I have no idea why, but I got to thinking about my dating life this morning. I am going to sound cocky when I say this, but getting dates has not been the problem. I possess a charismatic personality that pulls people in. The issue comes with keeping them around. It has been five years since my last serious relationship.
Most of my dating experiences started off as a trauma bond versus a slow development. See below.
This bond often started off fine for the first few months but often led to codependency. Over the last few years, I put in A LOT of work to prevent this from happening again. I dedicated a chunk of that insight to understanding where it came from.
My childhood trauma certainly fed into these trauma bonds. It made it difficult for me to trust others and feeling alone. When I finally felt like I could connect with someone, I did not want to lose that connection. The intrinsic factors made sense.
This morning, I got to thinking about possible extrinsic factors. You have to understand that I work with children, so I am always looking to see what caused their maladaptive thought processes or behaviors. Nine times out of ten, I look towards the parents. Kids pick up on their parents’ patterns and internalize them.
I thought about my own parents. My dad popped into my mind. I started mentally reviewing his long, tumultuous relationship history, including the one with my own mother. It included a divorce, a 26-year-long relationship with my mom, getting remarried, and many other failed attempts in between.
From what I know about his past, he had a rough upbringing. He dropped out of high school in ninth grade, and ended up joining the wrong crowd. He told me countless stories of fights and partying he did back in the day. My grandmother passed away when he was young. My grandfather had a reputation of being strict. He also became a heavy drinker during his teenage years that did not let up until he passed away suddenly this last year. Regardless of my father’s trauma, he literally would take the shirt off his back to give to someone. If he cared about you, he made it known.
Put all of this together, you had the perfect recipe for trauma bonds. I only saw my dad’s relationship with my mom and a two-year relationship after that before he remarried with his girlfriend of six years. Literally every relationship possessed the trauma bond characteristics.
I watched it day in and day out. I remember my mom telling me that she was afraid to leave my dad over and over again. There would be weeks of fighting followed up by weeks of love. My mom or dad would leave for a few days only to come back every time. This went on until I was seventeen. I lived vicariously through their trauma bond. It is no wonder why I picked up on this mentality.
The difference between my dad and me is that I picked up on this pattern before it was too late. This will definitely be something to talk to my therapist about next week.
-The Caring Counselor