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Why People Make Repeated Mistakes In Relationships? Unconsciously They Look For Their Parents’ Faults

Why People Make Repeated Mistakes In Relationships? Unconsciously They Look For Their Parents’ Faults

Take a minute and look back at some of your past relationships. Notice a pattern of repeated mistakes and heartaches? Maybe you’re always falling for emotionally distant partners, psychological manipulators, or people who cheat. Do you have the same old argument in every single one of your relationships? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, there’s a psychological and neurological explanation for your behavior.

You, like all humans, are a creature of habit in all areas of your life: professional, friendships, and romance. This means you end up doing the same thing over and over again without realizing it because it feels comfortable. You tend to avoid the unknown while claiming to search for happiness. According to Alain de Botton, a psycho-emotional philosophical author, we aren’t seeking happiness, but rather familiarity in our personal relationships. [1]

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Attachment Theory and Your Relationships

Attachment Theory tells us that your earliest relationships, which were most likely with your parents, set the stage for your future relationships. How your parents acted towards you as a child affects your ability to relate to people as an adult. Those relationships also provided you with a model of how relationships should work. [2]

What does this mean exactly? Well, because you crave familiarity, you unconsciously look for your parents in future romantic relationships. The partner you choose depends on the kind of attachment you developed as a child. People are either securely or insecurely attached. There are two principal types of insecure attachment: avoidant and anxious.

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Dr. Cindy Hazan and Dr. Phillip Shaver of the University of Denver conducted research on romantic relationships as a process of attachment. The results of this study showed that 60 percent of people have secure attachment. The other 40 percent were split between avoidant and anxious. [3]

So how does a person become insecurely attached? If, for example, your father or mother wasn’t emotionally available or didn’t provide consistent attention, you might develop anxious or avoidant attachment. This might cause you to search for an emotionally distant partner. If you were abandoned as a child, you might search for relationships where you have to earn the other person’s love. [4]

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Anxious Attachment and Your Relationships

As an anxiously attached person, you might need to be with your partner constantly. Or, you might need to be reassured of your partner’s feelings for you and their happiness in the relationship. [5] This need may cause strain on your relationships, leading to arguments, stress, and break-up.

Avoidant Attachment and Your Relationships

As a dismissive avoidant attached person, you might be able to emotionally detach yourself from your relationships. This avoidance type makes you feel independent. Because of the relationship with your parents, you have learned to depend only on yourself. A fearful avoidant person wants a healthy relationship, but is afraid of being hurt and finds it hard to trust others. [6]

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Changing Your Attachment Style

Repeating mistakes in your relationships is because of both psychological (discussed above) and neurological issues. Your brain produces neurons that gravitate toward familiar paths which makes it difficult to change your learned behavior. The first step to changing this behavior is recognizing the pattern. Once you have established the pattern in your relationships, take small steps to change. This will be difficult at first, but possible with perseverance. After some time, the new behavior will become the new pattern, resulting in healthier and happier relationships. [7]

Reference

More by this author

Amber Pariona

EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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