This week's question comes from Lisa:
Dear Orna and Matthew,
I've enjoyed your work for a while now and have a question.
I’ve been on the self-growth and healing path for most of my lifetime and specifically working on relationship stuff for the past 5 years.
After healing through my divorce in 2012 and a toxic relationship later. I believe I've met someone really truly sent for me. We've been seeing each other about 6 months and it is by far and away the healthiest relationship I've ever had, and probably the first with a self-responsible, emotionally fluent, quality MAN. It’s been an interesting road for me in learning how to trust and receive and I'm proud of the way I've grown and changed. It’s brave of me to let someone close after some hard knocks and mistakes, and he is patient and respectful and constant in his giving and pursuing me.
My problem is this. I entered into a marriage in my mid 20's with a man I didn’t know was an alcoholic. 4 years and much horror later, I was out.
This new man drinks. Almost every day. It’s usually only 1-2 drinks, and I don't see any ugly or avoidant behavior, but just the fact of alcohol at all is freaking me out. He is aware of my past and that his habits concern me.
How can I ever separate what may be triggers from past trauma, from what may be a situation that I need to avoid? And full disclosure I enjoy drinking socially. I enjoy drinking with him. I do not want to be with a teetotaler, but I'm not an addict and will never drink every day. He seems to be everything I respect and admire for myself and my sons, a potential soulmate, but this one thing is really giving me anxiety. Can we escape our past traumas in love? Am I just being avoidant? Can I calm my nerves and keep observing this over time?
Thank you for your work, you've taught me a lot.
Thanks for reaching out with this great question. Past traumas can have a profound effect on how someone chooses a partner and behaves in a relationship. Avoiding negative emotion from the past is not an effective way to create Love On Purpose.
Before we get into how to release negative emotions from the past, we want to address your mindset (something we see from a lot of the questions we get). Implied in your question is the belief that this man you have been dating is rare. We are glad to hear that this is the healthiest relationship you’ve ever had. Congratulations!
However, that doesn’t mean that if it didn’t work out you couldn’t find something even better. We are not implying that you should end this relationship. He sounds like a good match for you. We are suggesting that instead of getting too attached to this relationship having to be the only option for you, that you adopt the mindset of, “This or better.”
Orna had been practicing this mantra for a while when she met Matthew. She was excited that she had met Matthew and wanted the relationship to continue to grow and deepen. She also knew that if it didn’t work out, that something better was in store for her. Adopting this mindset will allow you to not get too attached to the outcome, and to continue to grow no matter what happens.
You are correct when you say that your past traumas are clouding your vision of this man’s behavior. Your subconscious (and conscious) desire to avoid the pain you experienced when you were younger is highlighting certain behaviors and triggering negative emotions like fear.
By your own admission his drinking 1-2 glasses a day is not affecting his behavior or his emotional availability – and this is the key! Addiction is about avoiding negative emotion.
You can think of addiction as any behavior that a person consistently uses to avoid negative emotion and that this behavior negatively affects a person’s ability to connect emotionally with another person. The behavior may also negatively affect a person’s ability to perform their job, pay their bills, or maintain intimate relationships.
This does not sound like a description of the man you are dating. By your own admission he is great for you and your family.
Your journey is for you to release the negative emotions you hold from your past experiences. Our subconscious likes to clump similar information together saying, “This is like that.” It does this to help us survive; however this strategy often gets in the way of our ability to thrive.
Healing the anxiety and hurt from your past relationships will set you free. Unfortunately, you can’t heal that by reading a newsletter or book. This deep inner work only occurs by getting help from someone who specializes in working with the subconscious mind. This is our specialty!
We recommend our audio program, “The Burn Your Baggage Formula™.”
This program is designed to release negative emotions from your past experiences. It doesn’t mean that you will no longer feel negative emotions; that is part of being human. What it does mean is that you can release the compounded emotions and the clumping of one event to another that our brains are wired to do.
You can heal and move on from past hurts and traumas when you access the subconscious directly. The Burn Your Baggage Formula™ is designed for you to have the transformation simply by listening.
We want you to know that you are not somehow destined to settle for good enough, that releasing these past hurts and trauma will allow you to be more present to your current relationship so you can evaluate if this is a long-term match for you.
Love and Abundance,