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  • Writer's pictureChristina

Why Do We Choose Partners Who Trigger Past Wounds?

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Love and relationships have the power to bring immense joy and fulfillment into our lives. However, it is not uncommon for individuals to find themselves repeatedly drawn to partners who trigger past wounds and emotional pain. At Elevation Behavioral Therapy, a trusted therapy private practice in Denver, Colorado, we understand the complexities of relationship dynamics.


In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and shed light on the underlying psychological factors that influence our partner choices.



1. The Familiarity Factor:


One of the primary reasons individuals choose partners who trigger past wounds is the familiarity factor. We are often drawn to what feels familiar, even if it is not healthy or beneficial for us. Our early experiences, particularly in childhood, shape our understanding of love, relationships, and attachment. If we grew up in an environment where love was conditional, inconsistent, or even abusive, we may unconsciously seek out partners who replicate those dynamics, as they feel familiar and comfortable.

2. Unresolved Emotional Wounds:

Choosing partners who trigger past wounds can also be a result of unresolved emotional wounds. When we have unhealed emotional pain from past experiences, we may subconsciously seek out partners who resemble the people who caused that pain. This can be an attempt to recreate the situation and find resolution or healing. However, it often leads to repeating the same patterns and experiencing similar pain.


3. Seeking Validation and Self-Worth:


Another reason individuals choose partners who trigger past wounds is the desire for validation and a sense of self-worth. If we have low self-esteem or struggle with feelings of unworthiness, we may unconsciously seek out partners who treat us poorly or reinforce negative beliefs about ourselves. This pattern allows us to perpetuate the familiar narrative that we are not deserving of love and respect.

4. Repetition Compulsion:

Repetition compulsion is a psychological phenomenon where individuals unconsciously repeat past traumatic experiences in an attempt to gain mastery or control over them. By choosing partners who trigger past wounds, we may be trying to rewrite the narrative and create a different outcome. However, this often leads to retraumatization and further perpetuates the cycle of pain.

5. Healing and Growth Opportunities:


Paradoxically, choosing partners who trigger past wounds can also present opportunities for healing and growth. These relationships serve as mirrors, reflecting back to us the unresolved issues and emotional wounds that require attention. By recognizing and addressing these patterns, we can embark on a journey of self-discovery, healing, and personal growth.

6. Seeking Professional Support:

Understanding why we choose partners who trigger past wounds is a complex process that often requires professional support. At Elevation Behavioral Therapy, we offer relationship therapy in Denver, Colorado, providing a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore their relationship dynamics. Our experienced therapists can help you uncover the underlying reasons behind your partner choices and guide you towards healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

Choosing partners who trigger past wounds is a common yet perplexing phenomenon in relationships. The familiarity factor, unresolved emotional wounds, seeking validation, repetition compulsion, and growth opportunities all play a role in this pattern. Recognizing and understanding these underlying factors is the first step towards breaking free from destructive relationship patterns.

Our therapy practice offers relationship therapy in-person in Denver, Colorado and sessions via teletherapy to anyone located in Colorado. Reach out to us at support@elevationbehavioraltherapy.com or call or text us at (720) 295-6566 to schedule a free initial phone consultation or appointment.


You can also schedule directly online through our website. Let us guide you towards healthier, more fulfilling relationships and a brighter future.

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