Are You Re-Living Your Childhood Pain Via Destructive Relationships? | Issues from childhood

Are You Re-Living Your Childhood Pain Via Destructive Relationships?

I have just finished the self-help relationships book I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway by Tracy McMillan. Life was tough for Tracy. What would you do if your father was a pimp, a drug dealer and a womaniser who left you abandoned to fend for yourself in a series of foster homes from a very young age, messing up your chance at having decent, healthy relationships with men?

One Easy Trick to Self Love

Are You Re-Living Your Childhood Pain Via Destructive Relationships? | Self-appreciation
Sometimes bad relationships cause us to doubt ourselves

I have previously written a post on a great technique she gives to deal with the feelings of self-hatred and negative chatter that we can experience when we go through a bad relationship break up. It’s easy – and I really recommend you try it. My post summarises it, and Tracy’s book also covers it, but you have to read the whole book to get to the trick at the end!

Why You’re Not Married by Tracy McMillan

Are You Re-Living Your Childhood Pain Via Destructive Relationships? | Tracy McMillan
Tracy McMillan wrote the book ‘I Love You But I’m Leaving You Anyway’

Tracy McMillan became well known recently because she wrote an article called Why You’re Not Married that was published in the Huffington Post and contained suggestions such as “You’re a Bitch,” and “You’re a Slut” (oh Tracy you know me so well?!). It’s written in a tongue-in-cheek style, as the author has been married three times herself, so she admits to having messed up lots in her past and is by no means ‘holier than thou’ when it comes to making mistakes in love.

If you can, buy the book. It’s really well written and has a very interesting structure, tracing the author’s love life from her childhood through to her third divorce. As mentioned, Tracy’s father was a pimp and a drug dealer, and most notably, a womaniser and Tracy works out that she has been having adult relationships where she is trying to reconcile her feelings with her father, who is in prison. She (like others) believes that our adult relationships are just our way of attracting lessons into our lives that we have to learn – so she finds herself attracted to men that plan to leave her, just as her father did when she was a child.

Sorting Out Childhood Issues with Bad Relationships

Are You Re-Living Your Childhood Pain Via Destructive Relationships? | Kids playing
Sometimes destructive relationships are formed in childhood

If you are having trouble with destructive relationships, if you feel yourself drawn to the wrong type of men or women, then buy a copy of this book. Tracy tries to work out why she constantly seems to mindlessly go back to relationships to sort out aspects of herself she hasn’t dealt with, and it’s not until she leans to deal with her own emotional crap that she can finally let go of her destructive patterns.

My only issue with this is the fact that someone like Tracy should have every reason to have a difficult adulthood, having come from such a difficult childhood. I similarly don’t have that sort of excuse. My parents were (and are) outstanding, loving, present, happy and gave me every opportunity in the world – and yet I still have issues with relationships.

So I Have No Excuses – Am I Just an Asshole?

I can’t use my parents as an excuse. I have had some enormously difficult and destructive relationships, including my present one where there has been significant abuse doled out (I guess on both sides, although he’s the only one who’s been in trouble with the law) and yet, I’m still in it. I sadly can’t give the excuse that I came from a difficult childhood – I guess I’m just an asshole. Or maybe I’m just with an asshole. Either way my current relationship is problematic and my inability to leave it makes me feel that there are obviously deeper issues to be dealt with here.

Why I Love Bad Boys

Are You Re-Living Your Childhood Pain Via Destructive Relationships? | Men like to be alone
Bad boys leave their impact: Have you been asking, “why you’re not married?” It’s OK – lots of people do…

My relationships have been pretty destructive from the start. I guess I like bad boys and people who are slightly crazy. Ordinary guys are so boring. I have never really gone out with someone ‘nice’. I tried to once, but we broke it off very quickly, after only a couple of months. He was very religious and had decided to abstain from sex unless he had been seeing that partner for over a year. I was very keen to get into his virginal pants. While we were courting I drove him so crazy that he was in actual, physical pain trying to restrain himself. I was not a good match for him.

Even my very first boy was a bad boy. He actually ended up gay, but when we were in our teens he was a real womaniser, dating five girls at a time. I set myself up for heartbreak and heartbreak is what I got.  Still wonder why I did that. I had no reason to pick someone so unsuitable, so unattainable. I was never very confident as a teen. I was a little heavy and I never felt attractive. It was just a phase, by age 18 I had lost all my excess weight and I was attractive and confident. But still it took a while for my mind to catch up with my physical transformation.

I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway

Are You Re-Living Your Childhood Pain Via Destructive Relationships? | Divorce
Marriage is not a cure for fixing broken psychological issues – the work must be done alone

If you have destructive relationships; if you keep making the same mistakes; If you find yourself running towards something you think may be bad for you – read this book. Tracy McMillan is actually one of the writers on Mad Men, so she knows how to tell a great yarn. I highly recommend this book. It’s different.  She doesn’t give herself too easy a time, she is open and honest in her portrait of herself, which makes it a fascinating book.

The core messages of this memoir are quite powerful:

You are special and unique. You are worthy of Love. You deserve love and respect.

It takes Tracy forty years to come to term with those sentiments, and it’s a wild journey. Buy a copy of this book. It’s been my fave of the year so far.

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  1. April 12, 2013

    Wow. Your review does make me will to buy – only one catch: I thought it should be ‘why I loveD bad boys’ but it’s ‘why I love’!! Just saying!!

    Traumatic childhoods, if you had an inkling of my blog, are the killer of our futures. It’s a deeply, deeply saddening true. Great review.

    1. April 14, 2013

      haha! Yes, you are right. I need to stop falling in love with those bad boys! I just can’t seem to resist them, no matter how hard I try!

  2. Angela
    April 16, 2014

    Good book review. I would like to suggest that, although your parents were perfect and loving, it’s possible that one or both of them are emotionally unavailable, so you choose men who are emotionally unavailable. Our parents teach us how to love.

    1. April 17, 2014

      Hi Angela-
      Thanks so much for your incisive comment – I must say, that never occurred to me, but certainly strikes a chord. The dude is this post was very emotionally unavailable, and we did break up – which was a very good thing. Tracy’s book was very interesting, and she wrote with a sense of clarity and humor too. I really appreciate you taking the time to connect.

      Hope you have a great week.
      Kind regards, Alyce

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