Why are we addicted to people who hurt us?

Our childhood is a determining factor of how in adulthood we form and maintain our relationships.

It is said that gambling is the addiction of the 21st century. Like this one, which makes the headlines of the media frequently, we constantly talk about other dependencies that inhabit the cracks of society: alcoholism , drugs or sex. But, there is another addiction that coexists with all of us and many times we ignore; the human dependence , the need to generate and feel towards others.

Human relationships are the pillar of our life, but many times we are involved in toxic pairings , loving, family or friendship, which restrict us as people and do not allow us to develop or be happy.

This is explained by Manuel Hernández Pacheco, a graduate in Biology and Psychology from the University of Malaga and author of the book “Why do the people I love hurt me?” «Functional emotional dependence as a mechanism of gambling, at the moment I feel a reward with a person, who at some point treated me well or made me feel loved, I’m going to get hooked on that feeling, ”explains the professional. The problem arises when that person on whom we “depend” begins to harm us. «This can be for two reasons; On the one hand there is a learning acquired in childhood and which tends to be repeated; on the other, as there was at some time a kind of reward, people become addicted to that need. Like the one who smokes, or the one who plays: if at any time he felt good about it, he can’t stop doing it now, ”says Manuel Hernández.

«Wounds of the past»

And what is that learning that the professional talks about? They are the basis of our emotions, of our personality, which is shaped during the first years of our life , when we are still small. The problem comes when we have not had a “normal” development and we carry with us “wounds of the past.”

«80% of what we will know all our lives we learn in the first four or five years», says the professional and continues: «When I have an emotional activation for something that happens to me, my brain will pull the memory , and then if my father always demanded a lot from me, when I am with a boss, he probably demands a lot from me too.

Then, transferred to the plane of relationships, if a child has suffered what is called an “attachment trauma” , because, when we have been small, our parents have neglected us when we instinctively sought attention, that trauma, which “prevents growth, a natural development in the child’s brain, that will have implications for the rest of his life,” as the psychologist explains.

Repeat involuntarily

Another impediment found by people immersed in a toxic relationship is the so-called procedural memory. “The brain tends to repeat protocols to save energy, therefore, in psychogenealogy, when the brain does something many times, there comes a time when it does not know how to do otherwise, ” says Manuel Hernández. “In the end we become addicted to the way we control ourselves, but that is something that at one time was useful and may now be disastrous,” he adds.

Also, these roots that we have since childhood, these customs and ways of behaving, throw us closer to these toxic relationships. «If when we are little we have felt that we are defective, that is something that we think is our fault , so we have the power over it», explains Manuel Hernández and continues: «That is why many people crush themselves and get together with toxic people, because they feel they don’t deserve more, because it’s the only way they know to survive.

Support in the other

If a person is immersed in a toxic relationship, the one in which “the person he wants hurts” needs to be regulated to overcome it. But, this can be an arduous task for many people. “The greater the fear in childhood, the more rigid the learning will be, the harder it is to change,” argues Manuel Hernández.

“When there is a dependency, whether of a person or a substance, what it requires is to regulate ourselves, to pass that withdrawal syndrome, but that is not done in a day, it is reached little by little, ” explains the professional. To achieve this regulation, the most important thing is usually to rely on another person , not only professionals, a good friend, a teacher or a partner can be a great help to get out of that dark place.

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