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.

Attractions of Inspiration

DATING

Attractions of Inspiration

You cannot control who you are sexually attracted to. And you can’t force it. But you can educate your libido. If all you end up with is a broken heart, can’t stop running after bad girls or bad boys, or always pick someone who’s emotionally unavailable, you can change the course of your love life. You aren’t doomed to failure. What you need to do is to develop attraction to people who are well-adjusted, kind, considerate and supportive, among other qualities. You can develop the skills necessary to have solid, healthy relationships. And these are the same skills you’ll use to keep those relationships fresh and alive.

When we look for a potential mate, we have natural evaluation systems we aren’t even aware of analyzing data and sending us emotions in tune with that data. There are really two systems going on at once. The conscious mind is attracted to the positive things that contribute to a successful, happy relationship. But the subconscious is drawn toward the issues we most suffered from at the hands of our caregivers as children such as neglect, abuse, manipulation, betrayal and anger. To work through these issues we seek a partner who embodies the same such problem we are struggling with in order to have a second chance at moving past the problem and healing psychologically.

This explains why we feel knocked off kilter when we meet someone that we’re really into. It also shows why love affairs can be so exhilarating and so agonizing when they end. Some people solve the problem by dating people that are safe but they have no attraction to. This usually leads to boredom and feeling unfulfilled. Others date those they find highly attractive, and go on constant roller coaster rides of the heart, with thrills and spills which leave you heady or down in the dumps from one week to the next. The trick is to date someone with a midrange level of attraction, but who also has qualities that are good for long term potential such as a good sense of humor, dependability, honesty, hard-working, considerate, kind and all of that good stuff.

Cultivate an attraction of inspiration and not only will you be in the right place romantically, your lover will be one of a high quality, where you can also enjoy a long term, healthy and committed relationship. How do you do that? The trick is to build intimacy. You need to get the heart and the head going in the right direction. Don’t focus on the person’s imperfections; instead focus on their good qualities. Spend lots of time together and talk about everything. Get close and build closeness. Don’t get nervous or take off if it doesn’t get off the launch pad right away. Stick in there with someone you like on an intellectual level and build your attraction to them. If you have an ember of attraction, with a little patience and some deep reflection, you can stoke your own ember into an inferno of passion. For more advice read, How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Henry Cloud.