Attractions of Deprivation

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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.

Don’t Let Rumination Ruin your Relationship

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Don’t Let Rumination Ruin your Relationship

Ruminating is thinking about something from every angle, replaying mistakes over and over in your head and obsessing or over-thinking about important aspects of your life, such as your relationship or career. Obsessive behavior is often born out of rumination. Studies reveal that constant rumination can have negative side effects such as depression, anxiety, binge-eating, alcohol and substance abuse and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). What happens with rumination is that you get caught up in these negatives thoughts and they consume you. The more you think about them the more you get stuck in their pull and it becomes a viscous cycle.

Professor at Yale University Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D, a psychologist says of this phenomenon, “when people ruminate while they are in depressed mood, they remember more negative things that happened to them in the past, they interpret situations in their current lives more negatively, and they are more hopeless about the future.” Rumination pulverizes our problem-solving skills by making us feel helpless, and that it is all just a waste of time. You become so obsessed with the problem and how it makes you feel that you cannot make any plans for actually solving the problem.

What’s more, when a problem looks hopeless, all the people around you become tired of your negativity sooner or later. Says Nolen-Hoeksema, “When people ruminate for an extended time, their family members and friends become frustrated and may pull away their support.” So why do people ruminate if it can be so destructive to personal and romantic relationships? Some people are just overloaded with stress in their lives. Nolen-Hoeksema adds that, “Some people prone to ruminate have basic problems pushing things out of consciousness once they get there.”

According to the professor, women are more apt to ruminate than men. So how do you reduce the problem? First, do things that make you feel positive. Volunteer. Get some exercise. Take part in your favorite hobby or past-time. According to Nolen-Hoeksema, “The main thing is to get your mind off your ruminations for a time so they die out and don’t have a grip on your mind.” Next, empower yourself. Instead of wallowing in the thought that there is nothing you can do, make plans on how to conquer your problem or fear and follow through with those plans. Finally, replace rumination with positive self-reflection. The difference? Focus on the things you can change, the positive things you can do to make your situation better. Don’t let rumination ruin your relationship. To read more pick up a copy of, Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema.

Nurturing Yourself to Improve Relationships

Self-Love

Nurturing Yourself to Improve Relationships

Everyone wants a relationship that is kind, passionate, successful and fulfilling. But what is often ignored are the steps you need to take in order to get there. You have to work on yourself to be ready for the right type of person and relationship that can embody these qualities. Nurturing yourself is key in improving your romantic relationships. Studies have shown that those who practice self-love are more forgiving, honest, are clearer headed about their relationships, and make better partners overall. It makes sense. Clingy people smother their significant others. And those who export their happiness to someone else put too much pressure on their partners. You deserve to have the right relationship and to be the right person within it so that you can help it grow and prosper. The first step is to explore the relationship you have with yourself. Are you kind to yourself? Do you give yourself a break when you need it? Or are you often self-critical and have exceptionally high standards for yourself? The people we find ourselves attracted to and those partners we chose for ourselves are reflections of inner forces. If you judge yourself too harshly or lack self-respect you are likely to choose someone who embodies those feelings. If you are kind and loving to yourself and have a positive self-image that will spill over into the type of person you choose for a mate.

Now it’s time to improve the relationship you have with yourself. Are you eating right? Do you exercise? Take a vow to take care of your body. Get enough sleep. Take part in an exercise regimen you enjoy and can do regularly. Find a healthy way of eating that works for you and stick with it. Those who improve their physical well-being have less sickness, better control of their stress, enjoy a positive self-image and better self-esteem. Next look at how you think about yourself. Do you call yourself names in your head? Do you listen to that little voice that criticizes? Instead find ways to reverse those things. Consciously select phrases and words that encourage yourself rather than discourage yourself. Give yourself a break. Practice loving kindness. When you’ve had a tough day, or did something wrong don’t attack yourself. Learn to give yourself a break. Think about what words you say or think when talking about yourself or your life. You can use those words to uplift you or send you screaming down into the shadows. It’s up to you. Find ways to mitigate stress that are healthy such as yoga, meditation, spending time with friends or watching comedies. Lastly, look how you treat yourself. Are you good to yourself or not? If not, find ways to celebrate little victories, overcome obstacles and learn how to treat yourself right. If you improve yourself you will glow and the person you are looking for will feel it like a beacon and come find you. To find out more on this topic be sure to read Self-Nurture: Learning to Care for Yourself as Effectively as You Care for Everyone Else by Alice D. Domar and Henry Dreher.

Be an Imperturbable Dating Optimist

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Be an Imperturbable Dating Optimist

Everyone goes through a dry spell or a time when all they seem to be dating is a cavalcade of losers with no end in sight. Don’t let it get you down. It’s normal. But if you let it get you down and become a sour puss, a serial complainer or throw up your hands and say it’s hopeless, you’ll worsen your chances of finding the right person for you. Instead, learn how to be an imperturbable dating optimist. The first thing to do is to focus on the good things in your life. Make a list of why you should feel grateful. Practice inner peace, no matter what your persuasion. Reconnect with family and friends, but also yourself. Start to feel why you are such a great catch. Next, when you go out on a date, exude positivity. Notice the great things about the place you go, not the bad things. Compliment your date on the great qualities they possess, don’t just focus in on the negative or things that irk you. Bring up topics that you love to talk about. Your enthusiasm will shine through. And nothing in this world is more magnetic than sincere enthusiasm. And if the date is going really badly and there’s nothing you can do about, don’t think of it as a wasted evening or awkward moment but a funny story to tell your friends later on.

Do you or your friends here you exclaiming negative words associated with dating? If you keep going to the touch words won’t, can’t or hate you will never find your inner optimist. Instead, whenever you hear yourself saying one of these stop and take a look at it. Is it really as bad as all that? Challenge yourself to find something good in your dating life, even if it’s something funny or off color. If you swear a lot get a swear jar. And when you finally find someone you are interested in use it to take them out. If you really swear a lot you can take them for a weekend getaway. Talk yourself up when you are about to go on a date, just like how famous professional athletes psych themselves up before a match. Let yourself know that you never know. You never know what is going to happen. And if this person isn’t the one, or at least someone you can spend some time with, you might meet someone along the way who is, you could bump into an old flame, you may end up marrying this person, or even getting together with a friend of theirs. So be on your best behavior. If it isn’t the company but the activity that falls flat, perhaps suggest something you’ve always wanted to do and see if they are game. Have a coach or a whole squad of cheerleaders to call when you don’t feel like going on the date or you have a negative view and can’t shake it. Your dating destiny is in your hands. Choose to make it happy, lighthearted and fun. It’s really all up to you. For more advice, read Stop Wondering if you’ll Ever Meet Him: A Revolutionary Approach for Putting the Date Back into Dating by Ryan Browning Cassaday and Jessica Cassaday, PhD.

The Right Kind of Love

SELF-LOVE

Love is a universal emotion. It spells the highest euphoria and the deepest sadness. All of our lives, our jobs, and our passions are all areas that are motivated by love. But the real love we are talking about is the love you feel for another person. This is the kind that can give you the highest elation or the deepest despair. The most important place to start with love however, is self-love. This is the right kind of love. No relationship can be healthy, happy and fulfilling without each member loving themselves as they love one another. Without self-love we give everything to our partner without expecting anything in return. We set up a situation where we will be stepped on over and over. Or we expect our lover to understand our wants, needs and desires but without explaining them to that person. Then we are perpetually let down since no lover can read your mind. Or we harbor repressed anger thinking that they know what we need but won’t fulfill it. Another problem is that your lover is bound to cross the line. Those who do not have self-love have trouble setting boundaries and so cannot stand up for themselves. These people usually make the worst choices in love. And their partner pushes them around.

Self-love and self-respect must come first for a relationship to be happy, healthy, equal and satisfying. So how can we practice self-love? First, instead of using that little voice in your head to beat yourself up, make a conscious effort to reverse the things that it says. Instead, be kind to yourself. Be as compassionate to yourself as you are to others. Compliment and reward yourself when you do something right and minimize the criticism if something wrong is entering the fray. Next, each week spend a little time doing what you love most. Find a hobby or a passion. Make plans. Get excited. Outline benchmarks and reward or congratulate yourself when you meet them. When you feel satisfied others will recognize it and feel positively towards you. Choose to surround yourself with positive influences. People around you can either lift you up or sink you. Take a good long look at how others in your life change your decisions, outlook and perspective. If you surround yourself with people who support you, treat you right, are respectful, help you and encourage you, you will enjoy your life more and feel better about yourself. Lastly, don’t depend on others to take care of you or make you feel better. Be in charge of taking care of yourself and making yourself feel better. If you do this your self-esteem, self-image and self-respect will increase. Others will notice this and treat you right. And your relationships will be much happier, healthier and far more satisfying. For more advice on self-love, read Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant.