Finally, after all of 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 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 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 following question for all of your significant past relationships. Significant means you had or still have strong feelings about person. Go backwards in your history, starting with 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 relationship before that? * What about relationship before that?
Section 2. Instructions: Answer following questions and write down your answers.
* What hurtful things did your parent of opposite sex do to his/her partner? * What hurtful things did your parent of same sex do to his/her partner? * What hurtful things did your parent of opposite sex do to you? * What hurtful things did your parent of same sex do to you?
Section 3. Instructions: You will need to refer to your responses from previous two sections. To make answering following questions easier, you may want to copy out those responses. Write down your answers.
* What are similarities between hurtful behaviors of your parents and your past partners? * Are behaviors opposite?
Section 4. Instructions: Answer following questions, writing down your answers.
* Your parents' relationship with each other and with you is 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 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 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 relationship. This man was not argumentative, instead avoiding arguments at all cost.
Sonya's very first significant partner, Rob, was 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 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.