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Why You Get Into Unhealthy Relationships and How To Stop
Known hells are preferable to strange heavens, because it's familiar. ~ Les Brown
Ten years ago, I had this repetitive thought in my mind that I'd never open my heart again to a man. I believed that my experiences with them were the reason why I had to protect myself and that they were the problem and I had nothing to do with it.
I'd walk around as if the world owed me something. I had resentment towards my father for not being in my life and showing me how a man should treat me.
I blamed almost all of the men that I dated for my pain and drama. That's not to say that the things that they did were ok, but I didn't realize the painful things that I did and my role in how unhealthy my relationships with them became.
I couldn't see that I was playing a part into feeding that pain and drama that we had between us.
Sadly, I know I'm not the only one that had this way of thinking that played a role in getting myself into unhealthy relationships.
This may be part of your story too! The great news is that it doesn't always have to be this way and there is a way to transform or get out of unhealthy relationships:
The answer is YOU!
This isn't some new agey woowooness. It really has everything to do with you and how you view yourself and your relationship with the world.
If you think bad things about yourself, it's easy to fall for someone who will treat you bad because they're saying and doing things to you that you would do and say to yourself.
We put up with this because it's what's familiar to us. It's all we know.
We can take it back to our childhoods to make sense of why we are the way we are. I know that a lot of my issues with men stemmed from having an unhealthy relationship with both of my parents. There was no guidance.
I had a lot of negative, dark thoughts about myself by what my parents would do and say and it shaped how I viewed myself.
I had to parent myself at a very young age the best way I knew how and it lead me to painful situations, but I learned from them.
This isn't a blame game to play on yourself.
The key is addressing your patterns and drama and along the way practicing self compassion and realizing that this way of reacting to life was something that you learned as a child.
It isn't you and because it isn't you, you can shift and transform it. It'll take a lot of work, but it's so worth it and very possible to change.
It isn't your fault either, but it is your responsibility to take matters into your own hands to turn it all around for yourself.
With awareness, comes choice. With choice can come transformation.
If we don't decide to grow, we'll keep attracting people who feed what we feed ourselves.
Have you noticed in the beginning of unhealthy relationships, the attraction is so strong? Strong chemistry doesn't always equal a strong relationship. Sometimes it's best to run the other way when the attraction is too intense!
Fast forward 3 months later, you're in so much pain and crying all the time about how your man did this or said that, you but you're too attached to leave him so you stick around, hoping he'll change. And on the cycle goes.
How can you get out of this repetitive cycle of getting in and staying in unhealthy relationships?
Here's what has worked for me:
1. Look in the mirror and ask yourself what's going on.
Literally, sit down on the floor in front of a mirror and look at yourself while asking "why do I feel hurt?".
Note the emotions you're feeling, where you're feeling them and what happened that triggered these feelings. Then hug and hold yourself.
This is self compassion at play and the key to getting you through any pain in life. You can't beat yourself to happiness and growth.
2. Breathe and recall the times in your past that you've felt like this before.
Chances are, there's been many times in the past that's made you feel the way you do now.
When I'm in a lot of pain, I like to write everything I'm feeling in my journal.
It helps create some distance between my thoughts and my emotions and see them all together on a piece of paper.
It also helps me see the patterns of my behavior in the past with different people and different situations and recall how I reacted to them and what ended up happening.
This isn't about living in the past, but rather learning from it.
The past can be a great teacher because it allows us to connect the dots that's led us to where we are now.
If it's too painful to visit the past, that's actually a great thing to see because that means that you haven't dealt with the past and if you haven't dealt with the past, it's easier to see it showing up in your life right now with yourself and your relationships.
The past only exists in our mind. Our mind keeps it alive by holding onto that pain. The only time that we live in pain is right now. When you hurt, you hurt right now.
Ask yourself "How has that pain contributed to how you see yourself and react in your relationships?"
3. Empathy is the antidote to fear
Years ago, I had an ex who had a drinking problem and only wanted to change for me. He didn't want to do it for himself, so I left him and he started to harass me and stalk me for 4 years and I hated him for doing this.
He had a lot of childhood issues that were never resolved and so did I, which is partly what attracted us to be together. I saw him as the bad guy and although stalking is never something to accept from anyone, I now understand how deep his pain went and it made sense why he did what he did in his eyes.
We do hurtful things to people because we feel justified in doing them. Whether it's because they did it to us or because it's a reflex of reaction, we make sense of it in our minds and so we act. That's what happens when we do things out of fear and running away from our pain.
Putting yourself in someone else's shoes is extremely difficult when we think that they're the bad or wrong person, but it's the key to understanding and connection in all relationships.
It's a muscle that if you keep consistently working at, it gets stronger and easier to use.
Healing from the pain of our past and taking responsibility for ourselves and the direction of our lives will transform our ability to attract and keep healthy relationships.
The journey won't be perfect, but you'll be able to pick up on the patterns and make better decisions for yourself and putting your happiness and peace of mind first.
You'll start to notice that men you were once attracted to will turn you off or they may still be physically attractive, but their qualities and what they have to offer will make it easy to walk and stay away from.
You may actually have healthy friendships with exes you once had drama with or you may have a beautiful relationship with a man you once had issues with.
Your relationships with family and friends will transform too!
The possibilities are endless and unpredictable and to choose to have healthy relationships is a gift you can always give to yourself. You deserve it.