“I can spot the man who will abuse and disappoint me from miles away.” Halle Berry, Interview with Barbara Walters.
Like many of you, Halle goes for romantic partners who keep her stuck in the past and recreating the emotional problems of her parents. She tends to choose men who control and abuse her, like her father abused and controlled Halle’s mother.
Halle’s love troubles just go to show that unanswered psychological issues will demand that you resolve them, no matter how beautiful, rich and famous you may be. You cannot sidestep problems from your past, no matter how hard you try. You tell yourself, “I will never marry an alcoholic like my father or verbally abusive woman, like my mother.” Then, you look for any red flag that your date possesses these characteristics that you are trying hard to avoid.
You make a list or put together a collage that highlights the exact qualities that you are looking for in a lover. You believe, like Walt Disney, that if you can dream it, you can get it! He or she has to have a certain hair and eye color, be smart, but not a nerd, fun, into rock and roll, but also emotionally deep. You even spell out the person’s income and educational level and his or her religious and political positions. Your intention is to find this lover who is perfect for you. This is the lover that you knowingly want for yourself. But, it doesn’t take long for you to discover that he or she comes with the features of one or both of your parents. What is more, you are engaged in the same types of conflicts and arguments that typified your parent’s relationship.
What steers us to the parent we were trying so hard to escape, although we consciously tried to choose otherwise? What is it in Halle Berry that can spot a controlling, abusive man, like her father from miles away?
Psychologically, it’s called repetition compulsion. We are doomed to repeat the past, until we master it through understanding. This is especially true of intimate relating. The problem is not that you have chosen one or two lovers who keep you stuck in past hurt and dramas. You need experience to learn what you are carrying into the here and now from your past. The problem is that you refuse to accept what you’ve learned through these relationship experiences and choose the same type of lover, repeatedly. Some of you let your stubbornness (I want this even when it’s bad for me) take precedence over what you really need to be emotionally well, free of past wounds, and to move beyond the unhealthy relationship of your parents, psychologically and spiritually. You let the child in you, from your past, choose your lovers instead of the adult you.
The Inner Child
I know you want to go beyond your parents’ limitations in intimate relating. None of you want to suffer. But, there’s a young child in you who still wishes to heal your parents’ pain and to master their problems, through the intimate relationships that you form today. With each relationship disappointment, you say, “I’ll do better this time.” But, once again, you choose a relationship that carries on the negative interaction themes of your parents.
Today, I am going to help you to learn to choose better, to make a clean break from the past. So, let’s get right to your unconscious; the part of you that has the compulsion to repeat your parents’ relationship dramas.
This is your inner-child that has identified with the parent you want to be, the parent you want to avoid, and the couple you want to heal.
Wow. There’s a lot going on inside of you, right?
Who you become is a byproduct of the relationships experienced in childhood.What you learn about intimacy and power, give and take in intimate relating, and can come to expect in terms of fulfillment, goes back to these early relationships. You will tend to play out the emotional issues of one parent and choose partners who will play out the other parent’s role in the relationship. What makes things interesting in the here-and-now is that you are playing out the parental interactions as seen through your mind when you were a child. You were unable to distinguish nuanced interaction. Thus, what you recall of parental interaction often consists of polarized relationship scenarios. One parent gives, while the other takes. One parent is bad and the other is good. Or, one parent is sadistic and the other parent is a masochist, as in Halle Berry’s parent’s relationship dynamic.
You formulate an inner couple in your mind’s eye based on these more immature polarized interaction dynamics, and then play them out with your lovers. This is even true if one of your parents was not in the picture when you were young. You still know about them through stories shared or learn about couple dynamics through the persons who shaped you. Until you understand these relationship dynamics well, you will tend to choose romantic partners who play them out with you.
Thus, it is the part of you that wishes to master and heal your parents intimacy issues (your inner child) that will steer you to partners who help you to fulfill your parents’ relationship dynamics. This is the way of the repetition compulsion.
It takes courage to be happy.
Your inner child senses who’s right for the past relationship drama, but it doesn’t know what you need as an adult to grow you beyond the relationship capacity of your parents. To find this person, you have to shift your focus from who makes you feel good to who is good for you psychologically and spiritually. You have to begin to choose romantic partners out of the conscious Adult You!
Thus, do not be doomed to repeat the past, because you lack the courage to do something different. To keep growing psychologically and spiritually, you have make living choices that expand possibilities. Once you become aware of the pain in relationship that you are trying to move beyond, you have to start to choose for a new you—a you that is independent of the past and separate from that hurt child within you. You have to begin to choose romantic partners who express healthier relating patterns. This takes courage, because what you choose may not fit the list of partner qualities that you have set for yourself.
It’s time to silence your inner child and let your conscious adult choose your lovers, for you.
Have the courage to choose romantic partners who do not fit the inner mate from your past, or at the least, who fits the best, rather than worse, qualities of your parents.
Throughout the years, many patients have asked me: “When will I be happy?” “When will I find my true love?” I reply with much compassion, for them,
“You will, when you decide that it is time to be happy. You haven’t decided yet to release yourself from the past. When you decide it is time to let your inner child go, and to put a final close to the past, you will choose differently.”
You see, getting the right mate comes from a decision rather than fate. Every one of you has a chance to be fulfilled in love, if you learn to choose mates who do not fit the requirements of your inner child. When you choose, make sure to:
- Choose what you really need as an adult self, rather than from your inner child.
- Choose for psychological growth and understanding, calm and stability, rather than drama and neurotic excitement.
- Choose out of reason rather than compulsion.
- Choose for your future over your past.
- Choose from courage rather than fear.
It’s a touching, and sometimes, tortuous journey to finding the lover we need, rather than want. Your inner child has worked hard for you. Let him or her rest, now. It’s time to let the conscious adult YOU take over. Remember, you have the right to romantic fulfillment, even if your parents didn’t achieve it.
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