The more clients I coach and the more life I live, the more I see so MANY of us involved in chronic patterns of dysfunctional relationships. After many questions and creation of a detailed genograms (diagram of relationships), you can clearly see how the client’s partners share consistent similarities, such as unavailability (emotional or otherwise), instability, substance abuse, physical and/or emotional abuse, narcissism, etc. Each relationship unfolds in pretty much the same way time after time and end badly. After a couple of relationships, the destructive patterns that drive the clients to enter into new relationship are very obvious to others and start to become blatant even to the client. So, the question is why on earth would people knowingly seek out relationships that are going to make them miserable? Why continue from failed relationship to failed relationship?
There really isn’t one clear explanation as to why we give into self loathing and destructive behaviors, but for the sake of this blog post, I will give you the explanation to one reason that is common among all of us who have these cycles of bad relationships. It is the fear of intimacy and of the opposite sex. My friend, Dr. Charlie Johnson calls it fear of connection and emotional unavailability.
But if we fear connection with the opposite sex… even if it’s on a subconscious level, how can we relate intimately to them? Instead of working at truly connecting with our partner, we do everything we can to engage in destructive behaviors which serve to keep the other person angry or hurt enough so that we don’t have to get “close” to them. Is that crazy? You may cheat, lie, never acknowledge (appreciate) your partner, never give compliments, overstep boundaries or create boundaries for your partner but none for you, etc… Or we choose partners that are incapable of intimacy. They don’t want to be caressed. They want you to leave them alone when they’re sick. They don’t want your help doing anything. They won’t accept compliments. They will call you overly emotional or needy. Does that even make any sense? Well, I told you above that we do this subconsciously so it becomes a cycle that destroys our EVERY attempt at “connecting”.
Come back tomorrow so we can finish discussing this topic. Like always, leave me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask me your questions or share your stories. See you soon!