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May 20, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Personality

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Why do we repeat?

Question:

I am a 37 yr old gay man who was married and has 2 children. I am from a divorced family and have always felt that I was not important to my father and have always wanted his approval. I tend to choose partners that are in need of something in the emotional sense. I have a huge capacity to give and love and I find that once they feel 'healed' for lack of a better word, they leave and move on and I am left to play out this scenario again and again. I desperately want a loving meaningful relationship with a man. I want to build a life with him and have a loving monogamous relationship yet I find now at this stage of my life I feel like I am shutting down and not able to give of myself for fear of getting hurt again. I feel bitter and jaded and I don't like it but I am unsure of how to change and how to attract quality people into my life that will allow me to grow as a person as they grow.

How do I let the baggage go for good? How do I feel good about me in order to attract the person I desire? How do I make a worthwhile contribution to someone else's life and at the same time ensure I am being nourished by them also?

PJ (37 year-old man) Toronto, Ontario

Answer:

Dear PJ,

What a terrific question. In fact PJ I really think that it is really one of the top five questions all of us, as human beings have to answer. It is that common. Human beings learn in numerous ways such as mimicry and observation. One of our most important ways to learn is through the Concept of Mastery.

If we are having a hard time mastering a task we tend to become obsessed with the task until we complete it to our satisfaction. Once it is learned however it ceases to be all that special. Think of a baby trying to pronounce a new word and figure out how to use that word. They become fixated on that word and will use it over and over again until one day they just seem to lose interest. This is Concept of Mastery.

Repetition Compulsion is Concept of Mastery gone awry. The difference is that with a Repetition Compulsion there is a critical bit of misinformation or lack of information that makes it impossible to master the task. When I first learned how to use the web I kept typing in the URL as I was told and kept getting the same result-cannot find page. I repeated my movements exactly over and over again. I became fixated and could not resolve the issue until a friend peered over my shoulder and added a decimal point.

When a child feels unloved or abandoned by a parent, whether or not that parent really acted in this way, a child will take on the shame and blame and become convinced deep inside that they are unworthy, unlovable, and that their needs will never be met. This sets up a dual goal of wanting to finally prove that they are loveable by attaining that love and paradoxically by trying to find a person or situation that will prove they are unworthy. It creates a blind spot and a self-sabotaging system that reinforces our early negative beliefs.

An example is a woman who took emotional care of her father, but felt that the love was not returned. Consciously as an adult she would realize that the fault lay with her father. Subconsciously she would tend to blame herself. Therefore, the tendency would be to go after a man who in one way was unavailable and would disappoint her and yet would look good enough at first where she would be unaware of the similarity with her father. No that does not mean that she really wanted to marry her father. It only means that she had to continue to be disappointed in love and find herself at fault. The tendency would be for her to take care of his needs and neglect her own.

The way out of this dilemma is to fix the blind spot. No child is unworthy, unlovable, or should be unable to get their needs met. Either the situation or the parents were unable to get this point across. As an adult we need to realize this fact consciously. However, this still leaves the old pain and the old subconscious beliefs. I would suggest finding a qualified psychotherapist who is skilled at both NET-Neuro Emotional Techniques and EMDR- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Being an expert in Family of Origin treatment and Hypnosis would also be extremely helpful. These are powerful techniques that can truly make a difference. No one is doomed to the past.

Good Luck.

Jef Gazley, M.S. www.asktheinternettherapist.com

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.

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