In his New York Times bestseller, Getting the Love Your Want, psychologist Harville Hendrix explains why people who grew up in homes — well, a little like the one in the 2006 flick Little Miss Sunshine — without proper emotional nurturing seek dysfunctional relationships as adults. He explains the low brain — our more reptilian thought process that can’t handle anything different than what it already knows and reverts to fear as its primary gear — and the new brain, the cerebral cortex that is conscious, alert, able to reason and think logically. He writes:
What we are doing, I have discovered from years of theoretical research and clinical observation, is looking for someone who has the predominant character traits of the people who raised us. Our old brain, trapped in the eternal now and having only a dim awareness of the outside world, is trying to re-create the environment of childhood. And the reason the old brain is trying to resurrect the past is not a matter of habit or blind compulsion but of a compelling need to heal old childhood wounds.
Some of you undoubtedly are thinking: “Oh puh-leaze, move on from the naval-gazing-it’s-my-mommy’s-fault theory.”
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