"..." A repetition compulsion is a neurotic defense mechanism. Here's how it works: The repetition compulsion is an attempt to rewrite history. The history we try to rewrite is typically the troubled relationship with our parents, particularly the opposite sex parent. When the early parental relationship is fraught with frustration, disappointment, rejection, abandonment, neglect or abuse, the child is in a precarious spot psychologically. In order to survive these narcissistic insults, children must deny the reality of their predicament, as well as their intense anger, depression and despair. Instead, we cling to hope: childish hope that, if only we can be good, perfect, smart, quiet, funny enough, etc., that will win over mom or dad and they will finally love us as we need them to--as we are, unconditionally. The child mistakenly believes the problem with the parental interaction resides with them--an archetypal developmental misinterpretation--and that, therefore, they have the power to control and rectify it by changing into someone more acceptable. And so we try desperately to do so, over and over again, but to no avail. Because the reality is, the problem lies not with the child, but with the parent, who, because of his or her own psychological or situational limitations, is unable or unwilling to provide the love, structure and acceptance all children require to thrive--and deserve.
Our "inner child" is still active, and still seeking to turn the rejecting or ambivalent or emotionally unavailable or abusive adult into a loving one. Only now, it is no longer only the parent of the opposite sex, but potential love interests of the opposite sex that are targeted. Symbolic stand-ins for the parent. Most adults have an uncanny attraction, a kind ofunconscious "radar," for members of the opposite sex (or, in some cases, same sex) who, in ways often initially imperceptible, resemble--psychologically if not physically--the parent with whom we had difficulties. And these are the people we tend to "fall in love" with or with whom we get involved. We choose them unconsciously, of course. That is the nature of a neurosis. It's a "blind spot." Who would consciously choose---and often remain--with a partner who is rejecting, unavailable, or emotionally/physically abusive? That would be pure masochism. But it is not mere masochism in this case. It is a powerful repetition compulsion at play..
That wounded, rejected, abandoned little boy or girl is still trying to win mommy or daddy's love..."
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Via Dimitris Tsantaris