How We Keep Picking People Who Hurt Us

Apr 07, 2019

Please keep in mind that this article is NOT meant to place blame on victims of abuse. It was written to address character weaknesses that lead to unfulfilling relationships. 

We must find out what it is about us that causes us to make such poor, hurtful choices. The truth is that it is not just a lack of knowledge. We usually make such choices out of our own weaknesses. For example, if we are unable to confront people who hurt us and set good boundaries, we will continually be attracted to controlling, hurtful people. So, in a very real sense, we bear responsibility for the problem.

Or, if we are so isolated and lonely that we are afraid to end or confront hurtful relationships, we will choose hurtful people to avoid being alone. We need to make sure that we have a good support system in place and are not so in need of any one person. Or, if we are still trying to please some perfectionistic standard in our own heads, we will find perfectionistic people to live out that standard in our lives. Or to live out the role of a person from our past that we are not “finished with.”

There are many character weaknesses that we all have that cause us to continue these patterns. The problem is for you to identify them and begin to work on them. Remember that to do that you are going to have to do several things:

  1. Own the problem. Admit that you have the pattern. This is called confession.
  2. Make sure that you have help. Ask other people to support you in the process because you cannot make character changes in a vacuum. You have to have a safe support system.
  3. Identify the problems and the underlying need that drives them. Is it fear? Loneliness? Perfectionism? Then you will know the dynamic you need to work on.
  4. Build the skills that are needed to supplant the problem (assertiveness, reaching out to good people and opening up, confrontation, etc.)
  5. Practice and fail, going back to your support system to try again.

In the above process, you will be delivered out of the patterns of picking unsafe people to date and become friends with. Admit your faults, work out the patterns, and your future can be much different than your past.