caused by a number of things. Here are some of the most common types of emotional baggage that may affect your current or future relationships.

History of Stress in the Family

A person’s family dynamic is at the core of who they are as an individual. If they have grown up in a house with strained relationships, there is no doubt it has had an effect on how they interact with others. They may have a family member who is abusing drugs, a sibling they just can’t along with, or they may have experienced abuse within the home. These things can affect self-esteem, the strength of interpersonal relationships, or cause distrust, anxiety, depression, or PTSD.

In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente conducted a study of over 17,000 adults where they gave participants physical examinations in conjunctions with confidential surveys about their childhood experiences. They identified what they call the ACE Pyramid, which tracks how Adverse Childhood Experiences lead to decreased neurodevelopment, which leads to mental, social, and emotional impairment. All of this increases the risk of social problems, disease, and addictive behaviors as adults.

As Psychiatrist and author Roger Gould said, “Deep inside us, we know what every family therapist knows: the problems between the parents become the problems within the children.”

Depression/Mental Health

A person who has been diagnosed with depression or another mental health disorder often feels unworthy or hopeless. They may put themselves down frequently or need extra reassurance from their partners. They also might unintentionally start fights, complain, or have doubts about the future of the relationship.

Past Romantic Relationships

Ending a relationship with someone you have cared a great deal about is never easy. Sometimes a person may hold onto affectionate feelings for an ex or continue to maintain contact with them. They might have feelings of resentment or anger toward an ex that carry into a new relationship, or that even prevents them from beginning a new relationship altogether.

Fortunately, having emotional baggage from difficult past relationships does not mean all future relationships are doomed to fail. However, it is necessary to recognize the things that are weighing you down and learn how to process these emotions in a healthy way to facilitate healing.

According to Natalie Nelson, Master Energy Healer at Discover Healing, “The general approach to love is lacking. … People are trying to get rid of symptoms without removing the root causes within themselves.” In her webinar 90 Minutes to Discover the Secrets to True and Lasting Love, she also points out that the divorce rate in America is 41% for people in their first marriage, 60% for second marriages, and 73% for third marriages. She explains that these numbers rise because the amount of emotional baggage being carried into each new relationship has increased with the stress of the previous divorce.

Discover Healing offers resources for those looking for help with healing from their emotional baggage. Programs like The Emotion Code, The Body Code, and Resonating Relationships: The Energy of Romance can help you find the root causes of the emotions in your body and guide you through the healing process. Click here to learn more. .

You can also help prevent emotional baggage from piling up in other ways. Popular suggestions include meditation, yoga, journaling, therapy, working out, grounding exercises,or coaching from a mentor. Practice being continually aware of your emotions and learning to feel them, process them, and let them go.