Old Relationships Affect Us Today

Old relationships affect us. They inform our feelings, thoughts and actions for our present interactions. But how aware are we of this fact? Join JJ and Melissa as they explore this interesting topic.

September 7, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness Journey podcast. This little banner is about a car ride long and features your hosts JJ Parker. And Melissa Albert's JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years. So JJ, normally you are the best storyteller, and you always kick us off while our pods. But I've been noticing something that the last couple of weeks that I wanted to share with you and ask you your opinion about and that is? Have you ever noticed how past relationships interfere or inform or change our current relationships? Hey, the reason I'm asking the question, yeah, the reason I'm asking is because I have had many conversations in the last couple of weeks where people are sort of reflecting and they may not even have the awareness that they are, but reflecting about how a certain relationship and it could be a boss relationship, or a peer relationship, or a spouse or a dating anything, they how a past relationship has wounded or hurt someone. And when they're looking at their lives today, and they're looking to perhaps replace that role. I won't say replace the relationship, but replace that role. There's a lot of sometimes there's a lot of fear, entering into a new relationship or concern for replicating something that happened in a past relationship. Got me thinking, Oh, my goodness, there's so much of that in us. You know, we're so impacted by who we have been in rapport with who we spend our time with who we've exchanged energy with. And when we leave a relationship, how often do we feel good about it? Not very, I don't think very often, even if it's well intended in its time. It feels yeah, there's a lot of energy around that, like past relationships.

JJ Parker  2:11  
Hmm, that makes me think of like a lot of a whole lot of different things.

Melissa Albers  2:17  
I know. Well, like I said, usually, our stories just flow and we go from there. But you know, whenever Melissa starts something, it's always gonna be a little windy.

JJ Parker  2:28  
But like we call out we call it wandering around in the woods. Yes, exactly. But like, well, so this, I mean, the first segue you said was like, we're social creatures, right? Yeah. We seek, like relationships with people and interactions with people and, and our past relationships certainly affect our current or new relationships, right? Because we don't want to get hurt again. Or, like we don't we like or dislike certain things from past relationships. We try to apply that to the, to the current situation. Yeah. Right. Kind of like being creatures of habit a little bit.

Melissa Albers  3:14  
Right. Right. Right. But what I think is so yes, exactly. Right. Thank you for summarizing my Mandarin. But you know, what I was just thinking about, though, is when we're not aware of the fact that that's what we're doing. We enter into something new, with rather than joy and openness. A lot of times we enter into a new relationship with anxiety about not wanting to have it be the other way.

JJ Parker  3:44  
Hmm. Yeah, that's interesting. This, I was just thinking about the idea that we talked a lot about how we talked a lot about how we kind of like analyze our own thoughts, right? Yeah. And we try to like, be a little bit like internal and how are we? Like, how's our body feeling? And yeah, exactly. And awareness of like, our surroundings and things, but this I, you're kind of your it's the same thing. It's the same self awareness thing, but it's applying it specifically to relationships with people and interactions with people. Yeah, exactly. Yep. Exactly. I feel like sometimes when you're in a relationship, because it's, it's not like, what let's say, triggers are easy, like I got, I get triggered, right? It's a sort of an emotional burst. It's pretty easy to identify. Yeah, things in relationships, I feel like are spread out over long periods of time, and they're less they're harder to notice.

Melissa Albers  4:56  
Yeah, I totally agree.

JJ Parker  4:57  
I totally agree. So yeah, this part Have what you're saying is a little bit nuanced in the way that like, sometimes it's hard to notice. Yeah, if you're applying some past experience to your current experience,

Melissa Albers  5:15  
exactly, and you're the one who's making yourself miserable, not the new relationship. Like, I really think that happens a lot. And, and it could be even, it could be like, not even a personal relationship, it could be something at work, I had a conversation with a great client this week, in which there, they had a huge fear that their boss wasn't going to notice them. You know, like, I'm doing all these things. And, and the last boss I had, would never give me opportunities, and I want to be challenged, and I couldn't, I just, I'm worried that this new boss is going to do the same thing. And so I'm just, I have been kind of like avoiding saying anything. And I'm, I just feel like I have to work harder to show that I have all these things. And so if you think about that conversation, it's such a one sided thinking pattern, you know, here, this here, this person was and he was feeling very threatened almost by this new person that is his new boss, he didn't even actually know the new boss, or what was going to happen with the new boss, he didn't know at all if the boss was going to be a great supporter of people or a challenger and but he was so sure already, that his reality that he had just experienced with someone else was going to carry over into this relationship. And whereby it ends up manifesting a lot of that, because you have the energy and you're behaving in a way that that's already the case,

JJ Parker  6:45  
it creates the that's we always say that you're creating your own reality. Yeah, that's a great example of how you can actually inadvertently create that same situation,

Melissa Albers  6:57  
I actually think it happens a lot more than we realize that it could be very subtle, it doesn't have to be this major life, life altering relationship, or this major life altering experience. But it's these little emotions, it's these little trailers, I think that gets stuck in our systems that we don't notice that just continually cause a little electrical shock. You know, it's like that little shock kicks off in multiple times of our experience, because we're unaware that our our feelings are threatened or scared or fearful. And our thinking patterns are jumping right in saying, well, let's compare this to what happened before. And you're gonna have that happen again.

JJ Parker  7:36  
Yeah. So this idea that, that we do this all the time, it's like, we apply past things to current things, even though the the new situation is not the same. And we we've talked about that in lots of different ways. Yeah, I know, I know, that's a sort of human nature, right? We're trying to, like, learn from our past and apply it to the current situation. Yeah, even if, a lot of times, even if it doesn't actually apply or isn't, isn't really the same.

Melissa Albers  8:06  
Right? Right. And I think it actually, this is at the root of where a lot of people get stuck, you know, they may get stuck in professional development, they might get stuck in a personal relationship, not reaching the level of intimacy or closeness that they want to, you know, not reaching a level of communication that they want to, because they have these little, and that's what it feels like, to me, it's like these little wires that stick up from something before that we didn't get to, we didn't really process and put away properly or put in the right spot. And it just keeps firing, you know, and these little things come up with that kind of remind us of something from what has happened before. And we instantly start telling ourselves a story. It's like wrapping so much cotton around the rock, you know that we soon forget that there actually was a rock, there's just this really big fluffy thing in a corner that we kind of forgot what it was. We don't really like it, but we just avoid it because it's not hurting anything really. You know, so that.

JJ Parker  9:10  
So how, like, how can you be how can you like know that you're applying some, like past assumptions to your current situation?

Melissa Albers  9:21  
Well, I, I think, again, like, I'd be interested in what you think about this, JJ but I think like, you know, when we're talking about these things, we all have to we have to go with what our feelings are first and foremost. When something fires off in us, regardless of if it's a discussion we're having in our workplace, whether we're having it at home or with a friend, a discussion will happen and something in that conversation or something in that experience will trigger a feeling that is uncomfortable in us. And we may know what that feeling is and we may not know what that feeling is, but we have to pay attention to it. We can't ignore it. Because ultimately, whatever we resist persists. So if we continually resist this feeling that happens, every time we get to this part of the conversation, or every time this topic comes up, or every time this experience starts to show itself, and we have the same little blip, even if it's with completely different people, we are having the same experience as we had before. So noticing what the feeling is like, that's the very first thing. I and we always talk about that. But this is yet another example.

JJ Parker  10:40  
Yep. I'll go the opposite of that. Well, I, I, a lot of times, I have to remind myself, like in my head that this situation is not the same as the past situation, right? These people are not the same as the other people. Right? Do you do that? Yeah.

Melissa Albers  11:01  
How do you remember to do that?

JJ Parker  11:04  
Well, I probably, because I just know, maybe, and this is probably the root of it is exactly what you're saying. But I know it because, like, when I get that uncomfortable feeling. Like, I'm like, oh, that's, that's that uncomfortable feeling? It's because of this old stuff. Right? It's because of this old, this old drama, trauma. Right from from my past

Melissa Albers  11:34  
drama trauma, we should get T shirts made. That's a good one.

JJ Parker  11:39  
And it doesn't apply today. Like this is not like that was 15 years ago, it is different. Like, my whole life is different today, like, you know, and that stuff does not apply. Right. So I just try to make sure that I remind myself that. No, like, especially like me, for you. And I right as, as business partners, right, like, my biggest trauma was a business partner related. And like, I often need to remind myself that, like, the things that were happening back then, are not what are not happening now. Like, yeah, like, well, I get those feelings sometimes. Yeah, this is so different. Right? I don't need to, like, stop myself from sort of acting on. Yeah, some of those, like, past, you know, like, insecurities and trust issues. And yeah, things like that. And

Melissa Albers  12:39  
we both talked a lot about that, because I too, have had a lot of that history of partners that were not great partnerships, for whatever reason. But I think, you know, the other thing I think, for consideration is reflection is important. But only to a point, which is where you're talking about now. I think the whole therapy and coaching, you know, coaching, like therapy, and that sort of thing, the traditional therapy model is let's reflect, reflect reflect. Let's keep going back, keep going back, keep going back. And I actually don't think that that serves us, I think it serves us to a point. So I know, I'm it's not an unpopular opinion, to say that. But I think that the reflection piece is super important for us to understand what part of it had to do with us, when something doesn't go right in a previous relationship? What part of it had to do with us, we have to own that piece. And I think what happens a lot of times is we get to that reflection piece, and then we go well, they were this and they were that and this didn't work because of them. And it wasn't me. It wasn't me. It wasn't me. And while a lot of it may not have been you there is part of it. That is right. So I think that part and reflecting and saying what part of this really has to do with me is super important because it allows us to process that part process those feelings and release them and and we we all do things either unaware or more inexperienced or more immature. As we're developing. We don't know, you know, just don't know. And it doesn't mean that I think that any new relationship or any new partnership or anything can be informed by what you know, doesn't work. But it doesn't have to impact your current realities. You know, yeah.

JJ Parker  14:36  
Yeah, for me, I was just thinking for me like definitely, like, some of my pass off like it was. It was me, right. Half of it was me.

Melissa Albers  14:48  
Yeah, yeah.

JJ Parker  14:49  
Well done. A lot of these are like, and I actually I've been to like preface this with like, these are like adults. I like it. like adult relationships, right? Like, we're not really talking about like, like, childhood, you know, where, where the relationship is extremely imbalanced, right? Where you have a child parent with relationship trauma, and we can even maybe touch on that in a minute. But like, but like, you know, in more mature adult relationships, you do have to take responsibility for your half of it even. I mean, it's way easy to blame, right? I

Melissa Albers  15:34  
know. Yeah. Yeah. Really? Didn't do that at the time. It feels Yeah.

JJ Parker  15:38  
But at some point, it's like, yeah, you know, there was also stuff I could have done. Yeah, right. Yeah. And, yeah. And like, like you said, learning from that, and, and, and kind of moving on from it to apply in it. Yeah. Applying the things you learned to eat or new relationships, and just like letting go of the stuff that I'm no longer sigh? Yeah,

Melissa Albers  16:02  
yeah, I go. But I mean, it could even be something as simple as if you're in a if you're dating, for example. And if you are with a partner, in the past, that didn't treat you well. Or that thought of you as a certain way, you're too this, you're too that you're too heavy, you're too loud, you're too much of a partier, you are too quiet. And they constantly tell you that over and over again. And it's somebody that really you really care about. That can leave a big divot. Right. And even in that situation, where it would be easy to say, well, that person was an abuser, maybe not overly, but you're going to appoint. And yet there is still responsibility on your part, because you allowed it. So this isn't to make yourself feel bad or to feel judged it to simply own what part is yours, because the next relationship that you then enter into, by owning what part you had to do with the last one, the next time, if anything even comes up around that. It's like,

JJ Parker  17:08  
no, yeah, this one does not for me, no, no,

Melissa Albers  17:11  
and or informing the other person. No, that's not, we're not doing that. This is what this is what I need in my relationship, so that I can continue to be in partnership with you. So I just think it's really interesting, because I think normally what will happen is we'll stuff all of that away, and we feel shame. So like, in the example I just gave, somebody might feel a lot of guilt or shame that that their partner told them that they were to this to this to this enough to that you actually believe it. And then there's shame and guilt. So the last thing you want to do is bring that to the surface and say, I had something to do with that, you know, like there's just already too much of that negative flow of energy in the wrong direction from what you want. So naturally, what we do is try to pretend like we don't actually feel that way, we don't actually have that experience, that actually didn't happen. Or if it did, oh, it was just everything about it was terrible, and I don't want to even consider it. And we ended up somehow perhaps even slightly replicating it again, or we have so much guilt and shame that we add to this bucket of ours that makes us not feel whole or not makes us not feel capable of having a completely healthy experience with the next person.

JJ Parker  18:24  
Yeah, come, relationships are complicated. That's true. I like you're talking about things like self confidence and advocating for yourself. Because in some in the situation you just described, like, it's very easy to, to not stand up for yourself. Right. Yeah. And say, hey, now that's like, that crossed the line? Yeah, we're not going to be in a relationship like that. Yeah. Because you don't want to, like lose somebody or you want them to still be in your life, or like, there's a million different reasons, right, that you put up with that. Yeah. And so learning to really advocate for, for yourself and, and have the confidence to do so as hard.

Melissa Albers  19:14  
Yeah. And I think I think you asked the question like, how can we, you know, have a little more awareness about this. I would say the other thing that I didn't think about saying, but I think it's really important is that the more we try to be validated by other people, which we say often in the pod, and in a lot of our lessons, the more we seek validation from other people will never actually have it. So it comes into play so strongly here when you're looking at past relationships because you you are seeking to be whole you're seeking to be complete by the relationships that you are in. And the truth is that you are already complete. So if you take on too much water, you know from the other ship, thinking that it's going to make you better. It actually just creates a Big Wobble, you know, it just creates a Big Wobble. So I think really understanding that you are you are whole and learning all the time. And it's okay for you to have some of these experiences, the most important thing is that you can you can learn from them. And it doesn't mean you're going to replicate those. Oh, you talked about a parent child dynamic, which is hugely, vastly impactful. Right?

JJ Parker  20:26  
Yeah. I mean, I would say that the thing I notice most with people is how their childhood experiences are still very deeply ingrained in the way they behave, and the way and how that shapes their relationships.

Melissa Albers  20:44  
100% Yeah, I think that's very, very true. I, you know, I, I've shared in our pod before that I had a pretty tumultuous upbringing. And my biggest fear, to be honest with you, my biggest fear when I was growing up, and in my 20s, and 30s, was that I was going to end up being exactly like my mother, I really was so scared of doing that my mom is a wonderful person. However, my mom is extremely opposite of me in mult, a multitude of ways. And the stuff that I didn't like about her, I was so sure I would become, and which made no sense. It logically, it made no sense logically, but my conditioning and the relation that I had with her for that, all my upbringing, that was a fear for me. So I really had to overcome and learn. Just because somebody is even someone as informative as your mother. You can still learn good things, you can still own parts of the relationship that you're not proud of. You know, like, there's a lot that I have to deal with in my mom's relationship with me, that wasn't great. And I own that now. And I feel I feel really good about it. Actually, it sounds crazy to say that, but I feel really good about the relationship that I have with my mom now. Because, boy, oh, boy, it sure wouldn't have looked like it would be like that. Now, if you would have looked back even 15 years, 10 years? Yeah. Okay. So I think that's really, I think it's really important to be able to look at your relationships with clean eyes. And if if something, you know, if you're looking at a past relationship, and there feels anything having to do with discomfort or our dislike, or something doesn't feel good, what I really think that's telling you, is there still some in something in there that you need to release? And it might very well be? What did what part of this has to do with me?

JJ Parker  22:39  
Okay, so probably, is that

Melissa Albers  22:43  
it probably is that?

JJ Parker  22:47  
Well, I mean, I'm just I can't drag it, but it is. It is. That's kind of to me, it's like the last and hardest step of that is to is to understand what what role you played? Yeah. Because you don't want to blame. I mean, no one really wants to like blame themselves.

Melissa Albers  23:08  
No, right. Yeah. Oh, it's funny. It's, sometimes it's

JJ Parker  23:11  
hard to see that. It's hard to see that that your own actions caused certain things.

Melissa Albers  23:20  
I agree. And I think you said the last and hardest step. I think the reason it's the hardest is because we just don't think about it. We don't even realize that that's a component that should be considered. Yeah, we don't think like in past relationships. There's so many. I mean, haven't you talked with people that talk about ex boyfriends or ex girlfriends? And it's a whole litany of what was wrong with that other person?

JJ Parker  23:44  
And it's, it's always it's like, he phrased it in a, you know, like, this happened to me.

Melissa Albers  23:49  
Yes. That with me, right. Yes, that sounds a little word. Yeah. So I don't think it's actually hard. Like, the thing is this is that we think it's gonna be really, really hard to face that. It isn't. Actually, it's so freeing. It's a wonderful thing to say what part of this has to do with me, honestly, it is such a freeing thing, but I think the reason it's hard is because we just don't think to do it. That's the hard part. We think, oh, wait a minute. I never thought about that. Why? Well, that's a string. That doesn't make sense.

JJ Parker  24:20  
Yeah. So I was thinking the other thing I was thinking about was we've been kind of talking about like, past relationships, like, like, well, I guess like the parent child one doesn't apply but we've been tighten them very much like about past relationships that like, are no longer you know, like, we're not in relation with these people anymore. Right? Like, yeah, past relationships. Like, why? Like, I had a partner I had a boyfriend I had a whatever and now I don't why Dunn's

Melissa Albers  24:50  

JJ Parker  24:55  
So obviously, like, we're taking those experiences and informant and kinda like applying them to new relationships, but there's like relationships like our spouse or relationships, right, like, that are very long running. Yeah, right. Mm hmm. And hopefully, hopefully, so far, so far, so good. Um, but even there, like, you know, like, we're not perfect through our whole relationships. And, you know, like, I was in my 20s when I got married, like, as very different than than I am now. Yeah. And so, you know, with people growing, changing, learning through a very long relationship, some things that would happen maybe in earlier in that relationship,

Melissa Albers  25:49  
good call

JJ Parker  25:53  
could affect you, but they don't maybe even apply now, because both of you are much more mature. You're in a whole different life stage, like, yes. You know, whatever. Kids are different jobs are different houses are different. Like, yeah, yeah. So I think that's interesting, too. I think that's a interesting conversation to even have with your your partner as to think about, like, how things have changed over, you know, 1020 30 years?

Melissa Albers  26:23  
Yeah. That's, that's a super interesting conversation. And I agree with you, because Mitch and I were actually last week just talking about that. I don't remember what happened that something happened. And Mitch just said, Boy, don't you just remember, like, when we were younger, how we would have thought about this really different? And it was like, Oh, yes, for sure. Like, I know, I had a very hot switch. So like, anything could set me off when I was younger. And I was a good door slammer, like the littlest provocation, I'd be slamming the door and we lived in a house with cheap foam core doors. So that wasn't very satisfying. But I always felt that explosive, like I'm so mad, right. And, and, and now I find that absolutely laughable. I don't remember the last time I got so mad that I would want to slam the door.

JJ Parker  27:19  
But I bet you if some situation comes up, and it just like, oh, here comes a door slamming. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  27:25  
Well, actually, the just I can tell you this, because my husband is the most calm. He's very, like, he was very calm, very laid back. And I would be like, so mad, and I'd go and slam the door, and then I'd hear his voice on the other side of the door. Oh, no, we're gonna slam the door. One time, he tried to get out ahead of it. And he tried to slam the door first. Yeah, I burst out laughing in the middle of a fight, because it was so ridiculous. And I never did it again.

JJ Parker  27:58  

Melissa Albers  28:02  
See, I think that that's true. We're we're constantly evolving humans, I guess that's the key here is we just have to allow when we do something, or we had an experience that we aren't proud of, or that we do actually have some ownership in, it's absolutely okay to say what part of this had to do with me?

JJ Parker  28:17  
Yeah. And I would say it takes courage to be honest about that stuff, right? Like to say, hey, this part, you know, bothers me an hour bothered me in the past. And, like, I just want to let you know, like, I just want to let you know that. And, like, I don't think that applies today. And I'm going to be working really hard at not reacting in the way I used to react. Yeah, right. But being able to, like, be able to get to a point where like, you recognize that in yourself. Do it. Like you're kind of like your story like you admit you do it. Right. And you understand that doesn't apply today. And you're honest, he can communicate that that's all. It's easy to say that to say that here on the podcast was actually hard to do.

Melissa Albers  29:07  
Yeah. I honestly think for anybody that's in that struggle, and is this conversation is brought any of that up, like where it's like, Well, I do actually have some stuff that I need to own. Get out a book, or sit with yourself and just say, what part of this had to do with me and just wait for a minute and the answers will come? The answers will come and when they do it's okay to say I asked that this be released now. I forgive myself. I forgive myself for that part. And I asked to be released from this now. And from there, everything is easier.

JJ Parker  29:41  
Yeah, we should do a whole episode on self forgiveness. I think oh, I think other people forgive us a lot easier than ourselves.

Melissa Albers  29:52  
We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own body. and feelings, we'd love your support. First, share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy it. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast site. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey.com. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.

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Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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