Breaking Relationship Patterns

Autumn in my garden

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change” Tony Robbins

We were born for relationship and although not all relationships are good for us, we can always learn from them. Our primary relationships, in childhood, form the template for how we see ourselves, others and the world. We choose adult relationships out of what we know.

How we were treated and the conclusions we came to because of it create the foundations of our self-esteem and we view life through this lens into adulthood. If you were fortunate to grow up in a family where your feelings and opinions were allowed and taken seriously, where you were nurtured lovingly, where your needs were met most of the time, you would probably grow up feeling secure, believe you were valuable, important and lovable. It was OK and safe to be you.

Conversely, if you grew up with parents/care-givers who were neglectful, absent (either physically or emotionally), abused substances, or were physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally abusive, you will naturally grow up to believe the world isn’t a safe place and people can’t be trusted. You are likely to believe that you don’t matter and perhaps think that what happened to you was your fault. Sub-consciously you may believe that you are unlovable. Lies, all lies!! The sad thing is, we choose adult relationships out of this cauldron of lies to match those conclusions, thus perpetuating and reinforcing them.

Growing up my parents had their own demons – alcoholism, mental health issues and trauma carried through from their own childhoods. Plus, they worked flat out to provide for us 6 kids. There was not enough time and attention to go around. I grew up not feeling loved which drove me into the arms of many unsuitable lovers. Out of my awareness my choices perpetuated what I sub-consciously believed.

Stopping this harmful cycle has taken years of therapy and self-help work. Have I achieved it fully? Probably not. I sometimes still attract emotionally unavailable men but recognise this much quicker now. In the past I have stayed in relationships waaaay past their expiry date too….BUT, I’ve come a long way. I’ve learnt to value myself and give myself permission to have my needs. I don’t have to ‘settle’. I value myself enough to leave a relationship earlier or better still, not get into it at all when I spot the red flags!

So how do we break-out of the old patterns that have been imprinted in our brains? There are many things we can do and self-awareness is No. 1. You can’t change anything if you’re not aware of it. Without self-awareness you just keep repeating the same old patterns over and over and hurting yourself (and often others) in the process. Who wants that? Not me, that’s for sure! I love the poem by Portia Nelson, “There is a Hole in My Sidewalk”, where she talks of the process of making different choices. Sometimes we have to fall into a lot of holes before we realise that we can choose another route…that there is another way. Breaking Relationship Patterns

Journaling is a great way to expand your self-awareness and connect with your true, unedited self. I’ve had the morning ritual of journaling for many years. Unravelling your thoughts and feelings safely this way can unearth major insights and break-throughs.

Self-awareness and healing are on-going and I don’t think you can ever say you’ve ‘arrived’ (sorry folks). I know I’ll be learning until I die!

You can heal from your past relationships, no matter how traumatic, abusive or neglectful they were (neglect IS abuse by the way and has the same impacts on our brains as abuse and therefore requires the same ‘treatment’).

You can heal from the early childhood relationships that formed your developing brain and learn the truth about yourself (disempower the lies buried in your sub-conscious because of what you experienced).

Thankfully, neuroscience shows that we can re-wire our brains, given the right conditions, and do differently, we don’t have to stay stuck repeating old patterns that are harmful or dissatisfying.

Learning to love and value yourself is a major player in healing from emotional trauma and past relationship wounds. I’ll talk more about that next week and share more steps and tools in future posts.

There is hope.

To be continued.

(c) Karen Lighthouse 2022

Thanks for reading and take care until next time.

Comments and questions are welcome.

Words by Karen Lighthouse.

I also offer –

  • One-on-one counselling/coaching via Zoom
  • Group facilitation
  • Mental health education
  • Oracle card readings

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6 thoughts on “Breaking Relationship Patterns

  1. I definitely have trauma from my past that I need to work on and some that I have been working on. Breaking patterns is not an easy task but it’s so necessary in order to heal ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was an expert in choosing the wrong partners for me, too. I’m happier as a single person now, but I know if I’d valued myself more I would have either chosen different partners, or the ones I did choose would have behave differently because I behaved differently.

    Liked by 1 person

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