The answer to this question often is no with a conditional yes. Yes takes a lot of work. It means uncovering the childhood defenses which keep you trapped in ignorance. Everyone has personal clock time that is not related to world time. The rate which you precede in your uncovering is determined by the obstacles you need to overcome and your fear of getting there. Most serious is your fear of returning to the childhood scene of battle with adversarial and threatening parents.
To be able to stop choosing those who can’t love you or of rejecting those who can, you need to find the answer. None of this is chance. Your conscious mind is blind to what your unconscious mind sees clearly and knows full well. It is the unconscious seer which makes love choices. You need to know what blinds you. Once you see, you will no longer call doing it a “bad habit.
It is all about motivation which has different levels. Each level is deeper which brings you ty closer to the truth. The most superficial level tells you to avoid seeing it as your choice. You say I don’t know why this is happening to me. Your so-called liberty has the price of repetition.
Not knowing what drives you is your ongoing conscious adult state. The “seer” part of your mind knows quite well what it is seeing and chooses who you fall for. The “I take no responsibility” of your mind calls your unhappy choice the result of bad luck no matter how often you do it. There is no past in the adult’s thinking. There is only present, a one time event. No way to draw a conclusion now. The adult who is overwhelmed by the fear of its inner child runs from the anxiety of knowing. His terror is reflected by his passive and confused speech. The adult gives up the quest for knowledge and feels like a failure. What kind of comfort does the inner child get from his giving up? That is a very important question.
This is where the search begins. You need to dig into the early childhood experiences of love and more often of love’s lack, to feel your inner emptiness and fear, to know you parents offered aggression instead of caresses. As an adult, choosing hatred instead of love goes back to this anti-loving era. Love misery is all that was presented and as result was all you knew. That is why the experience of love misery has so much power.It is like going home.
One tends to attribute a “helper” image to defenses you developed in childhood to survive although these defenses are often neutral in effectiveness or even destructive. Adult motivation remains weak until you practice feeling and acting in accord and give self-expression full allegiance.
Once you recognize there is an early self in your mind which holds the reins of love, the fight begins. This fight may seem resolved at times but you have to remain on guard. The baby self and the tyrannical parent which reside within your mind may try to take over at times when you feel overwhelmed by something and are surrendering to weakness.
The adult has to recognize that in coupling with abusers or being one, his feelings, needs and fears go back to childhood and no longer represent his true self. He needs to see how he accepted parental mistreatment or copied it as a defense against rejection. The primitive defensive thinking is you won’t reject me if I resemble you which means I am you. The adult does not naturally outgrow this. These defenses are held in a ready position due to fear. These defenses continue until proved inadequate or wrong when they are consciously and deliberately rejected.
So the adult plays a submissive-child role with a lover who is aggressive. Seeing this despite great fear, the adult bids this person an un-fond farewell. As abuser or victim, the adult has to surrender either role and learn to take a different path. It takes time to drop ancient behaviors. It requires a lot of self-witnessing and increasing detachment. You have to relive the fearful emotions in order to get past them.
The adult may feel conflict over leaving his mistreated child behind, as if the child still exists and the adult should “save him.” He has not yet accepted that past is past and cannot be changed. The inner child, a felt historic experience is treated as real so it has a hold on him. The conflict has to do with living in the past as if it is the present.
An adult self has to decide to leave the mind’s antique store of how it used to be because there is nothing left to purchase. He has to get bored with visiting the museum of unhappy past events, to know he’s seen it all and wants to move on. He has to recognize he cannot fix it. No one can. He has to deal with guilt generated by many years of parental reactions against his following his own way. The adult increasingly recognizes that past is past and ever more shall be so. Those who believe it to be otherwise get on an endlessly frustrating trip to nowhere.
The adult develops confidence in his ability to be independent. Courage comes from defying the rules of the threatening inner parent and disregarding the advice of the terrified inner child, and after doing this finds I am still alive. Courage comes from doing what he is afraid of. The adult develops the sense of being an autonomous person from his ability to say no. The adult is less fearful of the internal parent but may be correctly afraid of the parent-substitute lover if that person is aggressive. The adult may need the help of a therapist or a social service to break it off and possibly to relocate. Especially if a woman, she may need to get an Order of Protection before moving out or demanding that he leave although aggressive people often are heedless of formal papers. Impulse driven, they have the urge to hit so they hit.
The adult does not want to be loved by someone who requires subservience or of being the one who demands it. The possibility of love is an arm’s reach away. We all need to grasp it.