Some years ago I wrote an article called Why Do People Repeat the Same Dysfunctional Patterns?. The gist of that article was this:
When we grow up in a dysfunctional family, and especially an abusive family, we learn how to survive by creating emotional and behavioral patterns that allow us to adapt to the situations in which we find ourselves in order to survive. The problem is that as adults, these patterns are no longer adaptive, yet persist and play out in our intimate relationships. They prevent us from having the kinds of connections we would like, both to others and to ourselves, and leave us feeling trapped in repetitive poor choices and feelings of self-condemnation.