How We Attract Life Partners — Good & Bad

Bad Boy
Creative Commons License photo credit: JasonD­Great

Since we know there are no mis­takes, no coin­ci­dences, (see Guid­ing Prin­ci­ples ) we can assume that that includes the rela­tion­ships we find our­selves in. Truth­fully, we hand­pick the peo­ple in our lives to be exactly the way they are because the way they are rein­forces what we have come to expect from relationship!

Here’s how it works: As chil­dren we make auto­matic assump­tions about what we can expect from rela­tion­ship — about what men are like and what women are like, about how we will be treated, etc. We view the world around us through these assump­tions or core beliefs; they become like a lens that col­ors what we see in the same way that wear­ing a pair of sun­glasses affects the way we see the world.

Uncon­sciously we walk around look­ing at the world through these often dis­torted beliefs and we find our­selves attracted to and attract­ing to us the peo­ple that feel most famil­iar, even in a not so pos­i­tive way, who end up val­i­dat­ing for us our early life assumptions/core beliefs.

Here’s an exam­ple from my own life: As a child, I loved my dad very much. He was a prac­tic­ing alco­holic who either played with us so hard it hurt or he ignored us alto­gether. He was often irri­ta­ble (hung over) or down­right dis­ap­prov­ing. When I heard his car pulling into the dri­ve­way at night, I remem­ber feel­ing my heart-pound and great angst in the pit of my stom­ach because I never knew “which dad” would walk through the door.

Later, in my ado­les­cence, I’d go to par­ties, like most teenagers, look­ing to meet boys. I soon noticed that I was not much inter­ested in the “nice” boys — Instead I’d look around until I found the guy who was stand­ing aloof — the one with the scowl on his face, a beer in his hand and a cig­a­rette dan­gling from his lips. I would see that “bad boy” and my heart would pound and my gut would twist up just as it did when I was a kid around my dad — and do you know what I thought that meant?

You guessed it! I thought I was in love! In real­ity I’d sim­ply found the one guy in the room who was most like my dad; I’d found what was famil­iar. It took me years to real­ize that those old famil­iar feel­ings sig­naled not love, but a guy more likely in need of treatment! :)

Become famil­iar with your core beliefs. Write down what you learned about rela­tion­ship from watch­ing your par­ents inter­act and then look for how those very beliefs have been played out in your own life!

Bless­ings, Lynne


  1. Elizabeth says

    As my part­ner has been secretly smok­ing pot behind my back (after a life­time of addic­tion)
    and hav­ing found out about it a few months ago, I am strug­gling
    with my dis­sat­is­fac­tion, know­ing that addic­tions are a way out of
    any­thing unpleas­ant.
    I have my own addic­tion, using food to soothe my hurts.

    There is judge­ment of him, dis­ap­proval, want­ing some­thing bet­ter.
    There is the love I have for him. This has cre­ated a whirl­wind of
    reac­tiv­ity in my heart, for part of me wants to leave and part longs for the close­ness we had.
    I see that my own revul­sion for my inabil­ity to stop eat­ing for
    emo­tional rea­sons is pro­jected onto him. It hurts to see that.
    Shall I let go of all the judge­ments, dis­ap­proval, rejec­tion of him
    and just focus on my own judge­ments, dis­ap­proval and rejec­tion of myself for what appears to me as my weak­ness?
    My heart aches because he has with­drawn because of the above.
    It brings up very deep pain in my heart. I can­not seem to shake it. There was lots of aban­don­ment in my child­hood, repeated in
    dif­fer­ent ways at dif­fer­ent times.
    I see the vic­tim triangle…I feel vic­tim­ized and betrayed, and
    become the per­pe­tra­tor of judge­ment and rejec­tion. Another
    part of me tries to be accept­ing, to for­give, which can be seen as
    res­cuer in a way. It’s a swirl of reactivity.

    I am away from home for two weeks, and feel vic­tim­ized by his
    not talk­ing with me. I keep try­ing to recon­nect, with lit­tle response.
    I am stuck feel­ing rejected, like I did as a child. The pain keeps com­ing up in my heart. I stay with it, feel it, com­pas­sion arises.

    It feels end­less. I know I am on the vic­tim tri­an­gle, for a time.
    There is space. Then the pain returns.

    Any ideas?

  2. Lynne says

    Yes, our part­ners are a faith­ful, moment to moment, mir­ror of our rela­tion­ship with our­selves, with oth­ers, and/or with Source. As we reframe the unhappy beliefs that have held us hostage in the past, we come into a kinder, higher fre­quency, rela­tion­ship with our­selves and those around us who have oper­ated in low fre­quency with us, do one of two things: their fre­quency goes up too, and they are kinder to us too — or, we find our paths going in dif­fer­ent direc­tions. It’s a nat­ural hap­pen­ing.

  3. karla says

    Hi lynn, great posts. I was won­der­ing if every­thing that your part­ners does is a mir­ror to you. What hap­pens when you change your belief and your part­ner still does not change? Do you leave the rela­tion­ship if the emo­tional abuse does not stop? Thank you.

  4. says

    Good work, Jach! “She blames me for every­thing” turned around is, “I blame me for every­thing.” She mir­rors to you what you do to your­self. That is her ser­vice to you. :) Another turn around is “I blame her for every­thing.” How is that one true? Do you blame her for your unhap­pi­ness? For keep­ing you from joy? For rob­bing you from peace?

    Inves­ti­gat­ing those thoughts are your route to peace, not insist­ing she be dif­fer­ent … no, she needs to be exactly how she is, for how else are you going to dis­cover what it is you do to your­self? :) As you find and reframe your own lim­it­ing beliefs you may well be sur­prised at how dif­fer­ent things are between you and your wife — and for the bet­ter!
    Best of luck & bless­ings,

  5. JACH says

    Thanks for your Lynne,

    Last week was an emo­tional roller coaster for me. I re-read some of your posts, I let things set­tle down. Inter­est­ing indeed. I got to the con­clu­sion that I needed to let my wife go through her own process, at her own pace, but at the same time, that I needed to put some lim­its. I didn’t even need to do “The Work”: it’s cristal-clear to me that I blame me for every­thing (and it became clear also that I was blam­ing her too).

    This “every body blames me for every­thing” belief has accom­pa­nied me for years. Now it’s time for me to take respon­si­bil­ity for that belief

    Thank you for your words.

  6. says

    Hi Jach, thanks for shar­ing. It is def­i­nitely pos­si­ble to get off the tri­an­gle with­out end­ing a rela­tion­ship. In spite of widely held notions that it takes two work­ing on it for a rela­tion­ship to work, I’ve found, to the con­trary, that it only takes one to have a happy relationship.

    But it requires a cer­tain will­ing­ness on that one’s part …

    For that to hap­pen we must be will­ing to take 100 % respon­si­bil­ity for our own unhappy feel­ings by real­iz­ing that our unhap­pi­ness is caused, not by what the other per­son is doing or not doing, but by our think­ing about what that per­son is doing/not doing.

    When we real­ize that our mis­ery is up to us, we begin to let go of our pre­vi­ous des­per­ate need for them to change. We stop try­ing to make them be dif­fer­ent so we can be happy because we under­stand that they are not in con­trol of our happiness.

    Instead, we focus on the thoughts and beliefs we hold that cre­ate our unhap­pi­ness. Any­time we think they are the cause of our mis­ery we are in vic­tim. Plain and sim­ple. To get off the vic­tim tri­an­gle, we must ques­tion our own unhappy thoughts/beliefs.

    My wife blames me for every­thing …” and that means .…… ?” (fill in the blank. For instance, it means … she doesn’t love me, she thinks I’m inad­e­quate, she’s a b — -, what does it mean to you? )

    Now take that thought through Byron Katie’s Four Ques­tions and turn it around. Find that process on her web­page at

    Get more focused on trans­form­ing your thoughts about her than you are in blam­ing her for your unhap­pi­ness (isn’t it inter­est­ing to find we are doing the very thing we are so upset with them for doing?! She blames you, you blame her… hmmmm :))

    Hope this helps.

  7. JACH says

    My mother always blamed my father for every­thing wrong in her life. Now my wife is doing the same with me.

    I know that I’m in “vic­tim mode” because I’m run­ning the “you’re falsely accus­ing me” script, and also the res­cuer because I see the pat­terns in her and I tried to make her aware of them so “she can be free”.

    But this is only theater.

    My ques­tion is this: is there a way to remove the tri­an­gle with­out end­ing the relationship?

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