Do you struggle with trust or commitment in a relationship?
- “I can’t seem to commit in relationships.”
- “I choose people who don’t commit.”
- “I start out fine, but something happens and I opt out.”
- “I find someone I’m interested in and poof they’re gone.”
Sound familiar? The concept of repetition compulsion comes from psychoanalytic theory. It means repeating patterns in relationships that are similar to unconscious aspects of a childhood relationship or experience. But one would ask, why do that?
I frequently hear adult children of narcissistic parents make this statement, “ If my own mother or father can’t love me, who can?” In attempting to master the trauma of feeling unloved in childhood, many unconsciously draw in partners who have commitment or trust issues and then earnestly set out to make this person love them. If the partner has the same issues, the path is rough. Unfortunately, until we really work recovery, we are attracted to the familiar. That stinky old negative interaction from past trauma becomes internalized. It’s like being frozen in time and interferes with the ability to love and be vulnerable. If I am vulnerable, I could be emotionally abandoned once again.
Is this gender related? Men tend to be seen more as commitment phobics as underscored by Warren Farrell who writes, “ when women hold off from marrying men, we call it independence, when men hold off from marrying women, we call it fear of commitment.” One can see the myth in the folklore. Both men and women obviously can have trauma from the past and both inevitably would suffer with trust and commitment issues...
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