Our search for love is a fallible, desperate and often unproductive venture.  We can spend decades looking for some way to end our painful loneliness until we give up and isolate.  It is a debilitating swing from one painful way of living to another.  And it seems to be completely out of our control.  We may make resolutions and goals.  We may decide we won’t date any more addicts.  We may promise ourselves we won’t ignore any more red flags.  We might convince ourselves that we are strong enough to avoid self-erasure the next time.  But when the next time rolls around, we are swept away by our dreams of the perfect love.  We rush.  We don’t set boundaries.  We excuse the red flags.  And we end up in another painful and futile spot.

So the inevitable happens.  We isolate.  We sit in our loneliness while feeling there is no hope to have a reasonable relationship with another person.  We decide that the world is made of horrible people who we cannot trust.  We agree that relationships are not for us.  We stay away.  We find new hobbies that don’t involve people.  We watch lots of movies on Netflix.  We scroll through a ton of social media.  We work too much.  We may even find other addictions to numb ourselves out.  And we convince ourselves everything is okay.  We are happy enough.  The emptiness is tolerable on most days.  But then sometimes, it isn’t.

And the cycle continues with painful extremes.  There does not appear to be a way out.  And honestly, we are all tired of the misery it brings.  But it feels so hopeless.  There doesn’t seem to be a way out of this excruciating pendulum of searching and giving up.  But I am here to tell you that there is hope.  I don’t have a quick fix.  I don’t have a fix you will like.  Your defenses will fight me every step of the way.  They may even start distracting you now.  But I have a solution.  For those who are willing to power through their defenses, there is a way to live life with fulfilling relationships.  But first, we must build our awareness of what is actually happening.  We have to understand what is driving this process.  So here are some secrets to help you make some sense of the process.

Your choice of partner is not random.  Have you ever looked back on your history of partners and wondered why they all seemed to have the same triggering characteristics?  You may have sworn they didn’t when you were in relationship.  But hindsight was 20/20.  And you can’t understand how it happened again and again.  Well, that was your love seeker in action.  They are desperate to resolve their pain about the love they never received.  And they will resolve it by recreating childhood relationships until they figure out how to get their love.  If they can do it, it will resolve the past pain without the need to grieve.  They will have their answer and the pain can finally end.  But they keep choosing and attracting the same type of people from childhood.  They are the only people who would interest the love seeker.  If someone healthy comes along and expresses real love, the love seeker rejects them as boring or a liar.  And the pattern continues.

Your loneliness is a flashback.  I am not suggesting you aren’t lonely today.  Humans are meant to be with other humans.  We desire connection.  But when you feel the desperate, pained need for another person, you are feeling what it was like to be a child in an abusive family.  You are feeling the life or death fear of being neglected and abandoned.  You are feeling the desperation that convinced you to leave yourself behind for one or two snippets of appreciation and attention.  You are experiencing a flashback.  And you are probably experiencing the desperate desire to numb that flashback with any addiction or person available.  If you can sit with the flashback and help your love seeker through it, you can stop the cycle.  If not, the pattern will continue.

You are never going to find what you are looking for externally.  As you may have gathered, there is not an external solution to your internal pain.  You can make it stop temporarily.  That is the truth of all addictions.  They are meant to give you relief for a moment or two.  But without the healing on the inside, the same patterns will continue on the outside.  The love seeker needs to get their love from you.  They need to be heard by you.  They need to feel validated through your compassion.  The internal re-traumatizing self-hatred has to move out through expression.  These internal changes will give you the grounded self-respect necessary to set boundaries and reject those red flags.  It is the way to end the pattern for good.

Your love seeker hates that idea.  You may be thinking that your love seeker will love the idea of finally being heard.  But this is not something the love seeker wants anything to do with.  They want their external savior and they want it now.  They will not stop until they get it.  So even once you get past your defenses, you will have to work with a love seeker who doesn’t want your love … at least for a while.  But that’s okay.  Stay persistent.  Persevere through the blocks.  They will change their mind over time.  And you will begin to feel peace for the first time in your life.  This pattern doesn’t have to be a life sentence.  You can change it for good.

Give yourself the gift of awareness when it comes to your love seeking patterns.  You don’t have to be a victim to the beliefs your childhood abusers instilled in you.  With the right understanding of how your past is driving your present, you can move out of this pain and into a better life … a life with real love.  It is possible.  Come join me in Survivor’s Guide for Life in June as we explore how to break this cycle.