Why do we do negative things which we don’t want to do? Why do we repeat patterns in our lives that we desperately want to break? Psychologist Erin Leonard says it’s because we have an unconscious tendency to engage in “reenactments” of things from our past. Writing for Psychology Today, Leonard says we’re unconsciously drawn to things that are familiar. This leaves us engaging in relationships — over and over — with people who have characteristics which we consciously want to avoid, but which mirror something from our past relationships. We’re drawn to people and situations that allow us to relive things from our past. I’ve seen this in my own life and I suspect it’s because we’re trying — without realizing it — to relive a particular dynamic in a way that we believe will allow us to have a different outcome than the one from the past. But that normally just means choosing the same sort of person — someone who will hurt us or abandon us or abuse us. We believe we are making rational, conscious decisions for ourselves, but we’re often simply following an old script. Breaking free is difficult, and it requires a lot of courage to change.
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