Your pattern is rooted in unhealed emotional wounds
originating from unresolved past experiences.
Where you are:
You're trying to break away from troublesome and painful past but aren’t sure how to exactly achieve it. You want to unleash your potential, take your projects to fruition and create a future that reflects who you are. You want to feel like you can forge your path without old restrictions or pressures to confirm.
Possibly you have done lot’s of personal growth work yet you still find yourself repeatedly in the same type of situations or relationship patterns. It’s the same person, different movie. It’s tiring and exhausting. You keep bumping up against the same issues over and over again. It seems like your past is on repeat, and you just really want to break the cycle.
If you tend to create the same relationship scenarios, either with friends, co-workers or romantic partners, it’s a sign that you are recreating relationship dynamics from your past. Usually, these dynamics revolve around themes of power, belonging or abandonment.
We acquire limiting beliefs through a family of origin (the family unit you grew up in), early romantic relationships, friendships, or the school environment, and then we play them out for the rest of our lives because we have been conditioned to do so on a very deep subconscious level.
Fortunately, it’s possible to rewrite that old programming. If you get to the underlying cause that set your repetitive pattern in motion, you can change it by implanting your subconscious mind with new, empowering beliefs.
The reasons why:
Your patterns are rooted in one issue: the beliefs you have formed as a result of past experiences.
Maybe you grew up in a strict and controlling environment, and any attempts to think for yourself were squelched. Perhaps you were not allowed to question authority or whenever you did you would face dire consequences. Or possibly you never felt like you belonged, could measure up or you were made to feel ashamed of who you were.
Any of those experiences would create an underlying belief of unworthiness and not-enoughness that would manifest in a variety of ways in your adult life. One example is being attracted to or attracting relationships that mirror your early experiences, which translates into getting involved with people who are rejecting, untrustworthy, or downright oppressive. So yet again you feel abandoned, excluded or ashamed.
For example, you might get involved with an emotionally unavailable person, because a part of you may ‘think’ “If I get him/her to love me and accept me it’s equal to getting love and approval I had never received growing up." Subconsciously you want to repair in the present what had happened in the past. Essentialy you want to “fix” the past, even though this desire might be hidden from your conscious awareness. It’s a faulty premise, and that’s why your efforts tend to backfire.
Or you might jump into friendships with people who are not caring and supportive because you were deprived of love and belonging in the past. And now despite your best intentions, you are willing to get involved with people who are not a good match, hoping it's going to be different this time.
This pattern is not limited to personal relationships only; it’s quite common to work for similar types of bosses or similar kinds of environments, perpetuating the pattern while being unable to break it.
The reason, you keep running into the same kind of situations is because they feel familiar, they feel like home, and ultimately they provide a playground for resolving prior hurts and traumas.
It's important to understand that we get into recurring situations because on some level we want to heal the original experience that created the pattern of repetition.
We are drawn towards people and situations out of a subconscious desire to experience them differently from how we did in the past. Because it's an unconscious process, it makes it oh so much more frustrating. Intellectually you might be very clear as far as what you want and are willing to tolerate, yet the same thing happens to you over and over again.
The good news is, you can absolutely use those recurring situations as an opportunity to learn the lesson, break the pattern, and move on, but you have to do it the right way.
Why You Can’t Outsmart Your Behavior Patterns And What To Do Instead
You may have already come to understand that these beliefs are false, but intellectual understanding is not sufficient for releasing painful patterns.
First, you need to recognize and understand the deep subconscious beliefs drawing you towards you the same type of situations.
Here's an exercise you can try to see how you can extract vital information from your past to heal your present.
- In a journal or on a sheet of paper draw a line dividing it vertically in half into two columns.
- On the left-hand side write on top of the column write “My childhood home was…..” ( you can replace with "My childhood was..."
- Next, on the right-hand side, depending what you want to work on, write “Love is…”
- In the first column titled “My childhood home was…..” list all the words and adjectives that come to your mind. You want to do a stream of consciousness writing, so your analytical mind does not get in the way. Don’t overthink it! (Word examples: loving, controlling, warm, distant, chaotic, peaceful, confining, demanding, welcoming, cold, rejecting, conditional, etc.)
- Now transfer all the words from the first column where you described your childhood home, into the second column and place them underneath the heading “Love is….”
- You should have two columns with a list of words underneath each heading. One column titled “My childhood home was…..” and the second one called "Love is..." Now read all the words in the column titled "Love is..." Those words indicate what you unconsciously associate with love or intimacy.
The point of this exercise is to illustrate your hidden beliefs about love and connection and explain why sometimes unhealthy relationship dynamics feel like home to you. (I borrowed this practice from Teal Swan and loved how illuminating it was.)
Secondly, you need to dismantle your mental model about your self-worth and lovability and learn how to fulfill emotional needs which were not met in the past. This way you'll stop attracting people who reflect your unhealed wounds to you time and time again.
What is needed is communication with the subconscious mind in order to heal the faulty messaging, and replace it with beliefs that are empowering. Beliefs that facilitate growth and healing. The unconscious mind communicates in images and does not respond to words, (which is why no matter how many times you tell yourself “I am good enough” it will do little to change your inner-belief system.
Expressive art and image making is the perfect vehicle for communicating with the subconscious mind because it bypasses our verbal mind and connects directly with the right brain hemisphere.
In the case of repetitive patterns, doing inner child work is extremely helpful as is accessing early memories and using them as a tool for transformation. Image making makes it possible to work with our inner child in a way that communicates with the subconscious mind. It allows us to create parental figures and in turn, connect to them on a visceral level.
Once you engage with your right brain aka subconscious mind, you can embrace the younger parts of yourself and provide them with love, encouragement, and support that was not available in the past.
Also, it’s crucial that you get in touch with uncomfortable emotions you most likely have suppressed. The goal is to process your negative emotions like hurt, loss or sadness and actually to experience them. If you do it, you will release the pent-up energy that was dictating your behavior and acted as an attraction point for dysfunctional relationships and situations. Effectively, you will unblock yourself.
Working with expressive art, metaphor, and symbolism will allow you to express your feelings without getting overpowered by them. And, no you don’t need to be an artist to do it. If you can dream and think in images, you can use art for healing.
Please check out my 5-Day Mini-Course which will introduce you to processing and transforming your emotions using image and metaphor. The course has detailed instructions, guided visualizations and much more. Give it a try; you will be surprised how effective it is.
Click below to access the free 5-Day Mini-Course
You can liberate yourself and move forward if you simultaneously work on resolving your past while staying focused on the future. Looking back and healing old wounds is critical but so is looking to the future with hope and optimism, and of course taking inspired action. If you are willing to make changes on the inside, I promise you; you will see the changes on the outside.