Those who have dabbled in online dating have surely seen profiles that claim to have zero emotional baggage, adding that they are looking for a "drama-free" person with no baggage of his or her own. My initial reaction to that is "Really? Tell me where it's buried!" Frankly, we all have baggage. I know I have plenty and yes, sometimes it can cause a little bit of emotional drama. So our baggage isn't a secret, but the bigger issues are how we stow it and what triggers it to come tumbling out of our suitcases.
Many years ago, when I was training to become a psychotherapist, I boldly — or perhaps, in hindsight, brazenly — announced that my issues with my mother had pretty much been fixed. Note the "pretty much." Not entirely. Of course, that was easy enough to claim because I was living in France and she was in Los Angeles. Our distance made life and our relationship easy. Between a lack of physical presence and carefully calculated phone conversations, it was easy enough to pride myself on being baggage-free; the issues were hidden.
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Fast forward seven years later when I decided to repatriate back to Los Angeles after nearly 30 years of living abroad. I wanted to be closer to family, including my (at that time) 79-year-old mother. I reazlied that my baggage, once so neatly packed away, was about to burst open faster than the Concorde taking flight!
It's been several years since my return and sometimes this excess baggage shows up in a very unwelcome fashion. However, I've learned to identify my buttons and how to choose my responses to conflict, knowing that how I react is my issue, not hers.
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Our emotional baggage can be tricky to deal with. Unfortunately, our suitcases don't look like the baggage claim belt at the airport, with proud nametags and pretty ribbons tied on to distinguish them from everyone else's. Our baggage hides out in the lost luggage office — usually in a far away airport, one we may have visited so many years ago. Keep Reading...
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