We all have that one friend that swears they are unlucky at love.
Maybe you know someone who always seems to make the same relationship mistakes, attracting the wrong partner: the one who can’t commit, the one who won’t be faithful, or the one who is already taken.
And you may have repeating patterns in your own relationships that keep you wondering, “Why does this always happen to me?”
My client, Ben, grew up in a household with a mother that was controlling. She was always angry about something and it was always someone else’s fault, so it was often his father, that was on the receiving end of that anger.
Sometimes she was quiet and somber, but you could tell she was just waiting to say something or criticize someone, so everyone kept their distance. Other times, her statements were direct and specific, aimed at someone in particular.
Ben married young.
And he married a woman who was controlling. He was used hearing a woman complain about what he did not do, what he did incorrectly, and how it was his fault or his father’s fault, or his sibling. He thought it was normal in a woman. He thought all women decided how and when things would or would not be done in the home. Unfortunately, he was also used to hiding when necessary, not speaking up for himself, not saying what he wanted or thought or felt, and making himself as small and agreeable as possible. Whatever his mother wanted, he agreed to do. He did not like conflict.
Ben and his wife had children together. He stayed for 19 years. Until he couldn’t anymore.
But just because he left that relationship doesn’t mean the repetitive pain of his relationship mistakes ended.
The first woman he became involved with after his marriage ended was manipulative and emotionally abusive.
The next was just generally unhappy; but he saw who she could be and he mistakenly thought that if he loved her enough, gave her what she wanted, she would eventually become happier. But she never did. Not with him. Not with her life. Not with anything.
Ben knew there was a pattern of hurt in his life, but he couldn’t connect the dots.
Here are the steps we took together to free him from the patterns:
1.Taking Personal Responsibility.
Since the ONLY thing you have any control over are your own choices, actions and behaviors, he had to start there. He had to see what his role was in the creation of his painful experiences in love. And at the very moment he accepted responsibility and could see the truth of his role, everything changed going forward.
If we allow ourselves, we can stay stuck in the painful story. The problem is that there’s no freedom there; it keeps us stuck in our stories. And if we believe that these experiences are happening TO us, rather than THROUGH us, it places us in the role of the victim and makes us powerless.
Be brave enough to look for what your responsibility has been in creating your own experiences; that’s where all the freedom lies.
Once you can see your role in and take responsibility for the ongoing, painful relationship mistakes, you have to be willing to change what you’ve been doing in your past in order to create an experience that feels dramatically different for your future.
You know the saying, Nothing changes until you do? You’ve heard that phrase because it’s true.
You cannot keep your painful story about being unlucky at love and attract the loving, lasting relationship you desire.
You cannot doubt that love can happen for you and at the same time, feel hopeful.
You cannot keep the drama, anger and pain and have peace.
When Ben first started working with me, he would tell me about all the hateful and hurtful things the people he loved would say to him or do to him. He would tell me about how his friend told him maybe he deserved some of this pain he was experiencing since he was the one that left the marriage.
Through our work together, Ben’s favorite three words become, good to know.
Instead of trying to get everyone to change their actions and behaviors, he took those actions and behaviors at face value. Instead of seeing people the way they could be or should be, he began to see them as they were. And rather than continuing to carry the hurt from other people’s actions, he began to set healthy boundaries for himself, state his needs, and walk away from relationships that brought more pain than joy.
Other people’s actions and behaviors were just information; and it was all good to know.
If I asked you, “Do you know what you want in a relationship?,” you might be able to give me some superficial details, but what you would likely tell me about is what you don’t want and why you don’t want it.
It’s so easy to know what we don’t want, typically because we experienced it and it didn’t feel good.
But if we stop there, we don’t allow the opportunity for what it is we DO want to come into our experience. It’s like if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get to your desired destination.
And everything we want is because of how we think we will feel once we have it.
If you just pay attention to how you want to feel and keep walking towards everything that feels that gives you that feeling, you won’t allow yourself to walk too far down the path with someone that doesn’t give you that desired feeling.
You have needs. I know you’ve been taught that you shouldn’t have needs or that those needs should be a lesser priority than everyone else’s needs, but that’s not true.
You are the only one that can know what you need in any given moment and if you don’t honor those needs, no one else is going to do it for you…because they can’t.
We are always more comfortable when we know the rules; so make everyone around you more comfortable by knowing what you need personally and expressing that. Set the rules of what feels good for you.
We teach people how to treat us, based upon how we treat ourselves. If you don’t think your needs are important, why would anyone else?
The Path Through
Walking through these steps – not from a place of finding another reason to beat himself up – but from a place of total acceptance and compassion for who he was and what he didn’t know at the time, he healed all the wounds and interrupted the painful relationship mistakes and ongoing patterns in his life.
It’s not a dream.
And it’s not just for some; healthy, loving relationships are available to you too.
There is a path through the painful patterns of our relationships so that you can create the kind of connected, intimate relationships you desire and deserve.
You can go-it-alone or you can get through it quicker with me. I’m here if you’re ready.