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Tell me about that relationship psychology of picking a partner to relive unresolved relationship issues from your childhood

(9 Posts)
orchidee Fri 26-Aug-11 21:19:21

E.g. emotionally absent parent, then emotionally absent partner.

I know someone here will know about this stuff

staryeyed Fri 26-Aug-11 22:36:34

I would like to know too.

I read a book once and it generally said that our parents shape our role and we simply continue it. So if someone is a victim as a child they will then choose those with similar charecteristics as their parents ( but not the obviously undesirable charecteristics) as that is what is attractive to them, iyswim.

pickgo Fri 26-Aug-11 22:51:25

Not so much that that is what is attractive I think, but rather that that is what is familar to you. So if you had an aggressive father you might feel that you recognise and 'get' an aggressive man as an adult. In fact you might not even register their particular characteristic because that's what 'all men' are like'. You will also slip into an 'enabling' role very easily because that is what your learnt and trained for as a child.

Is that the kind of thing you meant OP?

TaudrieTattoo Fri 26-Aug-11 22:56:50

It's all about script, isn't it?

Your fmaily of origin provide you with a script, and then you go out into the world and find a partner who will enable you to continue that script.

Until you get sick of it (if it's a bad one) and all hell breaks loose.

TaudrieTattoo Fri 26-Aug-11 22:57:19

family not 'fmaily', fgs.

RabbitPie Fri 26-Aug-11 23:04:22

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Nihilisticbunny Fri 26-Aug-11 23:28:50

I get this, I think I probably went with my Dp because he is a kind of Father figure (18 years older), although he isn't anything like my own Father iyswim. My Dad was very appearance focussed and hurt my self esteem, he died when I was 15, but I never felt comfortable with boys from my own peer group.

I think I saw my Dp as safe, he is somewhat emotionally unavailable, but very very passive, I do have lots of thoughts that this isn't the best relationship for me, but we have children so I'm here.

garlicnutter Sat 27-Aug-11 00:37:17

I think it's true about trying to resolve the problem of the past - and also true about the script. You can realise the stuff about trying to do your parents' marriage, better, and stop that - but still go on to find yourself another abusive relationship because you're still 'in script'.

At least, that's what I did. I know I'm not the only one. I ended my first marriage "to Dad" (violence, insults, etc) but completely failed to notice all the other kinds of abuse in my second one and other relationships.

As tawdry and pickgo said, it's about what your family trained you for. You can't just suddenly adopt a whole different set of values, because you have to get the new ones from somewhere and re-train. Everybody goes around giving out clues as to what their training was. You naturally resonate with other people whose values are similar. Bingo, you got yourself another dysfunctional relationship.

I had two different sets of 'training' - the weird one from my family, and a much more useful one from school. This led to my talking and acting like a highly functional woman (school) but feeling and thinking like a mad one (family). The idiots I shared my adult life with were drawn by my surface polish, but I bonded with them through compatible damage.

That's the main reason I advocate in-depth relationship education at school. While it can't overwrite the lessons of family, I think it can lead a person to make better choices faster.

beatenbyayellowteacup Sat 27-Aug-11 15:18:36

Hmmm. Not sure I know enough to answer anything other than anecdotally but I can say that:

a) never felt loved by Dad so at age 19 had a relationship with a 52 year old who showed me (what I felt to be) love and acceptance

b) parents argue all the time - I used to think (until frighteningly recently) that relationships were actually about arguing, not about enjoying each others' company.

c) Dad quite controlling - I seem to go for soft, wet men who are weaker than me, or else dominating, controlling men. Never yet gone for a man I can respect. But then I don't really respect Dad.

I think we can love only as much as we have seen/experienced it ourselves. So whatever pattern of relating we have been shown, we think to be the normal until it becomes challenged, either by ourselves or circumstances bringing it to our attention to sort out. So I don't know about resolving problems, more like continuing in the same script.

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