Relationship with a soulmate:
Strong pull towards each other - can be instant or develop over time
Connected based on the positive aspects of yourselves such as shared values and interests
Whilst all relationships have up and downs and bring up triggers, the dynamic of the connection generally feels calm, wholesome and peaceful
Relationship is healing e.g. when we share an insecurity our partner eases our fears and our true self is celebrated
Relationship with a wound-mate:
Strong pull towards each other - often instant or sudden
Connected based on trauma - similar childhoods or resembles unhealthy child-caregiver dynamics one or both of you experienced
Intense and chaotic. A roller coaster of ‘really good’ and ‘really bad’
You feel more insecure in the relationship than before you were in it, can’t share your fears, walking on eggshells, wearing mask to please them,
Most of us will go through at least one (or many!) woundmate relationships in our lives, especially if our childhood didn't provide a safe, loving environment with emotionally available caregivers who were able to meet our needs most of the time. (Some people also use the term 'karmic partner' to describe this kind of dynamic - someone we have 'heavy karma' with, where we learn what not to do in relationships through painful lessons).
Research has shown we are often attracted to people who possess the negative traits of our opposite sex parent (in heterosexual relationships). Subconsciously we attempt to heal our childhood wounds by bonding with a person who resembles the parent.
For example if our father ignored us often, we may find ourselves chasing men who are aloof and emotionally unavailable. If our mother had poor boundaries and offloaded her negative emotions onto us often we may find ourselves attracted to women who communicate their emotions in unhealthy ways. We hope on some level that this time things can go differently, that we can rewrite the story and finally feel loveable, respected etc...
Usually we end up in these connections when we have low self esteem and think we have something to prove to ourselves (to try to earn love, when really we are unconditionally worthy already). Deep down we are looking for the ideal love from the ideal parent we never had, as a replacement for lacking our own love for ourselves. Yet as long as we look for a mirror image of our caregiver or project our fears/ fantasies onto our partners, we will keep attracting woundmates... a person who feels so, so close to being right for us and yet at the same time, so far away. Someone we feel we have to have our guard up with or betray ourselves by ignoring our own needs/ feelings in order to stay connected with, who reactivates the old wounds that little you felt such as fear of abandonment, shame, feeling invaded upon etc...
In order to stop attracting woundmates, we get to re-examine our past and shift perspective, realising that we went through painful experiences because of our caregivers' inabilities to show up with high emotional intelligence - it was not because there was something wrong with us. We don't need to be different than who we truly are to deserve love. This becomes our new foundational belief - it's okay to be authentic and follow our heart! We are worthy to honour our feelings and desires, we deserve to have others hear our requests and respect our boundaries etc.
Seeing ourselves as equal, we get to learn what a healthy relationship looks like and integrate those perspectives and take those self compassionate actions.
If you are in a woundmate relationship, it is possible in some cases for things to improve only if both parties are committed to their inner child healing and learning new relationship skills. Otherwise, taking the brave decision to leave is likely the wise choice. There is someone out there who will treat you with the love you deserve ♥