Whether you are single, dating or married, you probably have known someone in your past who wasn’t good for you. Whether it be friend, foe or ex-husband, this relationship turned out badly and you wonder why you ever got involved with them in the first place.
A lot of this attraction is unconscious. Sure, we see outward characteristics like clothes, hair, and personality traits that draw us toward another person. But there are things out of our conscious awareness that attract others to us, and we to them.
You may be attracting Losers, Users and Abusers and you don’t even know it.
These unconscious drives are often rooted in our Soul Holes- emotional wounds from traumatic childhood experiences. If our basic needs to be
2) KNOWN, and
3) UNCONDITIONALLY ACCEPTED
were not met, then Soul Holes grow. Soul Holes attract Users, Losers and Abusers.
Losers, Users and Abusers make Soul Holes deeper, darker and harder to fill. They confirm everything in us that’s wrong, that’s troubled, that’s failing, bruised or weak. Losers, Users and Abusers expose the original wounds of the heart and make us acutely aware of our pain.
Donna grew up with her two older sisters and her mom. Her parents divorced when she was five. Her mom worked full time and left the older sisters in charge of Donna after school and summers. Donna’s Dad quickly remarried and moved hours away. Dad’s visits diminished over the years and were eventually non-existent. Donna’s sisters and mother were loving, but stressed. Mom received no financial or parenting support from Dad, and all four felt a sense of abandonment. Mom’s presence wasn’t often felt, and the girls were “on their own” a lot. When mom was home, she snapped, slapped, and slept a lot from being overwhelmed with her circumstances.
Donna grew up feeling forgotten. She didn’t fault her mother and sisters for her pain. She knew they were all just doing the best they could. But she couldn’t let go of the fact her father never tried to be a real father. She often wondered if he thought about her. If he wondered how she was. Or if he remembered what she looked like. Did he keep a picture of her? Did she mean anything at all to him?
Donna’s sense of abandonment was her deepest Soul Hole. It would be her undoing.
When she was 21, Donna met Craig. Craig was 10 years older than her, good looking, employed and went to church. They started dating, and the fact that he was attracted to her sent Donna over the moon. No one had shown any interest in her before Craig. She fell head over heals. He always wanted to meet her at her house instead of her coming over to his, and he never gave her a straight answer about what he did for a living. But Donna overlooked these things when he would tell her how beautiful, sexy and smart she was.
What Donna didn’t know, was that Craig was recently fired for suspicion of company theft, he was seeing another woman at the same time, had a child with a previous girlfriend that he didn’t support and never saw, and still lived with his mother.
Why was Donna attracted to a creep like Craig? Why did she turn a blind eye to some of his obvious red flags? Why was she so willing to let down her guard just to feel loved?
Soul Holes beg for healing. They cry out to be seen, to be known and to be loved. The traumas of childhood can make us blind to the tactics of Users, Losers and Abusers. We are so desperate to be seen, known and loved, we will take the promise of love no matter the source. That can get us into a lot of trouble, just like Donna.
Craig was doing to Donna, what her father had done to her 16 years prior. Since the abandonment cycle was all Donna ever knew, she fueled it with Craig until the fumes made her sick.
After Donna’s 3 year on-again, off-again relationship with Craig, she left him for good. She was tired of the lies and secrets and feelings of betrayal. She felt that she was worse off in every way since getting together with Craig, and she was sick of it. It was hard for her to leave Craig- it was hard for her to be on her own and face the loneliness she knew would come. But she knew that being alone was better than being serially abandoned by a User.
What Donna did next:
- Donna surrounded herself with safe people: She reconnected with her mother and sisters and told them the truth about Craig.
- She asked for help from a counselor. There, she identified the original Soul Hole of abandonment and how it blinded her to Craig’s toxic intentions.
- She routinely participated in a small group at church with supportive women. They did studies by Joyce Meyers and Beth Moore that strengthened her dependence on God and her self-esteem.
Soon, Donna found herself attracted to healthier people- people that took her seriously and followed through with their commitments. She deepened her friendships and established safe connections with trustworthy people. She took time for herself, stood up for herself and basically refused to abandon herself in anyway. One day, her counselor asked her to write a letter to her dad- a letter she would never send, but one that desperately needed to be written.
Donna wrote that letter. She wrote about all the things her father missed out on, about what a sweet and smart little girl she was growing up. She wrote about how the pain of his rejection made her vulnerable and desperate for love. She wrote about how the Soul Hole of abandonment was real, and damaging, but that she would no longer be defined by it. Donna stated that she knew what true, committed love was now, because she found it in Jesus, and this time, it will never be taken away.
Soul Holes are like vacuums that suck the wrong kind of attention into themselves. These Soul Holes attract Losers, Users and Abusers that just make things worse. It’s important to take the kind of steps that Donna did to heal and grow so you don’t keep lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.
In the coming weeks, I will write a lot more posts about how to identify personal Soul Holes and how to avoid attracting the wrong sort of person.
How about you?
Have you ever attracted a User, Loser or Abuser before? What Soul Holes blinded you to their red flags? What ways are you filling the Soul Holes with authentic love so that healthy relationships can follow?