I’m sure you’ve heard the term patterns, behaviours, reactions, habits … but do you know that our patterns (yes, we all have them) very often get us the opposite of what we want in life? Our patterns are absolutely debilitating and sabotage us constantly. And we likely don’t have a clue that it’s happening. A good indicator of patterns at large is hearing something like, “Why does this always happens to me?”
We develop patterns over the course of our lifetime. From our childhood straight into adulthood we walk hand in hand with our patterns. If you ever hear yourself saying things like;
why does this keep happening to me?
this is just my luck …
why do I keep dating women who are little cra cra?
why do I keep dating men who can’t commit?
Things don’t just “happen” to us … we create them. No, we did not ask for the car accident or death in the family … but in work, in friendship, in family and in relationship we are designing what that looks like … and all thanks to our patterns. Whether we are aware of our patterns or all of this is sounding like a foreign language … simply being aware that we have patterns is fantastic in and of itself. Figuring out how to re-program those neuropathways/patterns is another blog altogether, but for now let’s get a handle on what our patterns might be.
There are lists upon lists of patterns out there, for simplicity sake, here is a short list of some patterns that I see regularly:
– pattern of abandonment
– align with others to stay safe
– fear of conflict
– flatter authority
– self neglect
– need everything to “be nice”
– smile when hurt or angry
– keep raising the bar
If you have a pattern of abandonment and you are in a relationship with a person who doesn’t call when they say they will, or storms out after a fight without telling you when they’ll be back, or regularly suggests that the relationship isn’t working, this will create an environment that the pattern of abandonment knows very well; it is an environment that is emotionally unsafe because expressing feelings may result in experiencing reciprocal patterns of withholding love, abandonment/walking out, or maybe it looks like the silent treatment … whatever the pattern from the other side is, it’s irrelevant because being stuck in your pattern is yours. It’s your story, it’s your history and it’s yours to sort out.
The pattern of abandonment results in shutting down the heart space, not being real in relationship, stacking little bricks around the heart and always having a pair of running shoes at the front door. It always seems like running away is the answer. That running away will be easier … and for someone who sits in their pattern of abandonment it is very easy to form a convincing argument as to why it is best for the relationship to end. It will hurt, but it will be “right” and it is necessary. And as you can see, this results in the pattern of abandonment getting the opposite of what it truly wants. The want is relationship yet the result is running … alone.
This is the power and irony in patterns. We don’t know that they are such a vibrant part in our lives and yet they have so much say. When you find yourself in a moment where your heart quickens, your tongue is tied, you feel nauseous or you snap, this is a pattern. A learned reaction that is all yours. And if you can identify the pattern, understand where you adopted it, and can apply it to these moments you will free yourself from feelings of resentment, hurt, neglect, etc. in relationship. Yes, this is true and it’s a lot to take in, so let’s break it down.
Reactions happen in the body before we can even begin to process what has happened. The physical body responds before the brain can tie it all together, never mind the process that the heart undertakes in order to catch up. These physical responses are the same over and over again (quickening of heart rate, flush to the cheeks, pit in your stomach) … eventually we can tie this physical reaction directly to the pattern it belongs to. This is inevitable with time and continued awareness.
Understanding that the physical affects and the thoughts that follow are all yours is when things can shift. The way we react and feel is the only thing we have control over. Our history and experience is why we think and feel what we do. If you have a history of abandonment in your life and you are dating someone who’s actions don’t match their words, then you will sit in insecurity constantly. And how can you fall and love and be vulnerable and real when you are constantly sitting in insecurity. It can’t happen. An authentic relationship can not exist. And next comes the break up, the separation, the divorce … and repeat …
For the sake of your heart be courageous and get a hold of your patterns. For the sake of your children stop the patterns that result in untruths and unhappiness. And last but not least, for the sake of your partner’s heart be brave. Take a long hard look in the mirror, pull your socks up, and start seeing things for what they are – yours.