Attractions of 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.

5 Relationship Tips for Men after Divorce


Getting back out there can be hard, especially if the divorce was difficult or if you have little previous experience. When you have to endure money problems, your ex, manage the kids and still keep one top of your career, the last thing you might be thinking about is dating again. But the truth is with so many divorced and single women out there, there is no better time than now to be dating. Here are the 5 relationship tips for men after divorce. Number one, don’t let anyone push you into dating and don’t jump in until you are ready. If you are still bitter, dating may not be best at this time. But if you feel comfortable, there are lots of single and available women out there and who knows, you might just run into the next Ms. Right. Number two, make sure you reconnect with yourself. Try out your own hobbies. While you’re at it, see if there are any clubs or Meetup groups, events on Eventbrite and so on and really delve into your hobbies. Being social in hobbies is a great way to meet new people, make new friends and even meet someone special. Number three, get a new haircut and some new clothes. They can make you feel like a new man. Number four, think about what it is you are looking for. Is it a relationship, companionship, or just someone who will be hot and ready when you feel the urge? Certainly there is no right and wrong answer. But the answer is already inside you, in your heart. Find it. Think about the type of woman you want to meet. You don’t want to end up with your ex-wife’s clone. Get in touch with old friends, family members and others. Go out and be social. You may run into a single lady. And who better to evaluate your dates for you than your friends?

Think about yourself in a positive way. You have a lot to offer to the right woman in the right relationship. Be sure to project your best face. Understand that out on a date, sooner or later a woman is going to ask you about your past relationships, including your divorce. You don’t want to say something that will make you sound bitter. Don’t make it sound like it’s all your ex-wife’s fault either. Instead, try to find a positive spin to put on it. Tell her what you found out about yourself or what wisdom you learned about relationships in general. If you can, lead with a joke and then surprise her with something deep and inspiring. She will be putty in your hands. So many people are divorced nowadays it’s generally speaking no longer a stigma. Just make sure you talk about it in the right way. Or else she’ll be afraid she’ll be the next on your enemies list. Women ask these questions to get a sense of how you will act in a relationship with them. Don’t compare the woman sitting across from you on a date to your ex. It will never be good. Each woman is beautiful and unique in her own way and needs to be respected as such. If you make any sort of comparison you’ll ruin the mood straight off. Sometimes a guy finds a great woman, or just a young, attractive one and he runs off with her and right into another serious relationship, and some guys a marriage outright. Number five is don’t be that guy. Savor your freedom and don’t rush into anything. Instead, make sure you date her for the right reasons. Why not try friends first? Or tell your date or dates that you’ve just gotten divorced and want to take it slow. If she’s worth your time at all she’ll understand. If she doesn’t, she wasn’t worth dating to begin with. Once you’ve been out there, seen what’s around and what the deal is then you can form your opinion properly on what you are really looking for and how to proceed. Enjoy dating. Don’t rush. That’s the number one mistake guys make. It can be really great if you have the right mindset about it. For more relationship advice, read Back In The Game: Succeeding With Women After a Divorce by Christie Hartman.

How to Praise your Partner Instead of Criticizing Them


Is your first reaction to criticize your partner? Are you at your best when you’re being sarcastic? If you can’t stop tearing your partner down, you are likely hurting their feelings. They will hide things from you. They won’t trust you. Ultimately you will drive them away. But what is the problem and how can it be addressed? How can you learn to praise your partner instead of criticizing them? First, come to realize the essential point of the problem. You are wrapped up in putting down others and making yourself look better in comparison. While a slight critique here and there can improve things, overly criticizing someone is a blow to their ego, their self-esteem, it makes their life uncomfortable, sucks the fun out of the relationship, creates a toxic environment and ultimately ends the relationship. The truth is, this is a strategy meant to dominate. People will start to think that nothing is ever good enough for you. Whether this is true or not, the urge to constantly criticize is a habit. And like all habits it can be broken. The first thing to do is to recognize what you say to your partner and how it makes them feel. Sit down and have a talk with them. Ask them to open up about this. Tell them you won’t judge them. If they don’t respond, give them time and quit criticizing them all the time. Then revisit the issue.

Next, plan to only communicate your criticisms in an appropriate way, and only the most important or crucial ones. When your partner does something way out of line, find a nice, well balanced and appropriate way to communicate the issue and suggest a better way to approach and solve the problem. Then decide to, instead of criticizing your partner, praise them. Find little things that they do and tell them what they did and why you like it. Write down a list of things you like about them, and also things you appreciate in your life. When they do something like wash the dishes or take out the garbage, even if it’s their job, thank them for it. Expect them to thank you when you do something, even if it’s your job. Talk to someone, do some research online, or speak to a professional and find the difference between constructive criticism and a put down. Make sure you can communicate with a goal in mind, to stop your partner say from leaving their dirty boots in the house, or check with you before making plans. Don’t take part in boosterism or praising in the hopes that your partner’s elevated self-esteem will someday raise their level of performance above mediocrity. You can have higher standards. But use praise, patience and positive reinforcement to help your partner get there. If you are in a committed relationship, be committed to loving and helping this person. Accept them for who they are. Accept their faults and their positive qualities alike, and expect the same from them in return. For more insight on how to have a healthier relationship with your partner, read the advice of Harville Hendrix in his book, Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition.

Don’t say These Things to a Friend Who’s Been Cheated on

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If you have a friend who is the victim of infidelity, you need to be there for them. Heartbreak is one of the most painful things we can experience. It is a type of grieving. But it is doubly painful when the other person has cheated. It’s sudden. It’s hard to consider why someone who loved them would be so callous, and the bitterness cuts deeper than if they weren’t so malevolent and careless with your friend’s heart. The Hippocratic Oath says to first do no wrong. So don’t say these things to a friend who’s been cheated on, unless you want to make matters worse.  Don’t tell your friend that if a person is a cheater, they will always be one. Are they considering getting back together? Was there some underlying issue that pushed this person into infidelity? If your friend is considering reconciling, it will hurt them even worse when you say this. Of course there may be underlying reasons, but don’t mention this to them. It will hurt them more, make them feel inadequate, or as if the cheating was there fault. Don’t try to assuage how your friend is feeling by telling a worse story of cheating. “Your story isn’t as bad as…”will only make your friend feel as if you are cheapening their emotional pain, or making it less significant.

Don’t give your friend advice on what they should do, unless they ask for it. If you advise that they get back together and it works out worse, they may resent you for your advice. Now is the time to comfort, not give advice. Instead, let them figure it out for themselves. Tell them they need to heal now. But the way forward will be clear to them once some of the pain has subsided and they’ve had some time to think. If they ask you directly, feel free to give it, or analyze the situation together and let them come to their own conclusions. Don’t give them the fish in the sea line. They aren’t ready to hear that yet. First, they need to grieve and heal. You’ll only be pushing them into something they aren’t ready for yet, dating. Don’t mention that the physical act of cheating was a façade for the emotional needs not being met. You are essentially telling your friend that the other man or woman fulfilled their ex in a way that they could not. Don’t suggest they call a lawyer right away if they were married or cohabitating. They should be in a cool, calm emotional state when talking to an attorney. If they just go out for revenge, they may sink their finances with legal bills, and be in far more trouble. Be a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and someone to make them laugh or distract them from their pain. Don’t worry about saying the right things, just do the right things, and your friend will feel better and lucky to have you in their life. There are numerous resources available to help people recover from infidelity, such as the advice given by Janis Abrahms Spring and Michael Spring in their book, After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful.

Date someone Religious without them trying to Convert You


It’s great to date people from different backgrounds. You can learn so much, not only about other people and what they believe, but about yourself and what you believe, too. How can you really tell what you think to be true without having other ideas to compare your beliefs to? Experiencing different points of view can enrich and deepen your understanding, not only of your beliefs, but of others and the world in general. Your own ideas may deepen, develop, or even change. One thing to keep in mind when dating someone who is religious is that certain religions seek converts. If you don’t want to be converted, it’s important to communicate that early on, explain what your beliefs are, and set boundaries so that you two can operate comfortably without overstepping each other’s bounds. Still, it can be difficult to navigate. So how exactly do you date someone religious without them trying to convert you? First, it’s important to point out that they chose to date you, even if you’re not of their faith. Make sure that you don’t lead them on and make them think you are going to convert to their faith. In fact, when things move from being casual to more serious, it’s important for both of you to discuss your beliefs in depth. Set some ground rules. Let them know that you’re not interested in being converted, though you like them very much.

Ask them how they feel about you, and let them know how you feel about them. Tell them that you’re not interested in being their conversion project. In fact, you feel that it insults your point of view, religion, or philosophy when they try to impose their faith on you. Point out that you’re not trying to enforce your beliefs on them. Do they have other friends or people in their life who have beliefs that differ from theirs? If not, encourage them to have friends and others who are from different religious, ethnic, racial, political, and socio-economic backgrounds. Explain how it’s important to understand people from other points of view. In fact, it can even get them to understand themselves and their own faith better, by comparison. Teach them how to talk about religion in an intellectual instead of a personal manner. Let them know that they shouldn’t take intellectual questioning about their religion by others personally or as some kind of attack. Show them other areas you two may disagree about and ask them how they feel about that. Let them explain their beliefs using other verbiage besides “The Bible says so” or something like that. Let them know how conversion hurts you and others in the same way that they would be resistant and upset with someone from another faith trying to convert them to a different belief. Love them for who they are and expect the same in return.