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Therapist Explains Why We’re Attracted to People Who are Wrong for Us

What’s the saying? You have to kiss a few frogs before you meet your prince? Or something to that effect. At some point in our lives, just about all of us end up with someone who is totally wrong for us. Maybe someone who does not like the same things we like, isn’t as sensitive as we need him or her to be, is overly sensitive, has a wandering eye, it happens to the best of us. But here’s the point when the “why?” starts to enter our thoughts… when it happens over and over again, with one relationship after the other.

You may chalk it up to bad luck, or you might become convinced that something is in the water, but the truth is, there’s a reason we are often attracted to people who are utterly and completely wrong for us. Shelly Bullard, a marriage and family therapist, says it is because the damaged version of you, your wounded self, is the one doing the choosing.

Bullard believes we all have two selves: the “little self,” or the wounded self, the ego – and the “Spiritual Self” — the higher self, adult self, or soul. She explains that the wounded self is the part of you that feels incomplete. It questions your value and your worth, it does not feel completely whole, or it feels flawed in some way.
She sees the Spiritual Self as your higher self, your soul. It is the part of you that’s connected to love, truth, wisdom and peace within. Your Spiritual Self never questions your worth. It knows without a doubt how lovable and valuable you are.

We operate on a day-to-day basis from one of these two selves. The ego viewpoint, or the little self, causes us to feel inferior, insignificant and even powerless in some ways, and we find ourselves constantly fighting this feeling. The ego looks for materialistic ways to find validation. It believes that once it gets more (money, a better job, a better partner, a bigger house) that it will finally be happy. But it is never happy because the nature of the ego is to feel incomplete. Operating from this self, you’ll always feel like something is missing.

When it comes to romantic relationships, the ego gets activated, because relationships are where we hold onto the most hurt or pain. When we are hurt by a relationship, we tend to carry it with us, and in turn, we attract people who will highlight the same feeling. Bullard explains, “Your unconscious is programmed to attract people who activate your wounds. The reason for this is so you’ll grow.”

 We replay our wounds so we can finally reach the healing process. We cannot heal things we do not feel or see. We need to deal with the uncomfortable or painful feeling in order to move past it.

 

So how do we break this cycle? Bullard believes we need to identify instead with our higher self. “Your higher self is the part of you that knows the truth about you,” she says, “It knows that you are worthy, amazing, capable and powerful… through the lens of the higher self, you are whole.”

You’ll suddenly realize that all the “wrong” people you encountered were just there to nudge you in the right direction, which is a state of mind that does not question your value or your worth. Bullard urges us to heal our relationships from the inside out, because sometimes, nothing inspires us to grow more than a broken heart.

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