One of our favorite ways to attempt to remedy past hurts is through our choice of who to love. We’ll unconsciously choose just the right people who most remind us of the parent who missed the mark by the widest margin. At the same time, we’ll manage to also find traits that are a good match for the parent who we think loved us better—who did a better job of meeting our demands.

It’s important to find the way in which both parents are represented, but it’s extra-important—and also more difficult—to find the matching dots for the parent who disappointed us the most. That’s the one we despised the most, and for whom we had little or no love.

This shows up in our friendships, our marital partners and pretty much all our other relationships, as we go around seeking out our parents in subtle ways we may have to work to detect. Inside us is this inner child that can’t let go of the past because it can’t make sense of it; so it also can’t accept and can’t forgive. Over and over, it sets up similar conditions, thinking this time it can win.

The inner child is intent on mastering the situation, instead of falling prey to it. Losing feels like being crushed—and this we plan to avoid come hell or high water. The stakes are high indeed. Too bad the whole thing is unfeasible. What the child inside us wants to accomplish cannot ever be achieved. And to boot, our efforts are highly destructive.

First of all, it is a total illusion that we were ever defeated. So then it’s just as big an illusion that we can now be the victor. And sad as it may have been for us when we were little, lack of love is not the tragedy our unconscious self believes it to be. The real tragedy is the way we keep ourselves from being happy now because we continue to reproduce situations that were painful under the illusion that ‘this time we’ll master it.’

Friends, this process is buried deep in our unconscious; it’s the last thing on our mind when we are choosing people to connect with. So we’re going to have to get out the shovel and dig deep if we want to uncover the emotions that cause us to wade into situations again and again where our secret goal is to heal old wounds from childhood.


How and Why we Recreate Childhood Hurts

BONES: A Building-Block Collection of 19 Fundamental Spiritual Teachings