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5 Signs You are Carrying Around Emotional Baggage

Last week’s post had to do with eliminating baggage in order to make life overhauls or transformations.  I would like to back that up a beat and share with you some signs that you may be carrying baggage and didn’t even know it. Some things can be right under your nose and you don’t see them or make the right connections. If you don’t see things for what they are you can never correct them because you aren’t looking for the right solution. Many times you may accept something at surface value and not dig deeper.

Emotional baggage stems from dysfunctional thinking and/or behavioral patterns that you learn in your lifetime. Maybe in childhood from dysfunctional family members or maybe from unfortunate experiences with others. It does not mean you are disordered or have a brain chemical imbalance. It means that a pattern has developed that is keeping you stuck and unhappy. It can be corrected. I have a free resource and a quiz on my site that you can visit and download from the link below in my bio.

In working with clients with emotional baggage there are 5 very common patterns that emerge in their lives. Chances are if you are reading this you may be experiencing one or more of them yourself.

  1. Choosing the wrong kind of partner over and over– Being drawn to a controlling partner may be due to you feeling out of control or chaotic.
  2. Choosing an unavailable partner– Emotionally unavailable or unavailable due to already being married or involved. This can signal low self esteem baggage, you may not feel you deserve or can get someone better.
  3. Letting others direct your life– Not trusting yourself to make your own decisions is another form of emotional baggage. Somewhere you got the message that you were not capable of running your life.
  4. Overeating, drinking or other addictive behaviors-These can indicate that you are trying to distract or drown out something in your life that is screaming for your attention, and whatever it is it wont stop till it gets your full attention. If whatever it is is very painful to address you may want to seek counseling or therapy for support and guidance.
  5. Chronic anger-If you are running around with a big chip on your shoulder you most likely have some emotional baggage. Feelings of being cheated, jealousy and low self esteem can all be part of chronic anger and keep you very unhappy. Fortunately anger can be one of the easiest forms of baggage to correct as it responds well to cognitive techniques.

There are of course many other forms of baggage and ways that it may manifest itself in your life.  The reason it is so important to address baggage is that it robs you of your own life and joy. You are not free to be who you are when you have this heavy load. It is tiring and no fun. It makes you waste time in relationships that are no good. It makes you make bad choices for yourself and remain stuck. Its like having a monster on your back your whole life.

The good news is that baggage can be removed.  Therapists, coaches, online courses and even self-help books can get you going in the right direction. Don’t give up if one doesn’t work, everyone learns and responds to information differently. If you persist you will find the right solutions.

Feel Good For Life!


Photo by deb roby

5 Signs You are Carrying Around Emotional Baggage

Audrey Sherman, Ph.D.

Dr. Audrey Sherman is a licensed psychologist, coach and the author of the book Dysfunction Interrupted-How to Quickly Overcome Depression, Anxiety and Anger Starting Now. Her expertise is in defining, describing and transforming dysfunctional behavior and thought patterns learned in childhood or beyond that keep you anxious, depressed, angry, stuck in unhappy and unproductive relationships, jobs and more. Dr. Sherman developed the Dysfunctional Patterns Quiz and other free resources to help you determine the effects of these on your life. She works with individuals, conducts live and online workshops and trains others in her programs. To learn more about Dr. Sherman, you can visit her website.

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APA Reference
Sherman, A. (2020). 5 Signs You are Carrying Around Emotional Baggage. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Jun 2020
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