Attractions of Deprivation

deprivation

Attractions of Deprivation

Do you have a string of romantic disasters trailing behind you? Do you often fall in love with the wrong person and your passion turns into devastation when you see your relationship inevitably fall apart? What gives? Don’t give up. You aren’t destined to die alone or in a dysfunctional relationship. You may be suffering from attractions of deprivation. The Imago model developed by Harville Hendrix states that we are attracted to those who embody the worst elements of our childhood caregivers, our parents or whoever raised us.

We have unresolved issues surrounding abuse, betrayal, neglect and manipulation from these caregivers. We desire to heal these wounds, subconsciously, and so seek out a mate with these qualities so that we may do so. Said another way, we are therefore most attracted to those who have the ability to hurt us psychologically the way we were hurt as children. Moreover, what ends up happening is instead of healing we get hurt in the exact same way, once again, this time by a lover instead of a caregiver. We want to have the same problem play out from our childhood but this time solve the problem instead of enduring the pain, and move past this incident, gaining closure and healing the old wound.

The first thing to do is to identify the negative qualities that pull you in in the first place. Look for qualities that all of your exes who matched this pattern had in common. If you are unsure ask friends, family members and confidants. Next, identify these exact same qualities in your childhood caregivers. Write them down in a list. Call it “My Attractions of Deprivation.” Write down anything that annoyed, upset or hurt you. Don’t worry if you were at fault in some instances, too. Just write them down. Put in physical characteristics that are attractive too but negative like over-confident swagger. Next, get another piece of paper. Entitle it “Profile of my Attractions of Deprivation.” Write down the exact type of person you are attracted to using these qualities. Notice that these exact qualities are both what turn you on and what end up stifling the relationship, such as arrogance. On the flip side, that person doesn’t care about you the way you do them. They aren’t considerate and don’t support you or make room in their lives for you. If you can’t think of anything, ask your friends. They’ll have a ton of things to tell you.

Underneath write “My Gifts.” Write down all of the positive qualities your exes never took the time to get to know about you. These are the very things that get stifled in these relationships. They are holding you back from personal growth. Keep this with you and the next time you are attracted to someone who is wrong for you, turn away. Find people you are attracted to instead, those that inspire you not deprive you. For more advice read, How to Avoid Falling in Love with A Jerk: The Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart without Losing Your Mind by John Van Epp, Ph.D.

How Long Does It Really Take to Get Over Your Ex?

breakup

How Long Does It Really Take to Get Over Your Ex?

When you are in the midst of a breakup or a painful divorce, usually people are there for you. It’s the one good thing about it. What they say though is sometimes another matter. For instance, people will give you all kinds of wild and contradictory advice, including how long it takes to get over someone. For a long relationship, say lasting five years, some say it takes twice as long to get over. But does that mean you’ll be stuck in a rut for the next decade? Others say it doesn’t take double the time. Instead, take the duration of your relationship and cut it in half. How long does it really take to get over your ex? The problem is way more complex than a simple formula. Plus not everyone is the same. In fact, there’s a lot of deviation when it comes to dealing with the emotional pain that follows a breakup. Some people have a tryst with a new lover and feel rejuvenated. Others pine away, spending months on the couch in sweats watching romantic comedies and wondering why they aren’t feeling any better.

There are a lot of reasons a breakup is not easy. One is biological. Researchers at the University of Berkeley found that dopamine, the reward chemical, is released when you are in love, the same kind of feeling you get from a drug high. You are, in a way, literally addicted to that person and must go through withdrawal. But everyone withdraws in their own way. According to British psychotherapist Elly Prior there are seven factors that influence how long it will take for you to move on after a breakup. These are: how long the relationship was, whether or not the breakup was recent, how obsessive or intense it was, whether or not it was meaningful to you, how things ended, if domestic violence entered the picture and whether or not one or both of you had an affair. Other important factors include if this is your first breakup, if you have a support network in your life, what other stressors surround you, if property or possessions still have to be split up, if you suffer from depression, how you interacted with one another and whether or not you are surrounded by reminders, say a photo on a shelf or your ex constantly springing up on your newsfeed.

One simple formula isn’t enough to solve such a menagerie. You may feel like you are being swallowed up in a pit of hopelessness and despair. But realize that emotions such as these don’t stick around for long. Pretty soon it will start to subside. There of course will be moments when you are reminded of the person. But those also pass. It’s important to tend to yourself at this time. Vent, have a good cry, spend time with friends and reconnect with people you lost touch with. Think about your future and what dreams you want to fulfill now that you don’t have any dead weight pulling you down. Reflect also on what you loved about the person. If things feel incomplete, make your own ritual and find an appropriate way to say goodbye. You don’t need their permission. They don’t even need to be there. Do it on your own. Try to turn around a breakup or divorce and make it a positive experience, one that you learn from and makes you a better person. For more on breakup recovery read, How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Peter McWilliams and Harold H. Bloomfield.

Breakup Habits that Exacerbate the Problem

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Breakup Habits that Exacerbate the Problem

A breakup can tear you up inside, especially if you didn’t see it coming. What’s the best way to breakup? A clean break. But that’s hard to do for a lot of people. The Huffington Post recently conducted the “Breakup with Your ex Survey” and found that 86% of respondents believed a clean break was best, while 64% were still pining for their ex.  If you are in this situation, you may feel all alone, but in fact you are in good company. Still, there are normal go-to habits most people take part in that exacerbates the problem rather than alleviating or lessening it. Don’t fall victim to your own misguided good intentions. Avoid these common pitfalls and you should be on your way to healing that broken heart.

First, don’t leap into bed with someone else the moment you get the chance. Of course you should definitely move on when you’re ready. Finding that you are still loveable and attractive to the opposite sex will renew you. But when the wound is fresh this new relationship is just bound to make you more confused and upset. Instead, take some time to be sad and to mourn.

Next, get rid of your ex on your social media sites. Quit stalking their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. Unfriend them as quickly as possible. Some people believe that doing so is sending a message to their ex. But so what? It’s better than watching their every move on social media, and getting yourself more angry and upset than you already are. How can you move on if you keep looking them up? If you two are going to be friends in the future you can refriend them at that time. Don’t confront your ex to get closure. It won’t help any. It will just make you look bad in your ex’s eyes, and others who know about it. Any interaction to provide closure will just result in where you are now, with a broken heart.

Don’t take it as a bruise to your ego. There are reasons why this relationship isn’t healthy, satisfying or compatible. That means you two are just not compatible. It’s no one’s fault, though it’s important to see what you might have done that you may bring to the next relationship. Focus on your feelings, yourself, how incredible you are and ways to soothe your heartache. Don’t brush over your feelings, embrace them. But don’t wallow in self-pity forever. Recognize when it’s time to get back out there. The next great love of your life will bump into you when you least expect it. For more advice read, Breakup Rehab: Start Over Stronger by Rebekah McClaskey, M.A.

Why Dating at Summer Camp was the Best

camp

Why Dating at Summer Camp was the Best

Remember those great summers at camp with swimming, horseback riding, canoeing, sports and arts and crafts and singing around a campfire at night? Camp was also a place a lot of people experience their first summer romance. Here are some reasons why dating at summer camp was the best. First, you never had to get dressed up, especially for a date. No cologne, perfume, makeup or serious clothing. It was come as you are and everybody was cool with that. You didn’t have to coordinate dates as to where you’ll meet, who is driving where and so on. You were right where you needed to be.

You could be seen at your worst physically, sweating and beaten, and they’d still love you. You could totally lose it emotionally being homesick, angry at your friend or just from being tired, and they still wanted to be with you. You didn’t have to worry about who pays or what it meant. Everything at camp was free. You both had the exact same schedule so no trying to awkwardly coordinate dates. That first crush at camp was always so real. Some people only dated over the summer. Others dates back at school or saw each other every summer until summer camp faded away. Some became counselors and some moved away. Some are probably even married today.

Whatever was going on at summer camp, your relationship was free. There was no pressure from inside or from without to make it become something or see it go somewhere. But that summer camp crush, just when you first saw them, or got up that morning and thought about seeing them that very day, made you all soft and gooey inside. You all hung out together. You all had the same friends and you never had to coordinate around people who didn’t like each other or had dated and broken up. You had to hang out together so everyone got together and made the best out of everything.

You already knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses by seeing one another operate around the different activities through the course of the day. There wasn’t really any privacy so you were forced to take things slow. But in that there was a kind of magic every time you got together, every time you kissed and each time you went a little bit further. There was lots of cuddling. Also, if you got stuck on any point you had camp counselors to guide you when you had problems in love. There was closure at the end of a camp romance, and great memories would inhabit your mind and theirs for all the days and years to come. To learn more about young love and the various experiences we go through in relationships, read Lena Dunham’s book, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned.”

Signs He’s Not over His Ex

ex

Signs He’s Not over His Ex

Guys are usually pretty easy to read. The trouble comes when we are in denial about a relationship. Or when we’re so caught up in how it makes us feel we don’t take a good, hard look at who this is all pointed toward. There are some clear signs when a guy isn’t over his ex. Lots of girls choose not to notice it. Others keep dismissing these or other bad behaviors. It comes from a low self-esteem, needing validation or being so wrapped up in the feelings of love that we forget ourselves. But it’s that intuition you really need to listen to. Intuition is other parts of your brain, speaking from experience telling you that something is not right here. Listen to that inner voice and ask your friends what they seriously think should things progress and they get to meet him. Take things to heart and understand what they mean from his point of view. First, consider how he broke up with his ex. Was there closure there? Or did he feel like things were left unsettled? If he has told you all about her, how much does he talk about her? If you have spent hours listening to things about her or their relationship he clearly isn’t over her.

What kinds of things does he say about her? If he still compliments her for certain things, or talks about what he brought to the relationship, he may just have a hard time letting things go. If he’s over complimenting her than he probably wants to get back with her. Then there are those guys who drone on and on about what a heartless monster his ex was. He is clearly jaded by the whole thing. But the fact that he can’t stop focusing means two things. One, he’s not focusing on you as he should. Number two is that he must have really loved her, if she hurt him so badly. That said, how long ago was this relationship? If it wasn’t long ago or he hasn’t dated since, you might be the rebound. How does that make you feel? If you are okay with that then simply ask him to tone it down about his ex. But if it drives you crazy and you don’t think you are getting the attention you deserve, why not cut your ties and sail on? You aren’t getting what you want out of this relationship. And who wants to hear some guy drone on about his ex all the time? If his ex broke it off or if she cheated on him, you should turn around and walk the other way. If she left him he may still be pining for her. You are just a way to make him feel better. The same is true if she cheated on him, plus he may have trust issues due to this. It’s better to let this one go. For more advice on this topic read, Dating the Divorced Man: Sort Through the Baggage to Decide if He’s Right for You by Christie Hartman.