The adult you are today is a direct byproduct of the relationships observed and experienced during your childhood. Whatever you have learnt about negotiating, intimate relating, intimacy and power along with your expectations in terms of relationship fulfillment are modeled on the early relationships you witnessed as a child. The relationships we have with our parents consistently moulds our beliefs about what is expected and acceptable which has a great influence on the type of relationships we experience as adults.

‘The part of your brain that directed your search for a mate wasn’t your logical, orderly new (adult) brain; it was your time locked myopic (short sighted) old (infant/child) brain. And what your old infant brain was trying to do (now in an adult body) was trying to recreate the conditions of your upbringing in order to correct them. Having received enough nurturing to survive but not enough to feel satisfied the brain was attempting to return to the scene of your original frustration so that you could resolve your unfinished business.’  – ‘Getting the Love You Want: A Guide To Couples’ Psychologist Harville Hendrix

(Extract from the Celestine Prophecy Experientially Guide) Extract from the Celestine Prophecy Experientially Guide page 217

Without being consciously aware of what we are doing, many of us can be attracted to partners with similar characteristics of our mothers or fathers. While it is obvious we are not our parents there can be powerful subconscious compulsion to be just like them! In his book ‘Getting the Love You Want: A Guide To Couples’ Psychologist Harville Hendrix describes the quest some people have for the ‘ideal’ partner as a search for a certain blend of traits he calls the ‘imago.’ Hendrix’s believes each of us seeks a familiar mix of both the positive and negatives characteristics with which we were raised by our parents or caretakers. Every significant detail of how we were talked to, touched, and taught along with the physical, emotional, and mental attributes of our parents is recorded by our young brains.

When we become adults and interact with others, we are attracted to those who most closely match or resemble those early images within our subconscious mind. Hendrix concludes many people are subconsciously attracted to partners who possess their parent’s positive and negative traits but believes the negative traits are consistently more attractive and influential when we make our relationship choices. You may tell yourself “I will never marry an alcoholic like my father” but have a pattern of becoming involved with men who drink too much. A man might say to himself he will never have a relationship with a verbally abusive woman just like his mother but somehow he keeps falling in love with women who are verbally abusive.

Your conscious intention will be to find a partner who isn’t like you’re your mother or father and during the early stages of the relationship will everything seem perfect, but gradually you realize he has the main negative characteristics or behaviors of one or both of your parents. Why does this happen? The conscious mind is looking for one thing while the subconscious mind is looking for something else.

Many people have a tendency to play out the emotional issues of one parent and subconsciously choose partners who will play or reenact the other parent’s role in the relationship. As a child you were incapable of distinguishing subtle interactions between your parents so your interpretation within your adult mind may consist of polarized relationship scenarios. Subconsciously you then play out these scenarios with your partner, for example: Mother was a ‘giver’ while the Father was a ‘taker’ or one parent is seen as being ‘bad’ while the other was considered to be ‘good.’ This subconscious process can be even more prevalent and have a greater impact if one of your parents were absent during your childhood and you were fed negative stories regarding the mother or father who wasn’t around.You could be a fully grown adult but could still be playing out the parental influences or interactions you observed during childhood.

Formative Years > Influences Thinking & Beliefs > Creates Personal Patterns/Emotional Programming = Potential to Greatly Influence Relationship Choices

Any type of unresolved emotional business can motivate men and women to subconsciously try and resolve their unfilled childhood desires. Often when the primary desires of feeling loved or witnessing parents being loving towards each other are not fulfilled, a child can become an adult who constantly feels ‘something’ is missing or incomplete Sadly, some are driven to recreate scenarios and attracted to people or situations unconsciously seeking to recreate their childhood experiences with the purpose of resolving those issues.

Childhood emotional baggage can manifest in your relationships various ways, for example:

  • If one (or both) of your parents failed to give you the love and attention you desired you could attract and become involved with someone who makes you struggle to get their love and attention or who is cold and distant  
  • If you were angry with one (or both) of your parents as a child and still feel this anger you could become involved with someone who loves you but you could struggle to give them your love and attention or have a pattern of either hurting or rejected them
  • If you have anger issues regarding your parent(s) because they hurt you in some way, you could enter relationships with the subconscious intention of wanting to hurt your partner 

These patterns of behavior represent attempts to end the sense of separation from our parents that we experienced as children when they behaved in negative ways. We can spontaneously adopt their patterns of behavior to experience feeling connected to them again, even if they are not currently involved in our lives. If you had a difficult relationship with either or both of your parents, the only way to begin your emotional healing is to work through the issues so you can forgive them for any dysfunctional behaviors or attitudes. Sadly, many adults continue to compulsively act out negative patterns from their childhoods seeking to be loved and wanted but this deep desire ultimately causes alienation or rejection. For example, when a young boy or teenager has emotionally difficult relationship with his mother he is more likely to have difficulties with the opposite sex in later life. If a woman has conflicts with her father the same holds true.

Many people subconsciously pursue relationship experiences that recreate situations from their childhood experiences and very often it doesn’t matter if those scenarios were positive or negative. When their negative and dysfunctional behavior doesn’t provide the love they crave these people end up blaming their partners. Feelings of bitterness and resentment, being hurtful towards others and themselves often results in reinforcing feelings of remorse, guilt, and shame. These people often believe they’re deeply flawed in some way and beat up on themselves emotionally. 

Each person’s childhood experiences greatly influences their attitudes, preferences and choices. You may be very resistant to the idea of exploring your childhood experiences believing whatever is in the past in ‘dead’ and irrelevant but nothing dies emotionally until it has been fully processed and accepted. Childhood emotional baggage can be mild, moderate or severe but there is always the opportunity to embark on a journey towards healing! You can begin making conscious, self-empowering decisions instead of compulsive relationship choices motivated by the unconscious emotional programming of your wounded Inner Child.

If you find yourself struggling with issues from your childhood join a support group or consult a qualified therapist/counselor but make sure he or she has worked through similar experiences. Studying your childhood can help you to identify any unhealed wounds that require healing, help you to avoid making the same mistakes and greatly increase your chances of enjoying a happy, healthy relationship.

Extract ‘How to Avoid Making the BIG Relationship Mistakes’ available from Amazon