Why do we fall for the wrong person?

Welcome to this weeks blog. A listener simply asked the question, ‘why do we accept the love we think we deserve?’ When we talked around the subject Ed said ‘why do we fall for the wrong person?’ My response is that we don’t, the person that we fall for has something for us that may be positive or negative, they are there to teach us something, that may seem odd, let me explain.

John Bowlby developed ‘Attachment theory’ from the work that he did with newly born babies making the primary and secondary emotional attachments with their caregiver, normally their parents. As the child grows they are developing their understanding of the world by observing the people and the behaviours around them. We describe this as a paradigm. Your paradigm is the sum total of all that you have experienced since you were born. Within your paradigm are all your beliefs and ideas, it is the way that you see the world.

John Bowlby described this as your ‘Internal working models’. Below your awareness within your unconscious self you have a model for what a mother is, what a father is, what a partner is, and how you should act in a relationship. Then, below your awareness, you go out and match your internal working models to the people that you meet in the world.

If as a daughter you observed your father being aggressive or abusive to your mother you are likely to build an internal working model that tells you that this is what a partner should be like. The result of this is that you are likely to replicate what you observed when you were a child even if this is negative or damaging to you.

The strange things is that your Mind-brain is neutral. It is simply a habit forming mechanism that has no interest in whether the habits that you develop and play out are good or bad, positive or negative, whether they serve you well or badly.

We are what we learn. And the more that we repeat the habits that we have learned the more embedded they become until we say, ‘this is simply the way that I am’. This is never true. You are what you have learned to be and if you want to change you habits, beliefs, thoughts or feeling you can simply learn new ones. Our behaviour will either reinforce our negative self or our positive self. What we do is always feeding the paradigm.

Perception and learning go together. We can only perceive what we learn. New perception comes from new learning. We can only change through new learning. This new learning is reprogramming our paradigm.

The bottom line is if you do not like what you think, feel or do, or like the people around you or the life that you have created for yourself, then you can change it. That is what all our work at Live In The Present is all about and that is what the Ten Steps course is all about.

My resource of the week is any book by John Bowlby.

Attachment theory gives us great insight into our relationships, how and why we make them and what it is that we need to do to change them.

As a last thought, look at those people around, at your relationships. They may be intimate, familial, friendships or business. Whatever they are consider what these relationship mean to you, Ask yourself what do you get from each relationship. Consider what lesson each one of these relationships have come to teach you?
As my teacher said to me, “when you meet someone for the first time ask yourself the question, ‘what has this person come to teach me’?” With this awareness you will learn, grow and develop as much as you possibly can. You might consider what it is that your partner has come to teach you?

Take care and be happy

Sean x


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