7 Steps to breaking destructive relationship patterns

We all have a way of 'doing' and 'being' in all our relationships. We have a certain understanding of the world and we have our own unique ways of conducting ourselves in a way that works for us.Much of this can be idiosyncratic and it makes us who we are.  When we find somebody who loves us for our unique ways of being it is a wonderful feeling to just be accepted, understood and loved for who we are.I think it's also fair to say that we all have some habits and patterns that show up in our relationships that may not be particularly helpful - and sometimes it can actually be potentially hurtful. To ourselves as well others.  And nowhere does it show up more than in our closest and most intimate relationships.Maybe we have a certain way of responding to certain triggers in our relationship that causes conflict and misunderstanding. A lot of this is subconsciously engrained and we carry this from childhood, but also from later experiences in life where we've learnt what type of behaviour or response gets us what we want.Apart from having our individual habits, patterns and 'ways of being', we also settle into these as a couple.  You may find that you argue about the same things in the same way, over and over. It becomes a fairly predictable pattern that can cause hurt, resentment building up and in the end a level of conflict that may or may not be resolved.  Now we get into the territory of destructive relationship patterns.We all have deeply ingrained relationship patterns that we often subconsciously slip into, and these can be destructive. Most dangerous is when we ignore ourselves. We lose our voice in the relationship, become unable to communicate our own needs, and we end up miserable, unhappy, and feeling stuck.

7 Steps to breaking destructive relationship patterns

  1. Be aware and acknowledge your own patterns and habits. Be willing to accept that you may have habits and patterns that are not helpful to your relationship.
  2. Understand what the real need is you have behind a pattern or a habit.
  3. Communicate and clearly articulate what you actually need.
  4. Find concrete and practical ways to step out of the pattern or habit and replace it with a new way of behaviour.
  5. Don't give up if you find yourself reverting to old habits - just be gentle with yourself and keep practicing. You will reap the benefits soon enough.
  6. If you find that you are still struggling, get the help you need to take the next step.
  7. If your partner is not keen, start working on yourself in any case. You can make a difference.

You deserve a happy, healthy and successful relationship. And when we do the work we need to, I believe this is possible for every single one of us.  Above all, choose the right person for you from the start: somebody who accepts, loves and respects you for who you are - not for who they think you should be.

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