A patient once cried during session, “My God, why am I doing this? My mother used to do that. I hate it, but I see myself doing it again!”
Of course, she’s not her mother. The compulsion to repeat is unconscious-driven. It exists underground.
This is clearly demonstrated in extreme abusive relationships.
I discover that people with abusive parents often find themselves in abusive relationships. It just appears to be such a very common psychological wound.
I once saw a couple – a Filipina and an American – who continually abused each other verbally. Both felt so well that they never wanted what they’re doing.
Yes, both came from emotionally impoverished families. Both of their own parents verbally abused each other and their children.
Unconsciously, their relationship has the pull of something familiar. A vicious cycle acting out an adopted parental pattern.
And there’s also this inner script, “This time it’s going to be different. This time I’ll change the situation and I’ll claim the love i didn’t receive as a child.”
It’s obviously an effort to heal an old wound looking for love.
But the reality created is actually more misery living through further abuse in the present.
As Spanish philosopher George Santayana reminds us, those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it.
How do you stop doing what you don’t want to do?
“Heal the ‘negative love programming,'” as psychotherapist/author Dr. Bob Hoffman put it.
That’s “forgotten” unprocessed pain from the past.
The way out is the same as the way in – programming.
Our positive real self is just there.
“Negative love” that keeps us doing what we don’t want to do can be transcended and healed.