Finally, after all of the hard work you have done completing your past, here is a way to break your relationship pattern.
Relationship choices are often based on patterns created in our childhood. These patterns are automatic and subliminal. We believe ours is the way relationships ought to be.
There is no problem having a pattern that leads you to loving, satisfying, long-term relationships. However, many people have patterns that cause them nothing but the heartache of unsuccessful relationships.
There is a way out, a way for you to be free of your particular pattern and to be free to make your relationship choices based on what you need and want. The best way is to understand where your relationship pattern comes from. Then you can consciously choose what works for you and what doesn't, what you want to continue and what you want to stop, and how you want your next relationship to be.
Below is a powerful exercise. In doing this exercise, you will discover information about your relationships and yourself. Knowledge of yourself is freedom to choose, freedom to act differently, freedom to have what you want.
Section 1. Instructions: Answer the following question for all of your significant past relationships. Significant means you had or still have strong feelings about the person. Go backwards in your history, starting with the most recent relationship. Write down your answers.What hurtful things did your partner do in your last relationship?What hurtful things did your partner do in the relationship before that?What about the relationship before that?
Section 2. Instructions: Answer the following questions and write down your answers.What hurtful things did your parent of the opposite sex do to his/her partner?What hurtful things did your parent of the same sex do to his/her partner?What hurtful things did your parent of the opposite sex do to you?What hurtful things did your parent of the same sex do to you?
Section 3. Instructions: You will need to refer to your responses from the previous two sections. To make answering the following questions easier, you may want to copy out those responses. Write down your answers.What are the similarities between the hurtful behaviors of your parents and your past partners?Are the behaviors opposite?
Section 4. Instructions: Answer the following questions, writing down your answers.Your parents' relationship with each other and with you is the basis for your relationship pattern. What kinds of pattern were you programmed to have in your intimate relationship?Are you repeating your parents' relationship pattern in your own relationships?Are you reacting to your parents' relationship by doing the opposite of their pattern?
Example: (Names and details changed to preserve privacy)
When my client Sonya did this exercise, she filled out Section 1 by listing all three of her significant relationship partners as unavailable and uninterested. Her most recent partner, Jeff, lives in New York, while she lives in Boston. He was barely making time for her. They were only seeing each other once a month and even then he would find reasons to be away from her. He was very argumentative and would never be the one to say he was sorry.
Her previous partner, Ronald, simply did not want to continue in their relationship. Every time something would go wrong, he would back away a little bit more until there was no longer a relationship. Sonya wrote down that Ronald was unavailable because he was unable to be emotionally close. He was also uninterested -- he did eventually walk away from the relationship. This man was not argumentative, instead avoiding arguments at all cost.
Sonya's very first significant partner, Rob, was the love of her life. They loved each other deeply, but even that did not keep them together or prevent him from doing hurtful things. As the relationship progressed he started to withdraw more and more. Eventually he lost interest in her physically. They tried to work it out, but he would shy away from confrontation and nothing ever got resolved.
Here is Sonya's Section 1:Jeff was unavailable, uninterested and argumentative.Ronald was unavailable and uninterested, and avoided confrontation.Rob was withdrawn, uninterested, and avoided confrontation.
Sonya had to think hard about Section 2. She did not want to blame her parents or make them look bad. But as she thought about their relationship with each other and with her, she began to see some patterns.
She remembered her parents arguing often. Her mother felt the father did not care, did not want her, and did not participate in the relationship or the family. Sonya also remembered that her mother was the one who started these arguments and did the yelling, while her father first listened and then walked away.
Sonya's father did not spend much time with her, but was a good financial support. When her father eventually left, he did not stay in touch. Her mother told her over and over how all men eventually lose interest and leave.
Here is what Sonya wrote for section 2:Father unavailable, uninterested and avoided confrontation.Mother argumentative and blaming.Father not around for me, not wanting me, leaving eventually.Mother told me all men lose interest and leave.
When it came to Section 3, Sonya copied out the responses from the previous sections. She came up with the following list:Jeff was unavailable, uninterested and argumentative.Ronald was unavailable and uninterested, and avoided confrontation.Rob was withdrawn, uninterested, and avoided confrontation.Father unavailable, uninterested and avoided confrontation.Mother argumentative and blaming.Father not around for me, not wanting me, leaving eventually.Mother told me all men lose interest and leave.
In answering the question, "What are the similarities between the hurtful behaviors of your parents and your past partners?" she noticed many similarities. For example, she noticed that all of the men, with whom she has had a significant relationship, ended up treating her the way her father treated both her and her mother. Sonya also noticed with a gasp that all of her relationships have fulfilled her mother's prophecy.
In answering the question, "Are the behaviors opposite?", she noticed that Jeff, her most recent relationship partner, was argumentative. In this way he was the opposite of her father and more like her mother.
Here is Sonya's Section 3:Father unavailable to me and mother; I find men who are not available.Father was uninterested in mother and me; I find men who lose interest in me.Father avoided confrontation; two of the three relationships were with men who avoid confrontation.Father left; I attract men who eventually leave. And mother told me they would.A man who is argumentative is the opposite of my father, but just like my mother.
Finally, Sonya came to Section 4. What kind of a relationship pattern was she programmed for? The answered seemed obvious: exactly the kind of pattern she has been living out, where the men with whom she's in a relationship become unavailable, lose interest and eventually leave. She is programmed to have relationships that are domed to fail because she is with partners who cannot work through the relationship for fear of confrontation.
She had to answer "yes" when asked if she was repeating her parents' relationship pattern in her own relationships. She also had to answer "yes" when asked whether she was doing the opposite of her parents. And she realized that doing the opposite got her the same exact result.
Here is Sonya's Section 4:I was programmed to have a relationship pattern where my partner will become unavailable, losing interest in me and eventually leaving.I am exactly repeating the pattern in my parents' relationship.Sometimes I have done the opposite of my parents' relationship, but got exactly the same result.
If you do the exercise yourself, I'm certain you'll have some great realizations, perhaps even a sense of relief. You will better understand why you attract and are attracted to certain kinds of partners. You will understand your relationship pattern. And in understanding your pattern, you will be able to break it and break free.
Your Relationship Coach,
About The Author
(c) Rinatta Paries, 1998-2002. Do you know how to attract your ideal mate? Do you know how to build a fulfilling relationship, or how to reinvent yours to meet your needs? Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries can teach you the skills and techniques to attract and sustain long-term, healthy partnerships. Visit www.WhatItTakes.com where you'll find quizzes, classes, advice and a free weekly ezine. Become a "true love magnet(tm)!"