It's been said that the people we attract in our lives for relationships reflect who we are. Their strengths are our weaknesses and our weaknesses are their strengths. The idea is to improve one another. I would go a step further to also say our relationships parallel the relationships we saw as children i.e. our parents or guardians.
My mother & father alternated putting me to bed at night when I was a kid. He would kiss my forehead & tell me he loved me. He told me regularly, "You can be anything you want because you're bright. You're smart. Can't nothing stop you!"
I believe my mother is the reason for my entrepreneurial spirit. I watched her build a business from nothing, but also because she supported me during the times I didn't work while mounting my stage play. She wasn't one to say, "I love you," but she showed it in more ways than I could say.
My parents were married for about 14 years, thus, I have a myriad of memories & some of those contribute to the way I functioned in my relationships. My father had a terse, abrasive way when he was angry or frustrated with my mother especially when he couldn't get his point across or have his way. He would condescendingly call her "brains" when she questioned something she didn't understand or she wanted clarity on.
On the other hand, my mom would ignore my father for days, weeks even to prove a point. Because I was there to absorb it all I adopted both of their patterns. I was in my 20s when I realized the effects their relationship had on mine. One of my biggest struggles then & sometimes now is letting go of anger. I’m the first to admit how begrudging I can be and quite unforgiving even. I’ve been guilty of shutting down & ultimately closing my partner out because I’m upset about something. Undoing learned behavior that we subconsciously carry with us can be difficult to untangle, but doable if we’re honest with ourselves & sit still long enough to identify our role in the relationship.
My patterns, your patterns follow us into our relationships until we make a conscious decision to rid ourselves of them...