We as humans naturally seek what is familiar. It’s a subconscious effort, not something we are typically aware of doing. But, basically, we go for what we know, and we do so because it is comfortable. Simply said, we are creatures of habit.
However, just as some habits can be bad, so can the act of seeking what’s familiar. After all, no growth occurs in the comfort zone. More importantly, going for what we know can lead to subconscious efforts to seek out dysfunction in regard to our relationships if our family of origin was dysfunctional.
Individuals who grew up in misery (i.e. a negative environment) are likely familiar with and therefore comfortable in misery.
Now, you may be thinking, “How can anyone be content with misery?”
Well, it isn’t that anyone is happy or at peace in misery. That would be a contradiction in terms. However, individuals can become accustomed to negative energy, sterile environments, emotional neglect and emptiness, especially if it’s all they’ve known.
Just as the body can build up a tolerance and need for toxic substances, you can form the same tolerance for and dependence on toxic energy.
Additionally, people can adapt to and learn to survive or navigate in any environment, even extremely dysfunctional ones, like addiction or abuse. And, as such, they can actually seek or be drawn to dysfunctional situations due to the fact that they were raised in a dysfunctional home. More importantly, they become seemingly repelled by healthy or non-dysfunctional ones.
Resolving the Unresolved
People who seek out dysfunctional partners aren’t only just going with what they know. In addition, many are attempting to resolve unresolved issues through their partners. In other words, when people find themselves in miserable or dysfunctional relationships, they have unwittingly sought the unsatisfying or dysfunctional partner or relationship in an effort to try to fix the childhood situation that it mirrors.
For instance, if someone had an abusive father and finds themselves with an abusive boyfriend, it is not simply because it is familiar. Though the latter is one aspect of the equation, the individual is also seeking to resolve or fix her father, be different than her mother and/or resolve the abusive situation she grew up in.
Stopping the Cycle
In misery or dysfunctional situations like these, the relationship is a mirror. In other words, it is a sign that something from childhood has not been addressed or healed. This is your cue to take the necessary steps to heal, grow and stop the cycle of misery and dysfunction.
Healing from childhood issues is not an easy task and certainly not one to take on alone. In fact, if it were something easily done by yourself, this article would not exist because no one would find themselves in these situations. After all, no one wants to be miserable or abused.
For that reason, seeking professional help is often needed, and it is something that needs to be considered a priority. And, if prioritizing self-care is difficult for you to do, remember this; your emotional, mental and spiritual health is equally as important as your physical health. Just as you would go to the doctor for a life-threatening illness, you must seek the care of a professional for a life-sabotaging one.
God works in mysterious ways – often through people. Let God work through a counselor, life coach or other helpful professional for you. Seek the guidance and stop the cycle today.
You may also be interested in The 7 Must-Haves For A Healthy Relationship