Rachel Sussman, a licensed psychotherapist, relationship expert, founder of Sussman Counseling and author of The Breakup Bible, offers 8 tips and tools for understanding your own personal love map.
There are many coincidences in life, but few coincidences in love. You might have met him by chance, but there is a reason you chose him among others, and there are other reasons yet that determined the trajectory of your relationship, breakup and grieving process. In order to explore these factors you need to examine what genetic/biological, social/cultural, and psychological factors from your earlier life influenced our partner selection, romance, and grieving period. I call this exercise “creating your personal love map”.
From the moment you were born, your personal love map was formed. This map contains data that is unique to you, and deciphering it holds massive chunks of information that will help you achieve validation and full recovery from your breakup or divorce. Through the process of creating and interpreting your love map, you will finally have the complete story about every aspect of your relationship.
See the excerpt below from The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce on tips and tools for understanding your own personal love map.
1. Our personalities are formed through the inﬂuence of three separate yet interrelated components: biology, psychology, and socialization. This is called a “biopsychosocial” perspective.
2. A young child needs to develop a secure relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. Without this secure love, children can have psychological and social impairments that will undoubtedly affect how they feel about themselves, whom they choose as romantic partners, and how they operate in relationships.
3. Our childhoods and parental relationships fall within an intricate attachment spectrum that encompasses three distinct styles: Assured attachment, ambivalent attachment and avoidant attachment.
4. Identifying which attachment style best describes your upbringing holds many clues that will explain why you picked your ex as your love partner, how you performed in the relationship, and your break-up behavior.
5. As we grow up we develop an orientation to new attachment ﬁgures, both friends and lovers, who have remarkably comparable personalities or traits with our original caregivers.
6. When we search for partners who have comparable unfavorable traits with the parent(s) that we had an ambivalent or avoidant relationship with, and then hope to change them to ﬁll emotional voids in ourselves — this is called repetition compulsion.
7. If you participate in repetition compulsion and have early unidentified abandonment issues, you are primed to suffer a horriﬁc double abandonment during a breakup — the old unresolved loss from your emotionally abandoning parents (or other painful past unresolved circumstances) and the brand new abandonment from your current lover. This is “abandonment depression.”
8. If you feel you are suffering from repetition compulsion and abandonment depression, acknowledging and healing your old wounds is of extreme importance on your journey to recovery.
Excerpted from The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce Copyright @ 2011 by Rachel A. Sussman, LCSW. Reprinted by Permission of Three Rivers Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
For more from Rachel on genConnect: How to Meet the Right Partner
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