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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Dumping Dysfunction

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Raise your hand if you’ve ever dated (or married) someone that now makes you shake your head in disbelief.

Don’t be shy. You’re not alone.

Now, take an honest look back at yourself in that relationship. Were you in a healthy place? In full working order?

Probably not.

When it comes to relationships, we tend to attract and be attracted to people that are operating at a similar level of awareness and functionality as we are.

Those who are overly nice and have difficulty maintaining boundaries find partners who are overly needy or demanding.

The one that seeks to control and fix finds the one who cannot manage alone.

Those that are fearful to fully engage in life meet up with others who are content to live at half speed.

People that struggle with addiction dovetail nicely with the ones who are happy to enable.

The one that feels unlovable will end up with the one that likes to abuse.

And individuals who are afraid of being alone will settle with those who don’t have the skills needed to sustain a relationship.

Like attracts like in the particular magnetism of relationships. Patterns of dysfunction fitting together just so in a way that can hide the maladaptive patterns of one by folding into the other.

And sometimes one person grows and in doing so, grows out of the person they were once fitted with. The relationship becoming a too-tight sweater that constricts instead of hugs. Without their corresponding pattern of dysfunction to hide beneath, the too-sharp edges of the slower growing partner begin to rub and your tolerance begins to wear thin.

Maybe they will be motivated by your growth, your changes prompting alterations in their own habits and patterns. Perhaps your shift is enough and you are able to learn a new way to operate that improves the overall dynamic.

Or possibly you’re in the difficult position of choosing between being limited and letting go.

Sometimes to move forward, you have to begin by dumping the dysfunction.

And then doing the work to become what you want to attract.

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4 thoughts on “Dumping Dysfunction

  1. My counselor has told me this time and time again when ever I would complain about the kind of men I was attracting. Ugh…but yes it’s true. As soon as I stepped back and was able to see where I was emotionally things started to change. As soon as I got clear with what I wanted, and what I didn’t, and spoke my truth to the man I cared about…things changed. He stepped up and I believe that is because I stepped back and stopped settling for less than I wanted.

    We tend to have the hardest time looking inward and seeing where we need to work. It seems like everyone would rather put all their energy into trying to change the person in front of us instead of the person inside of us. Not sure how to get more people on board with that one…seems like even when they see it in action they still choose to walk the same self destructive path. Eventually it’s just time to accept that I will do me, and you do you…

  2. Another perfect analogy, as always.
    Dysfunctional people must and usually do find the other “sock” so to speak, that “fits” what they’re lacking.
    I saw me there. I saw the old other half there, as well. I’m grateful I know that and the areas I need major work on fixing myself, or at the very least, knowing how and why I made those huge life mistakes, is the best way I know to be in touch with who I am and what I must work on within myself, as said in the above reply by Dawn, so well. By making those changes I need to make in me first, then I’ll have a better chance of being able to feel complete by myself, and not expecting someone else to fill my voids where I’ve failed before. There’s a quote that says to use your failures as stepping stones; I feel that’s a good way to think about it for myself, and maybe someone else, too.

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