The other day, my friend sat across from me in the university cafeteria, crying over her most recent breakup. The guy just decided to leave her completely out of the blue. And now we’re left with her, just helping her try to sort out the pieces.
“He was never even affectionate. And he never gave me any real compliments,” she told us. “But I actually thought he loved me.”
They always had a lot of problems, but my friend still believed that he just might be “The One”. And this isn’t exactly the first time this is happening to her. She kept asking us as she cried,” Why do I always end up with a guy who isn’t committed enough to stay?”
This is a good question to ask in such situations. And the key towards finding happiness is to actually find the answer to it! In situations like these, this answer is usually hidden in the person’s past.
1. The Repetition Compulsion
There’s a tendency in all of us to go after the kind of relationships that can possibly remind us of the people who have previously disappointed us. We go after them as an attempt to try giving them a second chance, an attempt at finally making things work.
Freud termed this condition as the repetition compulsion. And for this to actually work, we need to find a person or a situation similar enough to remind us (usually subconsciously) of the first one. And then we just hope- hope to make it right this time, hope to receive the kind of respect, love, and honor that we couldn’t get before, and hope to finally change our ending into a happy one.
But these unmet emotional needs stop us from escaping our old habits, which is why our fantasy of the perfect do-over turns out to be a perfect replay of all the disappointments. - Continue reading on next page