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Relationships: Don’t Repeat The Past

PostedNovember 28, 2016


Are your relationships a bit of a running joke with your friends?

So, you’ve found Mr Right (again!) and this time it’s going to be different. Unlike your past relationships, you vow not to change just to please him, and that adorable hint of jealousy won’t snowball into full-blown insecurity and dependence …

But, when the same old problems crop up and threaten to bring your new love to his knees, it suddenly dawns on you: You are a relationship repeater!

  1. You always find yourself attracted to partners who don’t meet your emotional needs.
  2. You struggle to find someone who truly “gets” you.
  3. You are attracted to the same characteristics that ultimately make you unhappy in every relationship. Check, check and check?!

Truth is any repeating pattern you see in your relationship is no accident. One of the most common phenomena psychotherapists deal with is a chronic pattern of dysfunctional relationships.

Here’s the thing, we all have an “A” list and a “B” list. Our “A” list is what we want – happy, caring, funny, and supportive. Our “B” list is what we get – moody, critical, unfaithful, or abusive. Why? Well, the “A” list is set up in our conscious mind and the “B” list is lodged in our unconscious mind, which we tap into without even being aware that we do.

Our unconscious mind is usually formed by our childhood experiences. Kids look up to their parents from the very beginning and this is why the kids of abusers often marry abusers. Clinical psychologist Dr Doris Cohen point out that we often repeat dysfunctional relationship patterns because we must “return to the scene of the crime” to bring understanding and love to the part of ourselves that’s still wounded.

The good news is that you CAN change these patterns. You CAN have the kind of relationship that you want and deserve by recognising these patterns, understanding why you have them, and consciously doing the work to change them.

Here’s How:

  • Identify your pattern. Are there certain negative qualities that always seem to show up and drive you crazy? Once you recognize a pattern you have something to work with.
  • Make a list. Have a clear picture of characteristics that you want in a partner. ID your deal breakers, non-negotiables.
  • Take responsibility for your part in the failure of your past relationships. List the negative qualities you embodied during that time, and list the positive qualities you would like to possess moving forward.
  • Be clear about your values. How important is family, do you want to have kids, how do you feel about healthy living? Be vocal about this and pick up on tell-tale hints.
  • Ask family and friends what they think. When you’re in love it’s easy to see your boo as #flawless. Family and friends could be more objective and very often better predictors of relationship outcomes.
  • Listen to your gut. When you spot a red flag, don’t ignore it.

There is no perfect relationship; we are all bound to make mistakes. But we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to move forward and learn from them. Understanding where the pattern comes from, and how it was created, is key to finding ways to break it.

So, have the courage to break old patterns and make new relationships work. Remember, you deserve to be in a happy, supportive relationship.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.