Friday, June 10, 2011

"Feels right" or "familiar,comfortable dysfunction"

How many times have we fallen for someone who, according to all our friends and acquaintances, was "bad for us" and yet felt "so right"?
It happened to all of us at least once,right?
We were swept off our feet, completely enthralled by that person. We NEEDED to be with them. We CRAVED them. We forgiven them all their small (and sometimes not so small) shortcomings, we've put up with their "issues" when everyone around  was telling us to walk away.
It just felt so "right", we couldn't let them go, despite all the misery that they brought upon us.
And when it was all over, when some time passed and the dust have settled, we looked back and couldn't understand why we stayed in that relationship for as long as we did and what did we see in that person in the first place.
There is a theory about that.
Everything that is familiar makes us feel good. When we were growing up, whatever patterns our families had (whether good,bad or different) were all that we knew back then. Because we were just kids, we accepted those as norm-we just didn't know any different. We got used to those, managed to function within it's parameters. Even when the family situation wasn't at all great, we were used to it and it left an "imprint" in our subconscious.
As we go through life, meet people and select partners, we subconsciously revert to familiar patterns,because they are all we know. And, yes, they "feel right" for that very reason: familiarity.
We don't recognise it straight away (sometimes never). We meet a person and we are attracted to them, yet cannot explain why.
For example, my mother was extremely insecure, yet very controlling woman who constantly tried to manipulate people just to prove that she is the one in control. She was not at all a bad person: generous and giving and always helped others, but her pathological need for control overrode even her good deeds and traits.
Subconsciously, I am drawn to similar type: controlling,manipulative, yet deeply insecure.
People I get attracted to are usually the ones with some serious "baggage", however, outwardly, they appear to be in control of their lives, self-assured and managing just fine. Inevitably, it becomes apparent some time into the relationship that appearances are just that: smoke and mirrors. Their troubled souls come to light and then I really want to help them and it draws me in even further.
 The paradox of it is that they want my help, but then resent me for it. They use me to build themselves up, to heal, to get and feel better and then want nothing to do with me. I think that's because they don't want to face a reminder of their "weak times".
Lately, I've been looking inside myself, re-viewing and re-evaluating my relationships, past and present, in order to get a better understanding of myself and to be happier.
The pattern I've described above emerged and it is so clear, I can't believe I haven't seen it before.
My family, although outwardly happy, was deeply dysfunctional. My Dad was a womaniser and I've already described my Mom. They got married for all the wrong reasons (no, she wasn't pregnant).
They fought constantly and even got divorced once, only to get married again (to each other) 8 months later.
But it all "worked" somehow and it was all I knew as a kid, so it feels "familiar" and,thus, "right".
My last couple relationships are a testimony to that. Both women fit the pattern: they exuded authority, had constant need for control and manipulated others to get it. They both had serious issues with trust and intimacy. Both were deeply insecure. I was drawn to them like a moth to the flame. They felt "so right".
I have issues of my own, no doubt (as evident from my blog). I have problems with monogamy and commitment, I am insecure about levels of emotional "investment" of my partners, I need security of knowing that my partner "has my back", I have very strong, assertive personality that not everyone can stomach and, when hurt, I can say really mean things that cut to the bone.
I am definitely a "work in progress', as I slowly face my demons and work on correcting all these things.
I realised recently that until I do so, I will keep attracting certain kind of people (described above). And one of the reasons is that I don't "see" truly nice and kind people, they are "invisible" to me because that pattern (nice and kind) is not familiar and, thus, doesn't "feel right", so I bypass them, thinking that I am not attracted to them. Instead, I go for the ones that will use me.
I am changing it,though. And it IS working, I am happy to say.
 Just recently I received an email from someone I was very much attracted to (my "regular" type ) and all of a sudden, without any analysing or prompting, I "fell out of love" with her. Just like that.
 It had to do with the content of the email,the timing of it and the way it was worded, but it suddenly was all absolutely clear to me: manipulative behaviour, head games, inability to accept responsibility for one's actions. Funny enough, I wasn't even upset. I just sat there and thought about why I let it go for as long as I did. And I knew the answer: I fell in love with her because she "felt right" for all the wrong reasons and I was willing to put up with her "issues". But because I am slowly "re-booting" myself and changing the way I "see" people, this person no longer held any attraction to me. Smoke and mirrors were gone. So,yes, it is working.

I have to thank my lovely flatmate for helping me understand this and giving me inspiration. She made me see things from a different perspective and, by sharing her own life experiences, helped me take a fresh look at mine.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your blog all of the time but this entry really struck home with me. I think we must be living the same life somehow because I have had the same sick pattern of relationships. I'm tired of someone who is like my mom and even worse like my dad. Oh god save us from ourselves.