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Prevent childhood scars from creating bad adult relationships

Humans attempt to heal childhood trauma through repetition. When it comes to mate selection, we are drawn to partners who recreate our most disappointing and damaging childhood relationships. Rather than re-injure ourselves, we can learn to choose partners who are devoted to helping us to heal our old scars rather than re-ignite the old pain.


Do

Do understand the link between old scars and mate selection

Humans are driven to repeat trauma in the hopes of achieving a healing, or what you could call a Happy Ending. This repetition leads us to choose partners who emotionally resemble the parent who let us down or harmed us, called Setting the Stage. Once the stage is set, we soon find ourselves reliving our old scars, which not only awakens the pain from childhood, but also adds insult to original injury. Sadly, most of us get stuck in the reliving phase of the repetition and never make the transition to healing.

Do know your old scar

Healing awaits us when we become conscious of our old scars and bravely and authentically share our painful childhood stories with our partners. As we reveal our pain and allow our partners to listen, understand and hold us in our pain, we can transform our partners into healing allies rather than enemies so that our intimate relationships become an oasis of healing. As we heal our old scars together, anger and fighting fades, allowing the love that brought us together to shine brighter than ever.

Do beware of choosing partners who can’t offer us a happy ending

Some partners are more invested in playing out their old scars by torturing us rather than working for mutual healing. When we choose a partner who is a carbon copy of the parent who let us down, that partner may not be able to give us any more or any better treatment than our parents did. In selecting a new partner, we need to be conscious of our choice, and make sure to select a partner who is able to give us our happy ending rather than subject us to more of the same abuse we suffered as kids.

Do beware when intense feelings of attraction arise

When we feel an immediate and wildly crazy attraction to another person, it can be a clue that we’re on the verge of falling into a repetition. When we meet someone who resembles a parent we had trouble with, the hope of healing is unconsciously sparked. This triggers a sense of excitement that comes from the anticipation of finally receiving the emotional goodies we yearned for as a kid. This sounds good in theory, but it rarely works out this way. When we form a relationship with a partner who is limited and/or damaged in the exact same ways that our parent was, that person may not be able to give us any more or any better treatment than our parent did. Bottom line: If you feel instantly over the moon over someone, make sure that the excitement is not being fueled by the heady but futile hope of healing your old scars with a clone of a damaged parent.

Do choose to stay single until your old scar is healed

Staying single gives us the chance to nurture and heal the wounded part of ourselves. During this phase, it’s time to give ourselves the treatment we needed way back when. Rewarding ourselves with our own happy ending and surrounding ourselves with friends who offer us the same is the way to heal. We’ll know that we’re healed and ready for a healthy love when we stop feeling drawn to partners who we know deep down are going to re-injure us. At this point, we will naturally draw a loving partner who will continue offering us a lifetime of happy endings.


Don't

Do not disregard your red flags

It’s said that the unconscious mind knows everything about another person within 5 minutes of meeting! People actually broadcast exactly how they are going to behave in a relationship with us. If we listen, we receive all the warnings we need right up front. If someone was unfaithful, abusive or abandoning in past relationships, he/she will let us know. It is precisely our wish to heal our old scars that makes us ignore these red flags; because we want to replay the past with players who are like the original players. Don’t let the hunger for a happy ending make you blind to the red flags.

Do not sell yourself oceanfront property in Nebraska

It’s easy to put blinders on and snow ourselves into believing the false tales we tell ourselves. When we find ourselves making excuses or minimizing another person’s limitations and faults, and/or fooling ourselves into thinking we can change the other person, we know that old scars are afoot, and that we’re on the verge of jumping in with someone who’s going to repeat the worst pains of our past. Remember, what you see is what you get. And, don’t pull the wool over your eyes and buy into self-manufactured fairy tales that won’t have a happy ending.

Do not attach to a dead ringer for the parent who let you down

Parental dead ringers are relationship dead ends. The reason we feel driven to choose partners who resemble the parents who let us down is simple: If we can manage to receive from our partners the the emotional goodies that we lacked as kids, we will feel as though we’re finally receiving the treatment we yearned for way back when…and our old scar will be healed. Again, this happy ending rarely comes about when we choose partners who are too damaged.

Do not fall into the trap of trying to fix or change another person

Children believe that they are omnipotent (meaning, all powerful). This leads kids to believe that they have the power to fix their defective, neglectful and hurtful parents. As kids we dream of the day that we fix our parents and finally receive their love. When the plan doesn’t work, we feel like we’ve failed. Then, we carry the struggle into our adult romantic relationships. As we try to fix our defective partners, we are unconsciously still trying to fix our parent. This explains why letting go of a defective partner or relationship is hard as hell. Doing so feels like giving up the hope of healing our old scar. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can fix another person. Remember: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: One, but the light bulb really has to really want to change.

Do not tolerate abuse

Magical thinking is the hallmark of a kid’s thought process. All kids think: If I’m angry with my parent, he/she will die. Since I can’t risk losing my parent, I have to swallow my anger. At the same time, kids are narcissistic by nature, meaning they see themselves as the center of the universe, meaning a kid thinks that whatever happens in the world is because of them and about them; and, if they’re mistreated it’s because they made it happen and they deserve it. These two realities set us up to tolerate mistreatment in our adult relationships and wrongly believe that we deserve it. This leads us to stay in very unhealthy relationships that repeat our old scars. It’s vital to let go of the baby brain. Don’t tolerate or make excuses for a partner who mistreats you. When you free yourself from this thinking, you will be free to let go of an unhealthy relationship that replays your old scars and move on to a loving relationship that’s affirming and healing.


Summary
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By consciously choosing partners who are not carbon copies of our damaged and defective parents, we can form healthy and loving relationships. Heed this advice to help you heal from old scars and embrace new and loving relationships.


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Dr. Jamie Turndorf (aka Dr. Love)Founder and Host

Known to millions as “Dr. Love” through her website AskDrLove.com — the web's first and immensely popular relationship advice site since 1995 — Dr. Jamie Turndorf has been delighting readers and audiences for three decades with her engaging blen...

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