Q: Why do I keep finding myself in the same kind of relationships?
A: People tend to learn the way to be a part of a relationship very early in life. We may learn, for instance, that when mom is depressed, she likes it if we come up and give her a hug and she may even give us a hug in return. Or we might learn that the only time we get positive attention is when we produce something, such as a good grade, a piece of art work or a building project. In these situations, what have we learned about relationships and our place in them? We have discovered that the way to get our needs met is to give to others. We might need positive attention at other times, but we have learned that the best way to get it is to anticipate the other person’s needs and fulfill them. If this is the case, what type of person are you going to feel most loved and wanted by? Likely, by someone who is needy, someone you feel will need you. You may be a rescuer, the person who feels they can help the lost soul. But after years of giving, your attitude, and your partner’s attitude may seem different. You may feel very used by this person, and your partner may have grown to expect you to meet all needs. This is just one example of the “dance” that we do in relationships. Some other examples are the person who likes to be in control finding the mate who believes that they are incompetent; or the person who always is very emotional finding a partner who does not talk at all. How do we change this? We work on ourselves. We change the pattern of our dance so that we are not attracted to people who help us stay stuck. The best way that I know of doing this is to work with a qualified therapist who will help us recognize our patterns and then guide us in changing them.
At this time, I wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season.