Relationship Issues

Understanding Patterns Of Unhealthy Relationships

As human beings we are programmed, or hard wired, to be in a relationship. This is most likely a combination of the need for the species to continue to reproduce to survive, as well as our own needs for companionship, love and support from another person. For many people, throughout their lives, relationships have been problematic, unhealthy and unsatisfying. Being able to determine why these patterns of unhealthy relationship repeat is a common goal for counselling and therapy patients.

Dysfunction in the Family

As humans we tend to replicate patterns of behaviour and experiences that we have experienced previously. Even if they are not healthy or what we desire, they are what we know and what, to some extent, we are comfortable with.

When our family of origin is dysfunctional, we tend to carry that dysfunction into our own relationships. For example, if our parents lacked boundaries and parenting skills we probably lived in a chaotic household. Chaos for us is normal and the way that the family unit operates. We may choose relationships with people that lack the ability to commit, lack structure or lack boundaries. If one of our parents had a problem with alcohol or drugs we may, without realising, choose a partner that has the same addiction and attempt to "fix" the problem, only to find out we can't.

In some cases we may do exactly the opposite of our family of origin. We may select a partner that is controlling if we had no control or accept verbal or physical abuse for what we mistakenly see as deserved punishment for breaking the rules.

Relationship Addiction

In some relationship patterns the relationship itself becomes the most important aspect, not the happiness of the couple. People may stay together for fear of being alone, for fear of not being able to find someone else or for fear of what others may say.

In these situations men and women may stay in very abusive and very unhealthy relationships because of their lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. They may believe that the abuse is justified, which is a very dangerous thought and belief.

People that are addicted to a relationship may also become unstable should the relationship actually dissolve. This could include engaging in stalking behaviour or becoming obsessed in reuniting with the partner who just wants it to be over.

The reasons why people fall into repetitive patterns of unhealthy relationships have to be unearthed before changes can happen in the way that they choose their next partner. The good news is that you can uncover these roots causes and make changes with the help of a trained relationship counsellor. Once you are able to see yourself in a different light you can evaluate future relationships and make better choices. In turn, you can have a happy, satisfying and committed relationship with someone that you truly love and who sincerely loves you in return.

Posted by: Philippe Jacquet