I've often heard that, "No one escapes childhood (or young adulthood) unscathed,"I'm guessing here, but I believe we all come to relationships with our own individual baggage. Some of us with towering, paralyzing piles of it.
I know the two of us did.
Not long after we met, N helped me to open up my suitcases, rummage through the mess inside and then after some good long cries, let me know that he loved me in spite of it all. And I provided a sympathetic ear for N to talk about his baggage--to talk about what he wanted or was able to share.
I'd like to believe that we helped each other come to grips with our pasts--examining, understanding and then letting most of it go. BUT we still have issues connected with our pasts that we crash into from time to time. Stress seems to be the cause of bringing these things to the surface. And because it is mired in our pasts, I find it difficult to figure out what's current and what's old crap.
We went to see a therapist every week for about 9 months to help us deal with one of our last (and worse) bouts. It was a good, cleansing experience, but now that several months have passed I'm not sure if we were given any tools to deal on our own. During our sessions it felt good to have my statements interpreted into something N could understand and vice versa. I think we both gained more insight into the effects our pasts had on us. But it stops there. Emotions run too high to tackle it on our own in an hour's time.
And so, after trying to be understood, I realize that I need to try and understand, too. End result? I'll be giving some things up I enjoy for the good of our relationship. He's worth it.