One of the most important issues in helping couples heal and repair from relationship conflict is to help our clients identify relationship patterns. These relational patterns are a consequence and reflect the underlying effect of partners’ attachment style as it coexists with the other. The attachment style determines how they able to engage in a relationship and how we are able to maintain emotional and psychological intimacy with each other. Our style of attachment is derived from the early experiences of our parent’s and significant others style of attachment towards us.
Our early experiences with our caregivers are profound in that they engender secure and healthy sense of attachments where you feel a deep sense of safety security and nurturance where there is a deep sense of safety and loving engagement. Unfortunately no parental relationships are perfectly nurturing, engaging and secure with their child or children. One’s experience of attachment can be fraught with inconsistency and an uncertainty as for example a parent is unable to provide attention or love because of a substance dependence problem.
Early trauma, particularly the loss of a parent either through death or through divorce can also lead to a disturbed attachment. Perhaps most destructive to our later relationship attachment is a child’s experience of physical or sexual abuse or assault. These early experiences can lead to a severely anxious, avoidant, or ambivalent attachment style that deeply effects the adult’s ability to feel safe in a relationship and can affect the current relationship.
Relational patterns are repetitive unconscious behaviors that we learn in order to help keep us safe from the consequences of early experiences that created disturbed or destructive attachments. We find it imperative to help our clients identify, understand and resolve these deeply held patterns in order to have to have good relationships. Here are ten patterns that have been identified that continue to show up in relationships. I’m sure there are more; however, these seem to be the most common.
1. Since you established your first relationship with your parent you tend to recreate their personalities as closely as possible in you other relationships.
2. Since you established your first relationship with your parent, you tend to recreate their personalities as closely as possible in your other relationships.
3. You will tend to recreate the kind of relationship you had with your parents in your other relationships
4. You will tend to copy the relationships your parents had with each other.
5. Since most of us are used to a heavy dose of parental disapproval, we will tend to create upsetting that will make our partner disapprove of us.
6. You will tend to get even with your parents by using your mate or another. If your mate won’t allow this you might use your children.
7. Most people subconsciously want to remain helpless children all of their lives. A conflict will occur when each wants to be a child and each want the other to be his or her mother or parent.
8. Since most people are used to the struggle they had with their parents, having a totally successful, easy, smooth relationship is often too unfamiliar to tolerate, and too threatening.
9. Because of self-hate and guilt there is the tendency to “beat yourself up” by using one of the following: Your body/your sex life/your career/your mate/your finances/your car.
10. You will attract someone who fits your patterns. That is, if you have a pattern that says: “Men/women leave me,” you will tend to attract a relationship who has a pattern of leaving.
You will find much greater contentment if you become aware of your patterns. Then, instead of attracting someone who fits your patterns, you can attract someone in harmony.
Training for Loving Relationships
Any situation or experience that has left a problem unresolved will keep coming up in our relationship to be healed. We recreate and attract interactions and relationships in order to heal unresolved problems from the past.
Low self-esteem is the kiss of death for a successful relationship.
Disempowered: If you know what I was really like, you would reject me. Since you have not, then either I’ve tricked you or you’re not such a great catch.
Empowered: I now manifest the relationships I want or something better. Commitment and freedom are complimentary.
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