You’ve been dating the same type of guy or gal for years: controlling, dominating, manipulative -- and you can’t seem to break the pattern. Your friends are constantly asking: “Why are you always drawn to these type of people, when they make you so unhappy?”
Do any or all of these former partners remind you of someone in your life? If you examine closely, I bet you’ll see a resemblance between these toxic personalities to the earliest relationship you had with the opposite sex: usually, your mother or father.
The Patterns Begin at the Beginning
Our relationships are often based on projected material. We gravitate to people who let us do what we know how to do – whether positive or negative – people who are familiar to us. The early patterns of interactions that we learned with our opposite-sex parent might lead us to the same patterns again, keeping us in our comfort zone.
So even though you may keep telling your friends that you want something different – maybe a more thoughtful partner, one who accepts you for who you are and doesn’t try to control you – you will likely still gravitate to the controlling parental figure, a personality you are familiar with and have experience handling.
Breaking the Early Patterns
As you mature and grow, you may recognize that you want a different kind of partner in your adult life. To know yourself is the first step to gaining the ability to acknowledge and recognize similar patterns in relationships -- and to avoid them. Though still drawn to those familiar personalities, you can choose to deliberately override the compulsion, through conscious awareness.
If you do this, then you make room for the right relationship to enter. Because you have changed, you may begin to attract a different person, a better person.
Five Common Toxic Partner Personalities
From my experience as a researcher and educator, with a Ph.D.