This Is Why You Keep Attracting Crazy People, And How To Stop The Vicious Cycle

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"WHY DO I KEEP ATTRACTING these jobless, wild, drug-addicted people!?" I shouted into my cellphone to my best friend, Ruba, on a cross-continental call to London.

I was on the way to work, stomping away in my worn platform boots, feeling really angry and pissed off at this unfair world.

Even the birds flying around the Metropolitan Museum of Art looked sad and sickly. I was in one of those moods where even beautiful things look depressing and dark.

"I don't know, it's weird!" she shouted back. I could hear her blowing cigarette smoke through the phone. Puff. Puff. Puff.

"Do you know why this keeps happening to me?!" I was really riled up now. I wanted answers, damn it! Not just silence and smoke.

"I don't know, Z. We'll talk about it later. I'm going to meet Cat at the pub. Love you!" Puff. Click. The phone went dead.

I stormed through the brutal winter weather with my heavy head facing toward the cement. The sun was too bright to look up.

I was really upset because I had just met a girl I really, really liked. She had piercing, teal eyes, jet-black hair and a wicked sense of humor. We were 30 minutes into an incredible, mind-blowing date when suddenly, the conversation took a bizarrely dark turn.

"So, I know this is weird, but, like, I'm teaching this bondage extreme class on Sunday. Would you want to be the model for my demo? I would just have to tie you up in front of about 200 hundred people. I know it's a lot to ask, but you're so sweet and you're so open, I figured it was worth a shot."

Look, babes, it's no secret I'm a little on the kinky end of the spectrum. I write about sex. I talk about sex. I have lots of sex.

But I'm a fucking lady, too. And I don't know what had given this girl the impression, as I sat across the table from her in a chic midtown eatery, clad in a civilized, red cherry dress and hair flower, that I was some sort of bondage freak.

 

I mean, can't we at least sleep together before you ask me to be your model in a bondage class?

Call me old-fashioned, but can you at least pay for the first god damn drink before propositioning a sweet, Upper East Side lesbian to perform bondage in front of an audience?!

I'm a union actress, for crying out loud. Isn't this against SAG/Equity rules?

I clutched my imaginary pearls and looked at her blankly. All those years of living in Connecticut had taught me to go cold and vacant when uncomfortable.

I mean, can't we at least sleep together before you ask me to be your model in a bondage class?

"OK, judging by your reaction, you're not into it. Maybe I can change your mind!" She slugged back the rest of her gin and tonic (which I had thought was a promising cocktail choice, usually a G & T girl is nothing but a class act).

She laughed like a maniac, and her eyes got really wide. Sort of like Joan Crawford's character in "Mommy Dearest".

My mother always told me there is something inherently wrong with people who have the kind of eyes where you can see the whites all the way around the iris. A cold shiver went up my spine.

"So, I should probably tell you this now. Since I really like you and see a potential future with you..."

Potential future? I know lesbians are notorious for moving fast, but this bitch could see a potential future with me before the appetizer came out?

I nodded, suddenly craving a cigarette with a violent desire I didn't even know I had.

"So, I'm drinking, but I shouldn't be. In fact, I've been addicted to heroin on and off for about three years now. I just left rehab two days ago. The doc says it's too early to date, but there was just something about you when I met you yesterday. I was magnetically drawn to you."

Look, kittens. I'm not shaming honest people or former drug addicts. I have a self-proclaimed honesty disorder myself, and I have taken a swim in the drug pond, too.

But I don't casually bring up my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or history of being numbed out on antidepressants until we've at LEAST slept together.

But here is the real shit that was going on in my mind: I was starting to notice a pattern in the people I had been attracting.

They were all crazy.

I'm not talking about cute, quirky, wild, I-drink-a-little-too-much-and-speak-my-mind, crazy. I'm talking about can-you-pick-me-up-from-rehab-I've-been-committed-five-times-and-was-arrested-for-stalking-my-ex-girlfriend, crazy.

I was fed up. I was finally in a place in my life in which I deeply desired something real, you know?

Someone that I could bounce ideas off of, not someone I was terrified to introduce to my family because God knows what stunt they would pull.

I was over that life. In my youth, maybe I mistook all of that for creativity, but I was starting to see that being an unpredictable head case was closer to narcissism than it was to art.

I was starting to see that being an unpredictable head case was closer to narcissism than it was to art.

Finally, I did what I always do when I'm searching for answers, having a massive life crisis and just generally ready to close the shades on my life and become a total recluse: I called a shrink.

In fact, I Googled her at work, snuck into the single stall bathroom and booked an appointment for later that afternoon. When I'm lost, I'm at my most proactive.

Several hours later, I found myself on a buttery leather couch in a room that wreaked of incense. Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" had been playing in the waiting room, which I actually found inspiring and comforting (which really speaks directly to my vulnerability in that moment).

"So, what brings you here, Zara," Dr. Slicked-Backed Ponytail asked me, looking at me with big, green, kind eyes.

"I keep attracting people who are mentally unstable, on drugs or unemployed. I want to break the cycle," I said, staring right at a framed picture of her, an attractive man and an even more attractive dog on her desk.

Cute dog, handsome man, her own therapy practice. This woman was clearly killing it in life. I was all ears as she broke it down for me.

"Well, maybe you need to look at your own behavior. After all, aren't we direct reflections of who we date?"

I let her words hang in the air with the Nag Champa incense. And together, me and Dr. Slicked-Back Ponytail dissected my patterns for the next 55 minutes.

I realized it wasn't this magical, mystical force that was pulling these crazy, unhinged people into my life. It wasn't just wild coincidence.

It was me. It was my energy.

I was attracting these people because I was so incomplete in myself and was avoiding so many ghosts from my past, that I was subconsciously searching for someone to save.

If I could invest all of my energy into helping them, then I would never have to look in the mirror and confront my own demons.

Plus, I had just the right amount of crazy in me that these people knew I wouldn't judge them.

But I also had just the right amount of stability that attracted these loose cannons. They knew I was strong enough to lean on, but wild enough to join the party. They knew I wasn't a fully realized person — I was emitting that empty energy into the atmosphere.

I learned a valuable life lesson on that shrink's couch: We attract types not by chance, but by our actions.

We attract types not by chance, but by our actions.

If we're not complete, we're going to attract really problematic people to fill the empty voids in our life.

If we're wildly jealous, we're going to attract the biggest flirt in the world so we can be the one to change them.

If we're avoiding dealing with our issues, we're going to date the person with the MOST issues so we can work through our own issues vicariously through them.

And if (like in my case) we keep attracting unpredictable people, it's because we're used to chaos and have mistaken chaos with love and passion. When really, it's anything but.

Real love is safe. Love is a give and take. I was giving, giving, giving, and attracting people who took, took, took.

Love is a give and take. I was giving, giving, giving, and attracting people who took, took, took.

When I got to a healthier place in my life — when I finally confronted all the shit I had been avoiding — I started attracting other healthy people.

See, healthy people aren't drawn to people they need to rescue. They aren't going to want to date you to work through some childhood issue, or because they're afraid to be alone or they need someone to pay the bills.

They're fine on their own, so they're going to date you because they authentically love you. There is no agenda.

And they tend to love other healthy, fully-realized people.

It's then that you can finally have a relationship that's built on the foundation of love and stability, not codependence.

When you're healthy, you will be able to break free from this vicious cycle that's keeping you twirling around and around, but never letting your feet stabilize into the earth.

And, trust me, being grounded and rooted into the solid ground of real love beats the dizzying merry go 'round of unpredictability any day of the week.