Our resistance to change can make it difficult to make use our freedom and choose a healthier path. 8

from book Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

At this point, you’ve met all of the main characters of the author’s story, except for one. Charlotte was a 25-year-old woman with a drinking problem, and a predilection for getting involved in unhealthy relationships with men of questionable character. She was one of those people who just couldn’t seem to help herself. No matter how many times she swore off drinking or pursuing unhealthy relationships, she always seemed to find herself returning to the bottle or falling for another man who wasn’t good for her.

What leads people like Charlotte to continue doing things they know are bad for them? Well, to stop doing them would mean making some big changes in their lives. For Charlotte, that would entail learning how to socialize without the aid of alcohol, and how to pursue relationships with men who were more emotionally stable than the ones she was accustomed to.
But unfortunately, people tend to have an internal resistance to change. That resistance largely arises from a simple fact: there’s a certain sense of comfort that comes with familiarity, and this can even extend to painful, unhealthy aspects of a person’s life once our habits become well-enough established.
In Charlotte’s case, her propensity toward unhealthy relationships had a long history, stretching all the way back to her early childhood. Her parents fought a lot – cursing and yelling so loudly that the neighbors sometimes complained. Because of this childhood experience, Charlotte came to unconsciously associate love with a sense of anxiety, rather than happiness or tranquility.
As a result, every time another “bad boy” came along in her life, she would fall prey to this unfortunate association, feeling a mysterious sense of attraction toward the man despite her better judgement. Conversely, every time she met a potential boyfriend who was better suited to her, she would feel an equally mysterious lack of chemistry with him because the man’s emotional stability was the opposite of the instability she unconsciously associated with love. As a result, she felt an instinctive coldness toward him.

As Charlotte’s story illustrates, when someone develops a sense of comfortable familiarity with an unhealthy aspect of their lives, it starts acting like a powerful magnetic force – attracting more of the same and repulsing change. We’ll look at how people can overcome this force in the next and final blink.