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Author Name: Debbie Ogunjobi
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The Pattern of Attraction
Author: Debbie Ogunjobi | January 03, 2008

I came across an article in a psychology magazine and I was surprised as it echoed some of my amateur beliefs on attraction between the sexes! A host of psychologists had in that article come to the conclusion that most of us are attracted to a particular kind of people for reasons to be found in our subconscious! Apparently we all follow a pattern that is designed in our childhood and reinforced in our subconscious. If my knowledge of Freud is correct it would be something called the “repetition compulsion”. We re-enact past relationships from the past so we can make corrections in the present, on the whole we are programmed to seek out partners who represent something or remind us of someone from our family or early relationships. It is almost like re-writing history to get the ending of our choice. Most of us hate rejection and I can certainly relate to people who are so traumatized by it that they seek to redress the hurt by re- writing the script with a similar person. We subconsciously seek out the traits that we need for our lead character and act out the pre- written script. Unfortunately the new beau is not always cool with that and may just leave as they refuse to carry the cross for all past hurts!! One of my favourite French expressions is déjà vu! It is described as that familiar feeling you get somewhere or with someone, who reminds you of something. Most of us have found ourselves saying that there we made an instant connection with strangers; almost as if we have know them all our lives!! A majority of our attractions and desires are led by childhood experiences and relationships! If a favourite uncle speaks in a particular way, it is very possible to find a stranger who speaks with a similar pattern very attractive. Our subconscious simply transfers other traces of the uncle’s personality and we think we have found that connection! The reality may be that the favourite uncle and the stranger may have absolutely nothing in common except for manner of speaking but because we are programmed to be at ease with the familiar we may just delude ourselves into attraction. I think the most common pick up line is also the most effective. You walk into a room, make eye contact with someone and walk over to say to them and say “you look familiar”. Automatically this says, you know me, we have met, and you can trust me!! Depending on how successful the chat up line is, it would be very easy to start a meaningful converstation as it can only lead to more questions!! It would make sense to then ask more information as per where the acquaintance may have been made. For instance one could check background details, social circles, common friends and even religion to keep the conversation flowing. It would be a natural follow up to feel there is a bond at the end of the time spent and I know quite a few relationships have started that way. In situations where there has been a starvation of affection, it is not uncommon that most of us compensate by seeking out those who can sate our needs. Ignored children will most likely date a mother or father figure to compensate for childhood lack. It is particularly true of girls who seek out older men as they subconsciously get to relive their childhood. That probably explains the sugar daddy (or mummy) phenomenon that is so common nowadays. Young girls seek out father figures for relationships because they need to have a figure that protects and cares for them. My cousin raised an argument that this is just plain greed and while I can’t disagree I also had to point out that if the real fathers had been good providers for their children the greed situation would never even arise! I had a candid conversation with such a young lady once and she said she simply felt safer dating older men! As at the time she was dating someone much older and I wondered whether she was not missing out on any of the fun her mates were having! She explained that she was having more fun as she was treated with respect and such love that it made the so called fun her friends’ were having mere childish misdemeanours. In her relationship she was a top priority and her needs were met in all areas. I really could not ascribe her choice of boyfriend or should I say man friend to greed as I knew her to be extremely well off but I secretly wandered whether all her father’s jet setting and his almost complete absence in childhood made her seek love in the arms of a father figure. That said, she did marry the older gentleman and they remain happily married almost a decade after, so I guess there is a lot to be said for looking for love in the arms of someone more mature! Not everyone gets to enjoy happily ever after as they seem to get caught in a vicious cycle of abuse. Women who suffer physical or even sexual abuse in early childhood are often caught in the same situation in adulthood. My sister once told me of a course mate of hers who hade been raped thrice while they were in the university. She described it as bad luck but I disagreed as I believed that the girl in question may have subconsciously put herself in the same situation. Before the entire body of women’s rights world over execute me, please let me explain. I am not saying that anyone with a sound mind would deliberately put themselves in harm’s way, what I am saying is that they may recreate the situation to either take control of the events or even for revenge. In a scenario where a woman is forcibly pinned down and raped, she is not only physically hurt but her sense of self is completely shattered! One way of regaining power is to subconsciously create a similar scenario where she successfully fights off an attacker. Her self esteem would certainly receive a boost and she may convince herself that she would be restored after! How successful she is would then determine her escape or even second rape experience! Another situation is one that is even more common, some rape victims simply let rape happen without ever complaining as they feel dirty and even worthless. They stop caring about their bodies as a defence mechanism; sadly this doesn’t work as they feel dirtier after every sexual experience! In a completely reverse situation, some men who have felt emasculated in their childhood become abusers of women. They regain their masculinity by physically abusing women, I guess to them that is the only way of regaining control. Some of them actually see it as a God given right to chastise their spouses physically and I would venture that such men are responsible for the ridiculous clause in the Nigerian constitution that gives a man the right to physically punish his wife! It is not uncommon to find that such men go through life abusing woman after woman. To compound the situation they raise another generation of men who then believe the only way to stay in control of a relationship is to batter their spouses into submission. To my mind the laws of attraction are formed by patterns that are created in childhood. The subconscious is a lot more powerful than we give it credit for as it is directly responsible for most of our reactions, especially our spontaneous ones. I have taken to studying a lot of my actions and find that I can find a clear pattern for most of my choices. Like most people I am attracted to strength because it gives me a sense of safety, a sense of humour because I relate that to fun and I get to retain some of my childlike traits and so on. On the negative side I have a friend who is commitment phobic as she knows more unions that have failed than succeeded. Our subconscious creates a pattern based on our fears and even insecurities but it is not the enemy; its job is to provide insulation against any perceived danger. As the familiar is less threatening than the strange, it follows reason that it should nudge us towards the old rather than the new. I would venture to suggest that we all sit back and check out the patterns that inform our choices and see just why we are attracted to who we are.; it should be really interesting and informative.

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