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Relationship Selection

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Impact of Family on a Relationship
Your Family's Impact on Relationship Selection

By: Sandra L. Brown, M.A.,
Author of: How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved

Fortunately or unfortunately our families are training ground for later in life choices, relationship selection and behaviors. As children, we are influenced by the types of environments we are raised in. Often, women who have distinct dangerous man patterns of selection were raised in homes in which mom chose dangerous men or dad/uncle/grandfather/brother was a dangerous man.

These behaviors, both in the dangerous man and in the family's tolerance of these behaviors, go a long way in developing women who have learned how to normalize this kind of abnormal behavior in relationships.

Young impressionable girls being raised in a family environment in which dangerous behavior is renamed, relabeled, repackaged, and redistributed are building blocks for her own choices as an adult.

The women most likely to choose continual relationships that are dangerous are women who were raised in dangerous environments and women who witnessed other adult females discount these types of behaviors and stay. There are often a lot of reasons WHY a woman stays'economical, geographical, etc. The question is not WHY she stayed but WHAT the impact of staying has on young girls and how that is manifested in adulthood in their lives and through their relationship choices. We are now being able to study the effects of dangerous parenting on children and what kinds of issues these children have as adults and the quality of their relationships.

Families with chronic untreated addictions (drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, etc.) are also families who produce either addictions in the young girls or young girls who pick addicts as partners in long term relationships. Families with untreated mental illness are families who produce women who select the mentally ill for relationships without even realizing they are mentally ill. Young girls raised in homes, for instance, with schizophrenics or bi-polars often don't realize what normal behavior looks like in adults or what healthy relationships are like. Therefore, replicating what is normal to them, they pick men like those adults they were raised with.

While we can't choose the families we were born in and as adults we now must live with the effects of the parenting we received, we can be proactive in recognizing our emotional baggage we acquired and doing something about it so that we can have healthier relationships in the future.

Women who have histories of chronic bad relationships are often those who have not recognized the connection between early childhood parenting and their relationship choices in men as adults. Without this important recognition, women continue to pick the same type of man over and over again wondering what the attraction is and why 'nice guys' are never part of whom they are attracted to.

Early childhood influences are often at the heart of women's patterns of relationship selection'picking bad boys, men who need mothers, emotionally unavailable men, married men, clingy-needy men, addicts, mentally ill, predatory type men, and those with hidden lives. These choices don't 'just happen' in the lives of women. They are planted seeds that take root and grow. Women with patterns formed in early childhood and acted out in adulthood need counseling to help them see, understand, and break their patterns of dysfunctional relationship selection. This often is not a process that is just a 'cognitive' one in which the woman says 'Aha! I see it, therefore I will stop it.'

Furthermore, a woman's own pattern of relationship selection can impact her own children in the home. Many women's guilt connected to what their children have been exposed to from her patterns of relationship selection have prompted women to seek help. Children who have witnessed violence, been abused or molested by dad/boyfriend are the next generation of potential victims and abusers. Women who were abused as children are more likely to select an abuser as a relationship mate than women who were not abused. Women who were abused are always confused by this pattern in their lives. They are SURE they would never be attracted to the same type of situation they lived through as a child. And yet, those very issues that are unhealed are the issues that drive her pattern of selection. In many ways, women are often trying to heal their original childhood wounds by selecting someone similar that they can 'reenact' their unresolved issues with. This should be a big catalyst for women to seek help so that the repetition stops and healthy relationships can be a reality.

Our cycle of destructive relationship selection patterns can be hinged on our own environments we were raised in. But our futures can be hinged on our own emotional health as we begin to see, understand and change our dangerous man relationship patterns. Whatever you have lived through, you deserve the time to heal so your relationships can be healthier in the future. Change your choices, change your life!

For more information on dangerous relationships, see www.HowToSpotADangerousMan.com

Sandra L. Brown, M.A. is an author and psychotherapist who worked for the past 20 years with both female victims of violence and male perpetrators. Her interest of practice has been in the attraction between victim and perpetrator. www.HowToSpotADangerousMan.com

Sandra Brown, WomanSavers.com Feature Writer.

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