Have you ever found yourself in the same kind of relationship more than once? Many of my clients notice that they attract a similar type of person over and over again. Sometimes it’s a person who’s unable to commit, or sometimes it’s someone who’s emotionally abusive. It’s almost always someone with whom it’s impossible to have a happy and healthy relationship.
People tend to beat themselves up for this and ask, “What’s wrong with me? Why do I keep doing this to myself?”
First Off, There’s Nothing Wrong With You
If you’ve been asking questions like these in your life, know that there’s nothing wrong with you. Repeating this pattern isn’t your fault, nor is it bad karma or punishment for something done wrong. Based on everything that’s ever happened to you from childhood until now, it makes total sense that you would make these choices.
In fact, the message I get from spirit guides most is that you’re not the one doing the choosing.
You are made up of several different “selves” that aren’t always unified in their goals and desires. If you didn’t receive the unconditional love and acceptance you needed as a child, that wounded child self continues on as an energetic presence within. The adult part of you knows the kind of relationship you really want, but the little child part of you wants something else.
Understanding Your Inner Child
Your inner child has been choosing your relationships to accomplish something very specific. He or she is almost always trying to prove his or her worth in order to be loved. She does this by choosing the kind of person who first rejected her, or gave her subtle messages that she’s not enough. If she can finally “get it right” and earn this person’s love, she’ll finally get the love she’s always needed. This strategy doesn’t work, but it’s the only strategy the child has, so she tries again and again.
For example, let’s say you find yourself inexplicably attracted to men who aren’t emotionally available. It’s likely that somebody you loved growing up wasn’t really available for you. Maybe you didn’t get the attention and validation you really needed. But as a kid, you kept trying. You needed to prove that you were lovable, because if you could do that, your entire existence would be validated and redeemed.
Later on in romantic relationships, the inner child is still trying to prove that she’s okay. So if you meet a man who IS emotionally present and available for relationship, your little kid is likely to be uninterested because she doesn’t have anything to prove, which means that her need for hard-won validation won’t be met. This is why you may not feel any sort of spark or chemistry with an available person, and you wonder, “Why aren’t I attracted to guys who really like me? Why do I always want the guys who won’t commit?” The answer is, it’s your inner child doing the choosing, because she still needs to prove to men like these that she’s worthy of their love.
Here’s another example. Maybe you find yourself attracted to people who become dependent on you after experiencing health and/or financial crises, and you assume the role of a caregiver in your relationships. It’s quite likely that as a child, you learned that if you were helpful to the people around you, you’d be appreciated. Maybe you were ignored unless you were helping or being of service. If your inner child can just find a way to stay in relationship with someone who needs help, she has purpose and is worthy of love.
Do you see how this program works?
If you’re always attracted to people who turn out to be emotionally abusive, there’s a belief inside that says, “If I can get an abusive person to approve of me, if I can just get them to love me, I’ll finally be okay.” Maybe you never got the love and attention of an abusive parent, and now your inner kid will stop at nothing to keep trying to get that love, so she chooses abusive partners.
I know it doesn’t make much sense, but remember, this is a child self. He or she has no capacity to reason or use logic the way your adult self would.
So how do you change the program?
Once you become aware that you have a program like this running — and most of us do, your spiritual work is to have compassion for the part of you that would do anything to prove her worth in an impossible relationship. Your work is to begin re-educating her.
Your inner child needs to know that she’s perfect and beautiful and worthy of love just the way she is. She doesn’t need to heal, fix, or help anyone to be worthy of love. She doesn’t need to “get it right” for anyone. She doesn’t need to prove anything.
Your inner child has no way of knowing his value, because nobody ever really took the time to tell him. If he learns that he’s lovable just the way he is, the pattern of choosing someone to whom he needs to prove his worth will come to an end.
You change this pattern with patience, love, and frequent inner dialogues with the little one running the show. These loving conversations have the power to be life changing.
I know you can do this because I have done it. I used to date very critical men, and all of them epitomized, in one way or another, the judgmental nature of my father. But I worked on it. I created a loving relationship with my inner child, and now I’m married to the most accepting, non-judgmental man I’ve ever known. If I had met him 20 years ago, my inner child wouldn’t have looked at him twice, because she needed to win over judgmental men in order to finally be okay.
The cure for all unhealthy patterns is self-love and acceptance. When your little wounded child within finally knows that an adult — you — loves and honors her just the way she is, she’ll start getting on board with the healthy decisions and relationship choices that you want to make.