Thursday, July 31, 2008

More on Repeating the Familiar and Where We Find Ourselves

Love is a Choice: The Definitive Book on Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships by Hemfelt, Minirth and Meier.

From pages 108 - 109:

A woman emerging from an alcoholic family vows to leave that misery behind forever. She marries an alcoholic and may well become an alcoholic herself despite knowing from experience what alcoholism is. A man whose home life was disrupted by several divorces finds himself constantly and repeatedly “unlucky in love.” Claudia Black wrote a landmark book on the problem with the self-explanatory title “It Will Never Happen to Me!” Numerous other sociologists and social workers have recorded the constant phenomenon: adults from dysfunctional families end up with dysfunctional adult relationships, for they have become codependents.

Why? Surely the man or woman who grew up knowing first hand the misery alcoholism or other compulsive behavior causes would know what to avoid. Can’t the sufferer see all those blatant warning signs?

We at the clinic, as well as other counselors, not a sadly intriguing fact: somehow, people who are powerfully codependent literally blind themselves to the red flags other people would flee from. No, they don’t see the warning signs, because they unconsciously choose not to. Unerringly they find themselves attracted to exactly the people they swear they’ll never end up being or joining.

Excerpts from
Robert Hemfelt, Frank Minirth and Paul Meier’s
Love is a Choice:
The Definitive Book on
Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships
Thomas Nelson, 1989