In short, yes. If you dabble into anything that Dr. Amen says about the brain in love, this is definitely a possibility and I have, without question, witnessed this on numerous occasions in my coaching practice. The first few months with a new person is so lovely and also so blinding because we are both functioning from our best shiny selves. The brain is lit up, so we can have a tendency to overlook and accept things that may not work well for us. It’s like we shift into a place where we see what we want to see… what we long for it to be. The old adage “love is blind” appears to have some weight after all!
In saying this, there are factors other than sex that contribute to the acceptance of red flags. In no specific order they are: your attachment style, your core fracture wound, your old brain ways and good old patterns. Let’s break these down…
In regards to attachment style, I can summarize this with what I believe to be essential reading for absolutely everyone: Attached by Amir Levine. Our attachment style has a strong and influential impact on how we show up in relationships. Good news is, we can change our attachment style. Not so good news is that we have a tendency to attract the same attachment style over and over again, so getting some awareness and knowledge around this is so, so helpful.
When I refer to our core fracture wound, I am referring to the unfinished business that we all bring into relationships. Our core fracture wound is the completion of this sentence: The one thing I wanted the most as a child, but didn’t ever get was _______________________. I have learned in my practice that the blank space is typically filled with the words “to be loved”, “to be seen”, “to be heard”, or “to be safe”. When we are unaware of this need, how on earth can we expect the other person to meet our unsaid need? From what I’ve learned, we tend to accept things that stem from this core fracture wound because it’s how we have always been, and how we know to be in relationships, which leads me to our old brain ways.
Old brain ways are a beast and are very related to our core fracture wound. We are automatically attracted to the positive characteristics of our primary care givers from childhood. I so often hear people say things like, “It feels like I’ve known her forever”, or “He’s just so easy to talk to”. This is an automatic red flag for self. This comfortable feeling is what our old brain knows, but it is not necessarily what we desire because what our new current brain desires is different than what our old brain knows.
Patterns… we all have patterns, and they get us the opposite of what we desire. Over the course of our lifetime, we have created a story in and around our patterns that allow the them to have life. This enabling story justifies and literally breathes life into the pattern. When we are living in a pattern, we often hear ourselves say, “I just don’t understand why I am here again”, or, “Why do I keep dating the same person over and over again?”.
As you can see, there are many contributing factors when it comes to seeing, and not seeing red flags. At the end of the day, it boils down to understanding you. What is your attachment style? This will speak volumes to you once you know what your attachment style is, and the attachment style of those you have dated, or are in a relationship with. What is your core fracture wound? Understanding what this is, and not holding the unspoken expectation that your partner will heal this for you, is success laden. What is the difference between your old brain ways and your new brain desires? Getting a handle on this will help you see why you choose who you choose, and will guide you to start choosing different people altogether. Last but not least, what are your most active patterns in relationships? By identifying these patterns and capturing the enabling story, you will be provided the space to re-write the story and stop living in old ways that don’t serve you. Understanding self will result in seeing red flags more clearly, resulting in less heartbreak and being encapsulated by self-love.