Recently I have been noticing a recurring phenomenon in many clients and patients with regard to their intimate adult relationships. It appears that many of them are attracted to or have even married someone who is remarkably similar to a parent that they had "unfinished business" with.
By that I mean a parent that they had not succeeded in receiving the unconditional acceptance and love that would have helped them develop a stable sense of self-esteem and self-worth and to fully develop their personalities. By not having such a parent these clients and patients felt that they were never good enough and/or that they always needed to achieve more to receive the love that they needed to feel worthy from the inside out.
Having never received that from their parents (or a specific parent) they go into young adult life feeling that something within them is missing. As a result, they are often attracted to people with personalities similar to the witholding parent that they are still seeking unconditional love and acceptance from. The sad truth of this is that their antennae work too well and they indeed connect with someone so like that parent, that instead of gaining what they never received from that parent, they recapitulate the same relationship with the person they marry and continue to feel that they are not good enough.