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5 Ways to End Destructive Relationship Patterns Once and For All

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5 Ways to End Destructive Relationship Patterns Once and For All

As social creatures, we are hardwired to connect with others. We thrive on creating and maintaining sustainable relationships.

Thus, when one has to come to an end, for many, it’s like the end of something much grander than just a relationship. It’s the end of a dream, of a promise, and of hope. Even if the relationship has become destructive and unhealthy, people still find it hard to let go. People read the writing on the wall, yet continue to stay long past its expiration date. And no doubt if it wasn’t you, you know of someone who fits that bill, right? So many of us can say, ‘been there, done that.’ And often what’s hiding in plain sight isn’t always available to the naked eye and, even when it is, many have a hard time admitting that the relationship far exceeded its expiration date.

Despite what it might look like on the outside, deep down people really do want to stop engaging in unhealthy relationship patterns, they just don’t know how. Unsure on how to take the first steps to healing and ultimately making healthier relationship choices moving forward they repeat patterns.

Yet, there are ways to move through the relationship patterns you have created for yourself into something better that holds promise for your future that you will not repeat bad habits and put an end to destructive relationship patterns – once and for all.

1. Own it. 

Deciding to end a relationship is no easy feat, but once you decide, own it. This is the first step. It’s very empowering. The inner angst we all experience comes from being stuck on the fence and unsure. However, being decisive and saying – ‘ok this is time that I have had enough. I really want to change. I want my life to be different.’ This is the moment when things will really begin to change and you will embark down a different path. And remember, YOU are your biggest fan. Own your decision. Show up everyday. Remind yourself why you need to end this unhealthy relationship. Write those reasons down to help you when it feels like you cannot remember. Go back to the ‘yuk’ feeling you had in the past when you were in the unhealthy relationship. Remember how wrong that – and previous unhealthy relationships – felt and help you stay with your decision. Need a little help? Sure you do – we all do! Reach out and get a support team on your side. There will be layers to this – depending on how you are struggling and with what, how you feel will dictate who you reach out to.

2. Have a plan. 

When you decide to end your relationship, what is your plan? ‘Winging it’ seldom ever works, especially because ending a relationship can be such a long and painful struggle. Know your limitations. Put a schedule in your schedule. Allow for downtime to grieve the loss of your relationship. Think about what you want your future to look like once you have worked through – and while you are going through – your struggles. The Miracle Question is great for this! ( I will add link)

3. Connect the dots. 

We all have a narrative, and that narrative tells a tale. Where did we start? What was our upbringing like? What have our past relationships looked like? Any common themes? Are you repeating patterns? Are you going down the same relationship path? Perhaps this is becoming a regular thing you’re noticing with your own relationships – maybe it’s time that you revisit how you approach them, or who you focus your attention on, or potentially even re-evaluate how your narrative is affecting your life with others. Be prepared to dive deep and explore. Insight and learning to take the time to connect the dots really helps. It certainly helped me! When I decided to truly examine my relationship history, I saw patterns that were – yep! you guessed it! Hiding in plain sight. 

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4. Take stock.

Look at your contribution to the demise of the relationship. Yes, I know that might be a hard one to follow, but most of us, at one time one another, have found ourselves wandering into, and spending way too much time in, an unhealthy relationship. Why is that? What is our contribution? What cycles are we repeating? Why are we afraid to let go? What are we doing that contribute to the unhealthy relationship? A relationship is between two, not one. We do contribute something – and not necessarily in an equal amount. But, in order to heal, we must examine our contribution. And then, demand more – from yourself. Look at your triggers and how they effect your decisions.  

5. Be kind to yourself. 

Showing self-compassion needs to be at the top of your list as you back yourself out of the relationship. I often say, ‘above all else, be kind to yourself.’ Showing self-compassion towards yourself demonstrates that we are all human and that you can still learn from the relationship and not to judge yourself so hard, regardless of whether or not it was unhealthy. Choosing this person doesn’t mean you are a bad person. Many people have experienced the same. Remember how compassionate you are when helping a friend? Do the same for yourself. Treat yourself as you would a friend. And keep in mind that our choices we made in the past were based on having certain information and insight. As we grow and change its easy to go back to that time and choice and think with the information and insight we have now – only it doesn’t work that way. Once we become more aware of the profound effects of our relationship choices have in our life, we are often quick to be judgmental towards self and equally self-critical. Don’t go there. It’s more hurtful than helpful. 

Deciding to end an unhealthy and destructive relationship says a lot about who you are and more importantly who you are not. Don’t forget about that. It takes courage and strength to make that decision, create a new path, set healthy boundaries, and demand more from yourself. After all, you are worth it. 

Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living”

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