Our relationships are supposed to bring out the best in us, so why do we often become worse when we partner up?
Here's the thing, even if we don't realize it, we parade out our ugliness during romantic relationships hoping to find that we are not, in fact, the monsters our brains tell us we are. We hope that if our partners see that side of us and still choose to be with us, to love us, maybe, just maybe, the voices in our head that tell us we're not good enough, not worthy enough, lesser than - they all will stop. It's not deliberate mind you. It's just that we've been hiding those things for so long and they humiliate us, these weaknesses of ours. But we all have an innate desire to be true versions of ourselves, and so all those little items we tuck away or say we shouldn't think or feel have a desire to be exposed and, ultimately, accepted.
The trick to avoid the vomit of unwanted behavior overtaking the relationship - is mindfulness. To use the method du jour might seem trite or too easy, but in truth, it's a big help. Look, if you have luggage, in most cases, it's either still tucked away or you're still in the middle of dealing with it. So it's not like you can just hope it doesn't show up or deal with it on the fly. Some things, like trauma, can take years to get fully healthy from, so expecting the shrapnel from it to NOT show up in a relationship is unrealistic. The best you can do is face it head-on - call it by name. Because pretending it doesn't exist is like trying to hide the sun.
Something as honest as, "Babe, look. I'm super pissed right now and I know it's not you, it's just a whole bunch of other crap. And I know it's unfair to you but I can't deal with it at the moment and can that be ok? Because I really just need it to be ok."
Being honest about what's happening, both to yourself and your partner, alleviates the need to process it right then, allowing the moment to come and then, most importantly, go. Dealing with it, working through it, comes later, sometimes with professional help, and that's ok. But if we aren't mindful - accepting how we're feeling without judgment and with acknowledgment of the impact they're having - and try to deal with the reactions as they're happening (rather than the core issues that are causing them), we turn partners into unwilling therapists, unable to help. In most cases, partners can't live up to that expectation. And when that keeps happening, the relationship can't recover.