Have you had a relationship with someone that doesn’t treat you well? Your mate may have been verbally abusive, overly-critical, controlling or a drama-monger. It may surprise you but according to New York psychiatrist Edward Campbell, the psychological truth is that you selected your partner because he or she didn’t treat you well, rather than despite his or her treatment of you.
Why? Because you found someone that spoke the same “family language” as you.
The emotional language you learned in childhood, within your family, naturally magnetizes you to people that speak the same language.
The way children learn the language they speak is from listening to their parents. “The parents don’t have to say, ‘purse your lips to make the “wh” sound’ or ‘touch your tongue to your front teeth to make the “th” sound, says Campbell. “Children are just little sponges who learn to speak as their parents do.” We learn emotional communication the same way. Not by our parents saying, “be warm and loving because it feels better to you and the people around you” but by observation, experience and a child’s efforts to be like their parents in order to get love and approval.
If what you learned from your family was warmth and love, you’ll gravitate toward warm and loving people because their emotional communication is familiar to you.
However, if you grew up in a family that engaged in unhealthy emotional communication being around warm and loving people will feel uncomfortable and unable to function in your customary ways. So if you meet someone who is critical and you were used to being criticized as a child, odds are you’ll unknowingly relax at the familiar feeling and gravitate toward that person, not despite the similarity to your childhood experience, but because of that similarity. This pattern of behavior explains why so many relationships are dysfunctional or fall apart.
By attracting people that exude qualities of what didn’t work in your family system, you’ll create unhealthy relationships.
They may seem comfortable to you on some level even though they drain you of your life. The good news is that when you become aware of your emotional language, you can change it. You can learn a new language and attract the type of person you really want in your life rather than repeating the same pattern of relationship over again.
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