I often get asked, “Why do we always get attracted to people who are wrong for us?” Now the question is quite legitimate because most of us have been there.
But the answer is quite simple: Because your wounded self is attracting another wounded self.
You must be wondering what I referred to as ‘wounded self‘. Read on to know what I mean and understand how toxic people have functioned in your life, and why we choose people who are wrong for us.
Why Do We Get Attracted To People Who Are Wrong For Us?
Toxic people come with the baggage of their own personal problems and dump it on us. It invariably leaves you behind with critical issues and a damaged psyche. Toxic people are not only wrong for us but downright destructive.
Then why do we always get attracted to people who are wrong for us in the first place? It is not like we are unaware that a particular person is toxic to us. The signs are totally loud and on the face.
But you are exasperated by the way in which you are repeatedly getting attracted to them. Well, to tell you, the fault is not yours.
Because your tendency to get attracted to the wrong people who are toxic to you happens as a result of your pattern of past experiences and your attachment style.
Most of us, if not all, at certain levels, have carried ourselves into adolescence and adulthood with unmet needs from our childhood years. The needs could be of various types – the need to be attended to, the need for autonomy, the need to be cared for, and the need to be accepted and loved, most of which could only be fulfilled by our primary caregivers.
This does not mean, your parents or your primary caregiver is to be blamed for the situation you end yourself in. For circumstantial reasons alone, some parents cannot meet all the needs of their children.
It might be a personal reason – work, financial reason, situational reason – separation from spouse, death of a spouse, the birth of a new child, or even medical reasons which might have kept the parents occupied.
These children will transit to the next level of their developmental phase without having the needs of their previous years met.
Now, moving on to the teenage years of our life, we all come under the speeding freight train named ‘puberty’. And this teen pressure gets us to view ourselves and the world in a much-distorted way.
We came under peer pressure to fit in with the usual and to some point, we were even ready to morph ourselves into someone we never wanted to become.
Slowly we lost our sense of recognition with our ‘authentic self’ and started readily moving toward the person we wanted to be for bagging other people’s approval and acceptance. The same acceptance, love, and praise we were deprived of in our childhood.
Scrapes of these praises and approval worked as a reinforcement to further push our real selves to exhaustively build a ‘fake but ideal social image’.
Similarly, when a person rejected us (or had the potential to reject us), we became willing to sacrifice our self-dignity, and self-respect to degrade ourselves just to gain their approval. It sort of gave us the thrill of winning someone over, who was hard to win over.
This thrill of working hard enough, pushing ourselves over our boundaries to win their hearts gave us a sense of control over ourselves which we were forever looking for in the years when we really were controlled by societal standards.
When we matured sexually and started looking for contemporary romantic partners, we got drawn to people who could recreate the same dynamics we had with our primary object of attachment.
Years of the perpetuation of this toxic pattern of seeking approval got us into the notion that love and praise that is gained by overcoming challenges is a prize truly won. We started subconsciously getting attracted to people who had their needs to be fulfilled.
A part of our cognitive schema thus developed around the idea that we had to get all the needs of the other person met to win their love and adoration, much the same way we earlier earned love from the again-off again display of our parents’ affection. This is one of the major reasons why you find yourself being attracted to the wrong people.
When we earn these people’s love we have a sense of completion. All we want is for us to feel complete on receiving their affection. In the wish to be ‘their other half’ we keep chasing them, even the ones who do not need us or are also factually not the right people for us, hoping that these people will give us back what we are ready to give them – undying devotion and love.
But sadly, it seldom ends well for us. People who need to be rescued: the bad guy and the lone wolf are the ones who attract our ‘incomplete self’ because these people are in need of the love we are ready to give.
Also, these very people are in need of rescuers who can provide them with the resources they need. Once they have used up the benefits, they usually move along, leaving you with a shattered heart.
The interesting irony here is, that we are not attracted to the wrong people, we actually attract a person with similar needs and past experiences as us. Our wounded self attracts another wounded self in search of rescuers.
And you are more than willing to rescue them because you identify with their pain and their need to be rescued. You hope to be rescued and end up rescuing them as you know the pain of being dejected.
It is very crucial for you to be aware of your romantic partner choice pattern because once you start slipping down the slippery slope of an unhealthy relationship, you will only find yourself at the rock bottom.
Understanding why you perpetually get attracted to partners with similar characteristics could mean you are subconsciously trying to stay in a challenging and painful situation with the wrong person. Because the challenge is what you find comfort in.
You need to break this cycle with healing. If need be, seek the help of a professional counselor, or a psychotherapist to get this cycle broken.
Want to know more about why you are always dating the wrong people? Check this video out below!