Community//

A Valuable Lesson I Learned About My Dad From Alain de Botton

The reason I've spent a decade chasing guys that didn't treat me well

Tatiana Syrikova/Pexels
Tatiana Syrikova/Pexels

One afternoon after hours of scrolling through YouTube and binge-watching ‘what’s in my bag’ and Kardashians success stories, I came across a very interesting video by Alain de Botton, philosopher and author, titled Why You Will Marry The Wrong Person.

“Anyone we might marry could, of course, be a little bit wrong for us. We don’t expect bliss every day. We know that perfection is not on the cards. Nevertheless, there are couples who display such deep-seated incompatibility, such heightened rage and disappointment, that we have to conclude that something else is at play beyond the normal scratchiness: they appear to have married the wrong person . . .”

My AHA moment

Alain de Botton had an answer to something I had been trying to figure out for the last decade.

And it was not that I should have never even dated before getting to know myself first or that I could not make up my mind who I would like to spend the rest of my life with or that my ex-boyfriends wouldn’t make great fathers or stay loyal and sit next to my bed if I was suddenly dying from cancer.

He gave me an answer to why I am attracted to unavailable men.

Were your parents abusive? Do you feel that suffering is part of your childhood? Were your parents the most loving and lovely to you, but extremely abusive towards each other? And as much as they were trying to hide that from you and pretend everything was fine you could still see and feel what was happening.

You go after what you already know

What Alain de Botton says is that we are attracted to what is familiar to us, whether it’s good or bad for us. That’s when I realized that as much as it is painful for me to admit I am daddy’s girl.

I grew up with a dad that was abusive towards my mother in all possible ways. When I was growing up I would always tell myself that I would never let anyone treat me this way.

However, an interesting thing is that even if you understand that certain behaviour is wrong and is hurting you and you see that as a painful experience, and even if you consciously think that you will never ever let anyone treat you that way, unconsciously this is a full bouquet of qualities you are attracted to.

It is something you are so used to. You meet someone and at the very beginning it might be all roses, but very soon you feel that this person is neglecting you, is unavailable, makes you feel bad about yourself and makes you feel like you are not enough.

However, you think that this is love because when you were growing up this is what you experienced. It feels familiar. Even if you do all you can to go after someone who’s loving and caring, you feel that something is missing. You are not used to it because subconsciously you want the familiarity. You want pain.

There’s hope

If you can relate to any of that I have good news for you. You can heal yourself. I can proudly say that I am cured. I have stopped chasing unavailable men.

This does not happen overnight. It requires a lot of discipline and work. That handsome and unavailable is indeed incredibly tempting. But if you want to thrive in life it’s important to learn healthy ways of loving.

You’re on the right path. You know where the problem is. Take it from there and next time you meet someone who’s not treating you the way you’d like to, walk away so you don’t end up marrying the wrong person.

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