The Recurring Plot


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Movies are a great way to unwind and relax over the weekend and have a favorite to keep watching over and over again. What do we like about movies? I like the fact that it ends in 2 hours and I feel different from when I started watching it.

What about relationships?

They are quite the same as movies in a lot of aspects. One aspect that I would like to talk about here is the plot of the movie and the pattern in a relationship. Movies essentially have the same plot: a difficult love story, a journey, a “love conquers all” scenario, man against society and so on. When it comes to relationships, I have known enough and more people that are unconsciously going back to the same plot, again and again.

What is the psychology behind dating similar personalities or people?

Have you noticed how all your exes or relationships have had the same kind of people over and over again? Turns out, it is psychological as well. Falling in the same abusive relationships? Playing mother in the relationship, again and again? Notice your pattern. Have all your previous relationships been different or the same? After a while of destructive patterns that include abuse, emotional unavailability in the relationship, your partner’s narcissism and general instability which includes ups and downs of break ups and make ups, you notice it and speak about it to someone and by the time you have gone through so much already that it has changed you as a person.

There are several theories as to why this might happen. I will go on to share one story and an instance to make this clearer ahead. This theory is stated by Freud, and goes on to say that because of the difficulties that one might have faced as a child called the ‘repetition compulsion’. Turns out this is a defense mechanism that works to rewrite history. Sara, was a girl who grew up with her parents constantly fighting at home. This would result in Sara feeling abandoned, frustrated, disappointed with her parents and maybe even abused. To get away from these feelings, Sara denies the reality of the situation and resorts to having intense hope in this situation. She believes that if she can win over one of her parents, they would love her, protect her and stay together as a happy family. In this hope, she pursues what becomes an endless game of trying to impress and resolve. Sara starts believing that she has the power to change the way things work, when the real problem lies with the parent, and not the child.

This continues onto adulthood, and then to dating and relationships. Sara takes on the responsibility thinking that she will change the person and the situation and make it all better, just like her parents. Most relationships in the adulthood are a continuation of what was leftover in the childhood. Sara goes through the thoughts of “I have always grown up like this, I will work harder and prove to everyone that the person I love and I will stand out and fight against the odds, and not be my parents”

The truth is, none of us have perfect parents and a perfect childhood. And this reflects in all of our adulthood. Playing the role of victims, trying to keep everything together and fighting till the end, only to reconcile the bruises that have been made during our childhood.

If this sounds familiar to you, what next?

Although this can be quite difficult to comprehend, but recognizing your pattern is the first step towards changing it. Sit with yourself or with a professional and go through a lot of patterns, thoughts, actions and reactions and check the cause of intention behind the same. Check if there are similarities with how you were in a similar situation as a child and now. All this will lead to you starting to accept and being ready to finally closing the wound from years ago.

In this article, I have tried to condense and speak about this theory and the repercussions it can have in one’s life. Working towards the repetition compulsion, losing its power in your life and your relationships is what you have to strive towards.

But remember that whatever happens, you are still entitled to feel the anger, disappointment and abandonment that you felt, and with time even find the space to move past the conflict and forgive those agonizing memories.


Lenni George