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Repeating Unhealthy Relating Patterns

Old 05-30-2007, 04:00 PM
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Repeating Unhealthy Relating Patterns

Sometimes I get caught in self-destructive behavior patterns or relational patterns that I learned earlier in life and repeated over and over. Although the pattern was not satisfying or growth producing, I repeat this behavior without learning from it.

Ive read that if a woman has a problem with women, its based on a relationship with her mother, and if a man has a problem with men, its based on previous relating problems to thier father. I disagree with this. I personally think for me, it was a relating problem. Not gender specific.

Here is a list of patterns I have had that were not productive and harmful to me in relationships

1. Feel attracted and excited by emotionally unavailable men
2. Experiencing the come and go of new relationships and believing them to be love.
3. Mistaken hurtful behavior from others as creating more attention from them
4. Ive begun to try and win people over with compliant behavior
5. Ive watched my partner become more and more self centered the more and more compliant I become
6. I begin to see thing as painful and feel I 'cant stand it' any longer
7. I tried to leave the painful relationship
8. Mistook change for sadness, lack of worth, and finally despair.
9. I returned to the relationship
10. I Repeated the cycle


I repeated this cycle for years. No, not 30 years, more like 10, with 4 men. Only one of which was an alcoholic, but more interestingly was that I did this with my platonic friends to.

I had a problem relating to others. Not a gender specific thing.

I challenge myself to look at what it is in myself that attracts unsafe people who will play out this cycle with me, bc afterall, if they wont play, I cant repeat the cycle.

While I cant blame others for my mistakes, I do believe that surrounding myself with unsafe people contributed to my issues. As I begin to see my patterns, I can change them, and break unhealthy patterns, while having relationships with healthy people who wont contribute to my craziness!

Thanks to the healthy people here who are good for me.
Anyone see unhealthy patterns in their relating with others?
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:03 PM
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This post is very timely for me. I have been examining my patterns lately, as well. A result of getting back out into the dating world.

I have discovered that I tend to get involved too quickly with men who are not good for me. I believe the reasons behind this are because in my family, men reigned supreme. Women were second-class citizens whose job it was to serve the men. Even though I rejected the concept intellectually, and even rebelled against it, it was programmed into me long before I had enough reasoning capability to dispute it. So, as a result, it seems that I tend to 'take what I can get' in the man department because having any man is better than having none at all.

I didn't really realize how programmed I was until I started dating recently. I found myself rationalizing the good points of a guy I dated a few times and totally minimizing the red flags. It took some real soul searching to honestly admit what I was doing and admit that some sick part of me was still trying to be needed--without regard to WHO it was who was needing me. Or more accurately, needing to be needed by someone who treated me like a second-class citizen.

Thankfully, I was able to recognize this unhealthy behavior before I got involved with someone I shouldn't have.

The flip side is that I was also dating someone who is gentle and kind and an intellectual equal, and I nearly rejected the possibility of continuing to get to know him. I told myself that he 'wasn't my type' 'didn't feel any attraction' etc. I almost blew him off because he wasn't overbearing, controlling, and disrespectful. I learned that I still have a ways to go in recovery. I'm very pleased that I was able to recognize my unhealthy behavior, though, and move to correct it.

And I'm still seeing the guy who I thought wasn't my type and we are becoming close friends. And who knows where it might go..........

L
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:18 PM
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thanks for this post. i know this is an area i have a lot of soul searching to do in. not there yet - still struggling just to maintain no contact.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by elizabeth1979 View Post
I had a problem relating to others. Not a gender specific thing....

Anyone see unhealthy patterns in their relating with others?
YES.

OMG, Elizabeth, you're so on the money with this one.

This is such a big issue for me...I don't even know where to start. Literally.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:54 PM
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Wow, I'm pretty impressed with the list you have come up with! I definitely agree that understanding why we do the things we do is paramount in changing them, yet I haven't been able to draw the parallels in my relationships thus far. I am so anxious to do so too! I go to Starbuck's or the park with my journal with intention to think, but I can't come up with it yet. I keep trying to be patient with myself because with other things that I needed to examine more closely, they eventually surfaced when the time was right. I get so inpatient with this self-examination stuff!!

It sounds like you are doing a great job of looking at yourself.

Originally Posted by LTD
Even though I rejected the concept intellectually, and even rebelled against it, it was programmed into me long before I had enough reasoning capability to dispute it.
Although my situation is different from yours, this is the same concept that I keep bringing up....logic versus emotion. My logical side knows so much better, but we are such emotional creatures that it becomes problematic if we can't understand our choices.

I too have been very casually dating a guy who is polite, very smart, somewhat attractive, and very sweet. I just keep putting him off though, and it is making me crazy! I want to understand what I'm up to ASAP (there's that inpatient thing again). He calls me and wants to see me every day. I can't figure out if he is too much or if I'm blowing him off too much.

This really is an ongoing challenge.

Last edited by TexasGirl; 05-30-2007 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
I didn't really realize how programmed I was until I started dating recently. I found myself rationalizing the good points of a guy I dated a few times and totally minimizing the red flags. It took some real soul searching to honestly admit what I was doing and admit that some sick part of me was still trying to be needed--without regard to WHO it was who was needing me. Or more accurately, needing to be needed by someone who treated me like a second-class citizen.

The flip side is that I was also dating someone who is gentle and kind and an intellectual equal, and I nearly rejected the possibility of continuing to get to know him. I told myself that he 'wasn't my type' 'didn't feel any attraction' etc. I almost blew him off because he wasn't overbearing, controlling, and disrespectful. I learned that I still have a ways to go in recovery. I'm very pleased that I was able to recognize my unhealthy behavior, though, and move to correct it.
This is me to a tee!
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by TexasGirl View Post
I too have been very casually dating a guy who is polite, very smart, somewhat attractive, and very sweet. I just keep putting him off though, and it is making me crazy! I want to understand what I'm up to ASAP (there's that inpatient thing again). He calls me and wants to see me every day. I can't figure out if he is too much or if I'm blowing him off too much.
TG, you might want to consider that the healthy part of you knows someone who wants to see you every day may not be what you need or want right now. I'm learning to not over-think everything and go back and forth on whether I'm doing the "right" thing. I'm learning to trust my instinct.

((()))
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:21 AM
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Denny has a good point, TG. I don't think I could handle someone who wanted to see me every day. That's just too much. There's still the matter of trusting myself enough to keep my life about me and not about someone else.

L
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:57 AM
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My relating problems started early. I didnt seem to make friends very well when I was young, for reasons Ive identified in some of my character. Those characteristics are now things Im most proud of, in myself, but I knew I wasnt 'like everyone else'.

Add that the fact that I was little mommy at home and had little interaction socially with peers (in comparison to what I think is a healthy amount), I never learned how to relate to peers. I learned to relate to adults when I was a child. This bred this sense of superiority/mother henning in me which by time I was a teen, made me not even want to socialize bc I thought my peers were childish and wasnt even sure people would like me anyway. Next logical step was to find someone to reign my superiority over...if I control and am superior to this partner, they wont control me and be superior to me type thinking.
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:58 AM
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Boy does this thread hit home for me today....

I met and fell in love with the most amazing man.... and want that relationship so much it hurts today.... but this man can only give me 90% of himself and I have been accepting it.

Its is very hard to correct the behavior and let go and let God..... it is also hard to see my wrongs and correct them... Im just not that good at it as yet, but then again ... Progress not perfection right?
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:11 PM
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The first time I went out on a date with my ah twelve years ago I went home and told my flatmates that he was the most selfish guy I had ever met - didn't ask me one question about myself the whole day. And guess what I married him - he was so attractive, exciting and popular and I was so insecure and codie that I felt so chuffed he picked me.
Around that time I had been on a few dates with a less attractive but far more senstive and balanced guy - who I too said the chemistry wasn't there - I thought my friends would think he wasn't the normal tall gorgeos type I went for. I was so codie that I thought having a more attractive boyfriend made me more popular and attractive too....
How many times in my long, painful marriage to ah have I wished I had instead married "unattractive and less exciting" Joe.
I have realised that I too have always gone for emotionally unavailable, destructive guys - a counsellor told me I'm always trying to get the love I didn't from my same type father!
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