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While this may be true, it is also equally true that those who have alcoholic parents are also more likely to become teetotalers – in other words, people who don’t touch alcohol at all.

Or think about something less emotionally charged than substance dependence…like parenting style.

First, though, to be fair, I think there is a universal tendency for all of us to either repeat the patterns in our families of origin, or, to the degree that we are conscious of them, to actively propel ourselves in the opposite direction.

So, in this way, a history of abuse could elevate the risk of being targeted by someone with the will to dominate.

I have also made the point that during the courtship phase, we test each others' limits in order to develop implicit rules of relationship.

One of the more chilling studies* I have reviewed asked criminals to watch videos of several women walking down the street.

The question put to them was this: “” With striking consistency, they often identified the same individuals as mugging targets.

If we are on the receiving end of this, the way that we respond to these behavioral patterns tells our partners what we will stand for (or not).

And as I hear the stories of both females and males who seem to be dating these kinds of “sharks,” I hear evidence of a plethora of these micro-transactions that to me speak to testing limits and violating subtle boundaries.

Some have theorized that there is an unfortunate tendency to select partners with whom we will re-stage traumas similar to those we have experienced in the past (e.g., the son of a verbally abusive mother will often end up with a verbally abusive wife).

We might do this presumably with the hope of getting a different outcome…perhaps just to pave over the pain or maybe to forge a sense of agency in what resembles a helpless scenario from our past.

b) Or these feelings may be the very common “folie a deux” (madness shared by two) that you are perfectly compatible, which may turn out to be quite off-base and may result in later feelings of disappointment or heartbreak.

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