Why Do We Get Attracted To People Who Are Wrong For Us?

Why We’re Attracted To People Who Are Wrong For Us

I often get asked, “Why do I always get attracted to people who are wrong for me?” 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.

Toxic people come with the baggage of their own personal problems and dump it on to us. It invariably leaves you behind with critical issues and 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 people who are toxic for 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 into. 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 these teen pressure gets us to view ourselves and the world in a much-distorted way. We came under the 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 towards 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 this 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 who 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.

62 thoughts on “Why Do We Get Attracted To People Who Are Wrong For Us?”

  1. Avatar of Nicole Slighting

    I think this is a really good article but
    also can the question is can we heal while being in the same bad relationship? Or if I recognize those feelings can I change those feelings Within Me

  2. Avatar of Mayo

    I don’t see how attracting wrong people who activate your wounds would help you grow. I think the right people in your life would help you grow. Plants have difficulty growing if there are pests and weeds around and if it’s not refreshed with water… but I can be wrong in my understanding. Appreciate if someone will clarify 🙂

    1. Avatar of irene

      I do get it. I have CPTSD from abuse and the main side effect for me was to ignore my feelings because i’ve been trained by the selfish to not have my own feelings and not care about them, to ignore my gut instinct because i’ve been trained by liars not to trust myself, i can live days out in a ‘fog’ so that things don’t bother me because that was how i coped with living in my world where i didn’t matter. I got into another relationship that i thought was perfect, and it was if i ignored my instincts and gut feelings and forgot about stuff because by living in that ‘fog’. Facing up to the truth of that relationship meant i’ve changed myself also, i trust myself more now, i think my instincts are usually right and i have a reason for them. I understand more about myself now and am changing. Living in a fog has made my life hard, most of my memories have gone, seriously i cannot find just about all my memories because they’re traumatising and my brain works that way a little still to this day, but i trust myself now. After being told i don’t matter for most of my life i now know i do matter. I have grown into something/someone i feel is better than the person who made all their previous choices, hope i’m right because i’m not ready to completely trust myself yet and throw myself into anyone new yet, but i think i will get there and not make the same mistakes. Plus i feel better about myself now, whereas other people made me feel worse…i don’t rely on them to make me feel anything, i rely on me. I’ve always relied on myself really, but with negative thoughts here and there, now i’m a little different and growing healthily. Hope this helps.

    2. Avatar of irene

      Basically you will understand those weeds are taking from you and have no right to and kill the weeds off so they’re not in your life. but first you need to understand that they are weeds and not pretty flowers full of manure. 🙂

  3. Avatar of Kira

    Loved this and can relate! Leaving an abusive relationship and looking to my higher self to provide me with all the acceptance, love, and strength I need to heal.

  4. Avatar of Arrow

    Beautiful and agree 100%… and I have finally fully integrated my childself with the help of a twin mirror and am so excited to see what I manifest here on out… as I am so in love with me…

  5. Avatar of John

    In order to be more closer to my higher self I have decided to hear my heart in the decisions that I take. Also, being a good person I believe is helping the whole proccess.

  6. Avatar of Audry Mpofu

    WOW! Shelly, what a beautiful article. It is a gentle reminder to remind us to be aware of the choices we make and not to beat ourselves up when we make them as they serve a purpose higher than we realise. Is great to be lovingly woken up from egoic slumber and enlightened to our true purpose on this beautiful universe. That being love. Loving both our human and spiritual selves. May you find strength and wisdom to keep sharing your love with humanity. Namaste.

  7. Avatar of Gaia

    It is really strange to read this article right now because I am experiencing the same situation at this time. Actually for too many years I was trying to heal from my traumas I even had a long time sessions with a psychiatrists and he told me this process was going to take me a long time even years. He was right. All the realization of my subconscious comes really slow and unexpectedly usually after some severe heartbreaks or difficult situations. I just have to recognize and analyse the signs correctly. But… believe me, it works. It just takes too much patience and some really strong will to go through this healing process all the way, no matter how long it will take. I wish this for all the people to happen and I wish I can make it myself.

  8. Avatar of omkar

    Hi ,teigan this omkar from India hey Brother I had also a same feeling that you had after reading this article , so cheers bro

  9. Avatar of anne

    Nice clear writing to communicate this message. It's clear and simple enough for teenagers and relevant to all

  10. Avatar of Jacky

    This is the most fabulous article on the subject,,, i realised lots of this but to put in words like this wow and its all true because im 60 years old still cant handle a relationship and still single,,, my wounds are profounds and impossible to cure in one lifetime :))) but im so happy single right now and i have everything i wanted by myself so tks a lot for this message

  11. Avatar of Pushpanjali Sharma

    It made me think abt my pursuit… Which seems never ending!!! Once we realise our true self the search outside ends there… Easier said than done!!! But This article helps me to understand the reason for many things

  12. Avatar of Lisa

    Thank you. Gave me something to think about and confirmed what I had already started noticing as I grew older. Single for 21 years and finally figuring out why, it's me…

  13. Avatar of Teigan Rossiter

    Hey there,

    What I got from this was I originally thought it might of been about a guy I had strong feelings for, but as I got ready it wasn't him at all, I noticed a change in myself over the past year and even as early as a week that it was indeed all the friends and people I had in my life. Most of them were lesson and I could finally tell the differences between those who were a lesson into myself and those who were true friends. This wasn't even about the guy I hadn't even got close to yet.

    This really opened my eyes to the fact that think I am finally healing from traumas and can see beyond my ego and wounds.


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