Recently I was having lunch with a friend who had just started dating someone a few months ago. His face lit up as he told me about this woman and how much fun they were having together. Towards the end of that part of the conversation, however, he exclaimed, “But… I am a victim of her past relationships.

So I asked him what he meant by that and he continue that she had a few “bad ones” and she was slow to really trust him. He was still hoping that his girlfriend would sooner or later (hopefully sooner) see that he was different.

Having worked with several clients who felt victimized by a significant other’s past, I suddenly realized we date our partner’s shadows! (The part of them that maintains the emotional baggage and ways of handling it.)

Our partner brings past experiences not just from youth but from all parts of their experiences of life and are dictated by their shadow beliefs. Limiting belief systems, hidden (and not so hidden) fears and negative interpretations that have been both consciously and non-consciously created about relationships and love when we’re children. This is when we receive the initial messages through parental and our own relationships – way before we can really process it or understand it fully.

Our shadow selves contain subconscious limiting beliefs that are created as a result from our environment we were raised in. They also are formed from emotionally charged events that happen in our youth (usually before the age of 9). We make meaning out of our world and create limiting interpretations that shape our reality.

Whether they came from the interactions of our parents (who have shadow beliefs as well) or abandonment issues from a dad or other person who is never around, or what was seen/heard about other relationship, we form shadow beliefs like:

“She doesn’t love me, nobody ever has.”

“I can’t trust anyone.”

“Love hurts too much.”

“If I gain weight (not being perfect), he won’t want me.”

“I might as well just stay because I won’t find anyone who treats me nice.”

These are the types of shadow beliefs that dictate who we choose for a partner and interact with them. These kinds of belief systems cause people to leave before they are left, to overeat or use other behaviors, becoming too clingy, or procrastinating on plans for the future.

Our shadow beliefs can create our futures. If you or your significant other believes that love is painful, then it will be for your partner and s/he will make drama to make it so. If your partner has a shadow belief that people will disappoint him/her, then no matter what you do or say, you will likely someday become the next disappointment in that person’s life.

One thing I know though is that we can shift our shadow beliefs and create a better story. I love working with people who are willing to unconceal their shadow beliefs that are causing them to react in certain ways. People also begin to acknowledge that the way their partner reacts to them and their experiences is not about them but still about the partner. It actually isn’t “personal” and compassion can begin to set it paving the way for healing emotional wounds.

Whenever someone says to me, “I want to find my soulmate,” I usually answer, “Then you’re looking for someone to create drama and help you heal from your past.” They usually don’t like that answer, but it’s the truth.

Our shadow beliefs come out with other types of situations, as well, like business and friends. They also get to teach us how to evolve, grow and heal.

Here are some questions/steps to help you begin to evolve from your limiting beliefs:

1. What kind of environment did you grow up in? Was it emotionally charged around love and relationship?

2. How have those beliefs impacted your experiences?

3. Replace the negative shadow beliefs with better ones that will help you in getting the love you want and deserve.

4. Make an appointment for relationship coaching with hypnotherapy to help you repair your relationship with yourself and your partner.

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