Have you ever noticed that sometimes our really nice friends fall in love men not from Mars but seemingly from hell? Why do they do this? Have you ever done it yourself? What is it that makes normal sane people choose partners that their friends can clearly see are trouble? It is not just women that do this. Divinely beautiful men are also suckers for women who treat them badly. Over the years I have witnessed this phenomenon many times. If we are looking for long-term happiness, choosing the ones who ‘treat us mean’ is a recipe for disaster. Below are ten reasons why this might occur, together with ten tips on how to avoid going out with Godzilla again next time.
1. I like a challenge
I have met many young people who are not interested in the nice thoughtful considerate people that they met, preferring instead the bad girl/boy. When asked why, they say: “I like a challenge”.
What we are attracted to in others is sometimes based on something unresolved or unexpressed within ourselves. Compliant ‘good girls’ have a tendency to judge as ‘bad’ and therefore disown their rebellious side. In an effort to be approved of, they are always pleasing others and behaving as they are expected to behave. They project the rebel outwards and end up attracting someone who will carry that energy for them. In some deep secret way we fear that we are a challenge. As we come to peace within our selves, our attraction to the bad boy/girl wanes and we wonder how we ever thought that we could be with them. The real challenge is to get to know the self, to explore the inner recesses of our own being and take responsibility for what it is that we attract.
Tip: Reflect upon whether you are a ‘people pleaser’ who sacrifices authenticity to gain approval. Call back your spirit. Find your challenge within.
2. Conditioning: early role models
Whether we love them or they drive us crazy, our parents (or first care-givers) are our original and most influential role models. How often does someone say, “I will never be like my father/mother”, yet the older they get the more they become exactly like their parent! If we do no work upon ourselves we can be pretty sure that we will emulate our parents, like it or not. Chances are we will not even know we are doing it. The behaviours are so ingrained they are invisible to us because it is what seems ‘normal’.
Without any personal development training, we are likely to choose a partner who is just like one of our own parents as well. Usually it is the parent of the opposite sex, but not always. It may be dysfunctional, but it is familiar.
Tip: Notice when you react like your mum/dad, and when your partner behaves just like your dad/mum. Don’t blame them – do some inner work yourself and learn to become empowered to be the person you want to be in relationships.
3. What do I believe about men/woman: thought forms
As we are starting to realise from the concept of the ‘law of attraction’, we actually attract to ourselves situations and people who are somehow vibrationally alligned with us. Most of this has to do with how we think. Usually our partners will be in accord with our deep beliefs about the opposite sex. I met a man who believed all women are fickle. His insistence that women are fickle meant that he viewed people through the lens of his own belief. Not only did he attract fickle women, but he would see fickleness regardless of how reliable and honest the woman might otherwise be. With his belief system, he would pull the energy of ‘fickleness’ even from a woman who was a saint. Likewise, if you think ‘all men are bastards’, good luck finding a nice one. You won’t.
Tip: Examine your thoughts, and prune the garden of your mind. Get a good affirmation about women/men and use it a lot: eg, (wo)men are kind considerate, romantic, loving, funny, witty, intelligent… and so on.
4. Falling in love with potential: rescuer syndrome
When we fall in love with a person, we are often able to discern the potential that our beloved holds. We fall in love with that rather than the reality of the person as they are right now. This is all very well, but unless we can love what is, we are in for a long and difficult journey.
Sometimes we try to rescue people, believing that, if they just had our help, they would be able to achieve all of the greatness within them. Generally, rescuing others, no matter how good our intentions, is a messy business. The rescued usually end up resenting their rescuer, and blaming them if anything goes wrong.
As a spiritual teacher I believe that every person is born with a potentially great spiritual destiny. But the road is long and winding, with many side roads that mislead us or at the very least take up our time, often diverting us from the latent potential that we have.
While it is wonderful to hold a vision of our beloved attaining all that makes their heart sing, it is really important that we accept and love them as they are.
Very often we want to mould people into our own perception of perfection. This is not very respectful of the free will and individuality of our beloved.
Sometimes it is very tempting to try to change people, particularly when they are stepping on our toes and squishing our boundaries as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to us in our relationship. As we will see in point 6 below, the problem is not really all about them ‘out there’: rather it has to do with how we process life internally.
Being a saviour is a recipe for disaster in a relationship and if you are thinking that you need to rescue a person, my top tip is: don’t!
5. Rescue me!
The other side of the rescuer story is that we ourselves may want to be rescued. If we have come from a difficult background, if life seems uninspiring or to be heading nowhere, the temptation to find someone else to run our lives can be strong. Like Cinderella we can quickly surrender to Prince Charming, exiting the drudgery of our ordinary life and entering the interesting, or at least different drama of someone else’s.
The trouble with Cinderella is we never find out what happens next. Was she happy? Did she exchange one tricky situation for another? Was Prince Charming as good as he seemed or was he controlling and co-dependent? If we are pretty needy when we meet our Prince(ss), chances are that, in some way, (s)he will be too.
Tip: Ensure that we develop the capacity to meet our own needs. Finding inside of ourselves the resources, skills, attitude and energy to provide our own security, approval, self love, and a stimulating life will ensure that we attract someone who is able to do the same.
6. Low self-esteem
People actually treat us in a manner that matches the level of our own self-esteem. If you are being treated disrespectfully by your man/woman, then instead of trying to change them, change yourself by raising your self-respect and self-esteem. It is miraculous what happens when we start to respect ourselves. Suddenly others start to change their behaviour towards us and life becomes far more pleasant.
I once counselled a woman in her 60s who had been enduring put-downs from her husband for over 30 years. He was forever telling her that she was too fat, too stupid, that her spiritual beliefs were flaky and so on. This particular woman was a lawyer, a gifted dancer and a very elegant woman. She wanted him to do some personal development work. I asked her instead to look at her own self-esteem. She did and within months he was complimenting her for the first time in their married life. She changed herself in order to change the behaviour she pulled from him.
Try this affirmation as my tip for change: “I accept respect, trust and love myself just as I am: I am love on legs”.
7. Past life attachment: karma baby!
Sometimes when we meet people we feel an instant like or an instant dislike. This is a recognition of unfinished business from another incarnation. We might not remember the details, but our soul remembers the other being. The laws of karma will continually throw us together until we sort out our differences and learn to love each other. As one of my spiritual mentors used to say: “If you cannot love them in this life, then they may incarnate as your child and you will be wiping their backsides in your next life.” Graphic, but oh my God is this what we want? I have never heard a better reason to sort out our relationships than this.
Tip: practise forgiveness. It happens in layers, but you know you are really doing it when, beneath all of the pain and anger, and all of the stories of what they have done to you, once again you feel love for them.
8. Your soul’s agenda
We might think that the object of life is to get married, have kids and live a comfortable and enjoyable life. The soul may think otherwise. The soul’s agenda has a lot to do with our developing the strengths and virtues that the soul requires for its ageless, deathless, immortal existence. Thus we are here on Earth practising kindness, tenacity, forgiveness, calmness, development of inner strength, compassion, service, assertiveness, understanding, humility, diligence, consideration, peacefulness and so on. If we are able to practise these in relationships they will pay rich dividends as our vibrations will lift and so will our experience of ‘reality’.
The patterns that we experience in our life are visible in our astrological make-up. The position of the planets relative to each other at the date, time and place of our birth have been pre-chosen by the soul so as to give a context to our incarnation. Consider finding out what your soul has in mind and work with the energy that is coming instead of forever going against the tide.
Tip: Get your natal horoscope professionally done, check out what the planets are up to and start to ‘surf’ the waves of energy that are coming your way instead of getting dumped. Find out by looking at Venus, Mars, the Moon and your seventh house what your relationship profile really looks like and the qualities that would be important for you in a partner.
9. In too deep too fast
Loneliness, the need for love and the desire to merge with another can lead us to make unnecessary haste when choosing a partner. Instead of getting to know each other, we now jump into bed with people at the drop of a hat. Health issues aside, we need to ensure that we are practicing self-love and self-respect in our sexual activities. Sexual involvement brings with it a host of emotional and psychological issues that can cause us to become entangled long before we really know the person we are with. By practising a little restraint in the early stages and enjoying the rituals of a good old fashioned flirtatious courtship, we can deepen the eventual ecstasy of sexual union and genuine love. Develop good boundaries early in relationships and things will flow better forever.
Tip: Take your time – be friends first.
10. Notice the good
As a former family lawyer I used to see the very worst in couples as they came to end their marriage in the divorce courts. People who had once cherished each other enough to get married now hated each other’s guts, and the stories in the affidavits would make your hair curl. Otherwise sane and normal people were doing and saying out of control things, reacting to each other and engaging in ‘tit for tat’ warfare.
When we are in our ‘stuff’ it is difficult to retain accurate perception about the other person. All of the good qualities that attracted us in the beginning are still within them. We are just focussed on their faults. Everyone has faults, including us, or we would be enlightened already and living in some other plane of existence.
To bring the best behaviour from your partner, don’t wait until they get ‘it’ perfect according to your standards. Instead, turn the energy right around: shock them by ‘rewarding every try’. Encourage every move that is made in the direction you would like things to go. If your partner never helps you clean up but they actually wash a few things one day, thank them. The approval and attention trains people into better behavioural patterns. You need to keep this up for a while and simultaneously work on your own self-esteem. Nicely ask for the help you need. We can often assume that ‘they must know what I need’ but unfortunately few people possess advanced telepathic ability! Remember that the more we respect ourselves the more others will too.
Tip: Don’t just criticise. Give positive feedback as often as you can and notice the good in your partner. Don’t wait until there is perfection as you perceive it but reward every try.
To bring out the best in our partners, be a great partner. The more refined we become mentally, emotionally and even spiritually, the more we will find that our relationships improve, bringing us love, joy, happiness and peace.
Shakti Durga is the founder, spiritual head and inspirational leader of Shanti Mission (Peace Mission), with its head office based in Australia. Her teachings focus on the development of spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health and well-being with the goal of igniting the divine spark within everyone. Shakti Durga was previously known as Kim Fraser, with a successful career as a barrister, prior to her awakening as a guru.
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