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Repetition Compulsion

Repetition compulsion is the unconsciously driven compulsion to repeat the wounds of childhood in the hope of finally healing. We repeat what we lived as kids partly because it's familiar and partly because we all want to recreate the wounds of the past (not because we're masochists or gluttons for punishment) because we yearn for a happy ending this time around. Here's how this plays out.

Let's say you had a dad who hurt you. You will choose a boyfriend who has the same character make up as the parent who let you down. Choosing a boyfriend who is similar to the parent gives the illusion of going home again. Now the stage is set to recreate the pain of the past and in no time you are suffering just the way you did as a kid.
Now you set out to make it work. You try to be good and loving hoping that you will be rewarded this time around will better treatment than you received as a kid.

Sadly, the repetition compulsion never yields a happy ending precisely because we choose partners who are damaged goods--people who can't give any more or better than our parents did. See my archived articles for more information on this topic and how to break free.

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