You are a prisoner of that which you have failed to confront….
Emotional patterns of behavior
We tend to live our lives based upon emotional patterns we learned as a child. The impact of early close relationships on ones psychological development is well recognized concept within the field of developmental psychology and has been studied for over a century, yet very few people actually spend the time, as adults, to perform a self diagnostic, prior to setting out in search of an intimate personal relationships and this sets the stage for the tragedy of countless failed relationships that ultimately occur.
Everyone goes through a number of developmental stages to reach their level of personality development as adults. The environment in which a child lived is crucial to providing growth, adjustment, a source of self awareness and identity as they develop, which greatly impacts the choices one makes in selecting and developing relationships. There is evidence that those who form the most coherent self-concept in adolescence are those who are the most able to make intimate attachments in early adulthood. Individuals who have been thwarted in the healthy resolution of earlier phases of personal development, such as learning healthy levels of trust, autonomy, self identity etc, can expect to see these same problems reappear in the future and since no parent can teach us completely what we need, we often arrive at adulthood having never attained great portions of what we need in order to be ourselves in a healthy and productive manner.
Mirror to the self
Habitually people seek out partners in relationships that will either mimic a previous phase relationship or a partner that represents a possible solution to that issue and as such, relationships are profound vehicles for self discovery, realization and development. However these relationships are flawed because the people in them are flawed and not fully developed. Unless the parties involved have the interpersonal skill sets to handle the conflicts that will invariably occur and continue to self develop together, the relationship will cycle into one of termination.
Serial Monogamy and Co-dependency
This is what forms the heart of serial monogamy, as couples seek the safety of a relationship to explore and discover attitudes, values and life possibilities, without having the ability to form healthy, mature and intimate relationships. Frequently these pairings are bound together predominantly by dependency needs and are reflected in the self-esteem of the participants, which is tied up to the support and validation of the partner. When they end, they reinforce a deep and profound established belief in their deficiency of self-esteem and self-worth. The legacy of these failed relationships has consequences, that they become a life narrative and guide future behavior and actions.
An elephant in the room
People need a practical way to reframe their lives and their lifestyles in order to create healthy relationships, rather than live in such a way to maintain and support poor ones. Unfortunately we cannot change or heal what we do not acknowledge. It is for this reason that finding and resolving hidden dependency needs in one self first, prior to engaging in a relationship, can have profound affects upon ones direction in life and the selection quality of a mate. If you have not done so, do so.
A simple beginning is to start a developmental journal/record of your past and personal history. Analyze your emotional needs and what drives them. What issues do you think will be fulfilled by any new relationship? Most likely they will be issues of personal development and self-identity, that you have not fulfilled or fully actualized. Learning to identify and addressing those will have profound ramifications for your personal development and quality of life, as it gets projected into the future, by the decisions and choices you make for yourself.
Although one can do the introspection analysis, reading and research to help identify and resolve these personal developmental tasks, often it is vastly more efficient and effective to hire a professional trained specifically in the areas of social development, and while It’s expensive, it is not as expensive as the untracked costs of NOT doing so (see the carnage of deep interpersonal relationships that have failed). These professionals are trained, familiar and practiced at providing assistance, specifically in the developmental tasks you need the most. They are prepared to see what you might prefer to avoid and assist you at arriving at deeper and move meaningful insights about your relationships, yourself and your past in order for you to move ahead productively in a healthy and secure manner.
By changing how you treat yourself, your past and your development you alter the most important element in the entire equation of developing and fostering healthy and productive relationships… YOU! You must be the agent of change for yourself. No one else can fix you. You’re an adult now, which means taking care of your own needs and choosing a responsible path of action and being accountable to those choices. Your journey starts with you… begin there… The most important step of any journey is the first one. This is no different…