Identify your needs
Being aware of your needs in a relationship and knowing that they are legitimate will help you recognize when they are not being met. For example, if your father chose to air grievances at the family dinner table, he may have had an unmet need for your mother’s validation and respect. If you grew up with dinnertime being full of stress and gripes, you may find yourself anxious at meals, nit-picking everyone’s manners. Awareness will help you quickly recognize when and if you are slipping into your old familiar pattern of not expressing your needs, for pleasant conversation during dinner, for example.
Know what you want in a relationship
Though your gut may be guiding you to repeat patterns learned long ago, use your knowledge of yourself to seek a partner with whom you can find exactly what you require in a relationship. What are your deal-breakers? What positive traits of your parents do you seem to be seeking in others? What negative traits of your parents do you seem to be found in others? For example, if your parents handled conflict with an “I am right and you are wrong” type of comment, you may get angry and defensive when criticized. By identifying relationship patterns you perpetuate, you take the first step toward breaking free and having a more satisfying relationship future.
You are responsible for your own happiness, period.
We all have the tendency to act as if our happiness depends on others. And it does—to the extent we allow it. I know that not all choices are easy to make. Leaving a relationship in which unhappy patterns are being repeated is not necessarily a walk in the park. Not only do you feel strangely comfortable within the dysfunctional matrix, but you may well love this person. But if your needs, wants and requirements are not being met, and if unhealthy or abusive patterns are being played out regularly, you have fallen into a trap.
You can get out of that trap. How? Aside from following the guidelines listed above in today’s blog, you can also choose how you show up in your relationships. Choices are conscious—not just a repeating pattern. We are responsible and accountable for the success of our relationships.
Written by Betty Russell, BCC
Originally appeared in Relationship Elements
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- How Your Childhood Experiences Define Your Adult Love Styles
- Attachment Theory Explains Why Your Relationships Fail
- How To Change Your Attachment Style
- How Your Attachment Style Affects Your Relationship
- Emotionally Immature Parents and how they affect you as a child and your adult relationships
- The 5 Child Roles In Dysfunctional Families