February 25th, 2019
Toxic relationships cycles are happening again. Like it did the last time, and the time before.
You continue to find yourself in the same frustrating, messy, heartbreaking spot as you always do. Relationship after relationship, it’s always the same: You end up hurt, unhappy or alone.
You have suffered enough. It is time you take back your life from the vicious, toxic cycles of relationship anguish.
But how to owercome those relationships scars?
Maybe you have tried and tried to make change, to pick different partners. You have vowed, “I’ll never marry someone like my father,” and yet, you are back where you always seem to be. Maybe there is love in your current relationship. Maybe there are children, a home and a long history. You are not ready to give up, but you don’t know how to fix it.
That is where relationship therapy, like my practice in Greenville, SC, can help. Whether you are looking for individual therapy to help you stop the never-ending pattern of failed relationships or you are in need of couples counseling to help you and your partner keep your home intact. A therapist can make practical, potent connections between your past and your present.
A therapist can help you heal, forgive and move forward. Let me explain.
As we discussed in my last piece, your current relationship struggles may be the result of the childhood traumas from which you never healed. Individuals who experienced childhood abandonment, neglect, abuse and other painful experiences subconsciously hold onto that long-gone upheaval, letting it influence their emotions, reactions, communication and decisions in adult relationships.
Childhood trauma can embed itself in your subconsciousness, causing you to sabotage relationships before they even begin. That is because you are so emotionally scarred by your past that you are not able to fully, unequivocally embrace love, potential partnerships or long-term commitment.
I know that relationships are a struggle for anyone stuck in a unhealthy relationship cycles or in a relationship with a partner who projects their negative emotions stemming from childhood onto them. And for many, you likely do not realize your romantic issues are the result of childhood traumas.
That’s why therapy is so important. All people deserve love. You deserve your happily ever after. You deserve to have a partner who understands and knows you, supports you and emotionally connects with you. And therapy allows you to break free from these chains of abuse and neglect and move on in a healthy, happy way.
Here are three ways therapy can help you end the hurtful cycles that were caused by past trauma:
Therapy Allows You To Become Aware and Be Held Accountable
When a client with a history of abuse, neglect or abandonment comes to see me, I know as a therapist and counselor that I must help this client become aware of how their childhood traumas have affected them AND accept accountability of how it is manifesting in their relationships.
Let me be clear, I am not saying you need to accept accountability for the abandonment, the abuse or the neglect you suffered. I am saying you must take accountability for your actions. Because it does not matter how someone has hurt you in your past, you should not use that hurt to hurt others or sabotage yourself.
So it is not good enough to just be aware. You must also become accountable, so you can begin to make positive change.
Through therapy, the woman with abandonment issues resulting from her father leaving, would see that because she was abandoned, she is actually looking for the love of a father in a partner, and that is unfair. A partner cannot be her father figure. She will learn how to process her feelings of being abandoned. Face her fears of not being loved and start to learn how to love herself unconditionally. She will learn that in a relationship, it’s not her job to make someone stay, she will learn her triggers in relationships. She will be able to talk through disagreements with her partner in a healthy way, and she will self soothe herself to release those negative emotions.
By going through the therapy process, the man who is avoidant emotionally in relationships would learn that because his mother was neglectful. He was forced to be an adult too soon. The reason he enters into relationships acting one way and thinking another way — essentially wearing a “mask” — is because he never received the time to develop a true sense of himself. He will understand that he uses love as a tool to control others. And he will learn that even when he does meet someone who loves him unconditionally. He runs because it feels too good to be true.
He would also learn to take the time to get to know himself without the mask. That the mask is a defense mechanism to appear ”untouched and emotionless”. He would learn to be transparent with his feelings and actions so that they are consistent. He would learn that having expectations is not a bad thing in a relationship. It’s a way to set healthy boundaries in a relationship. He would learn the balance of give and take.
They both would learn that reciprocity is key to a loving and satisfying relationships.
So, you see, if you are not aware of how your childhood experiences affect your adult relationships. You will go from relationship to relationship thinking it is the other person. When it could be you who needs to heal and change behaviors.
Therapy Helps You Break the Cycle — Once and For All
Here’s the bottom line: If you continue on the path of negative relationship cycles. You will continue to re-traumatize yourself in your adult relationships.
Here’s what I mean…
As a therapist, life coach and counselor, I work with a lot of women who do not know why they stay in toxic relationships or why their partners do hurtful things. Once they gain insight through therapy, they are able to do the work to move past the hurt and the past trauma. They can start creating healthy relationships within themselves and others.
As I tell my clients, you may never fully understand why your partner does what he does, but it is not necessary for you to move forward; it is your why that is essential to your healing because that is where your power is. Your power is in understanding your our own story which leads to forgiveness, love and acceptance.
When you start the healing process and become aware of your trauma, you hold yourself accountable for your actions and you no longer allow your past to affect your current decisions. There is no more hiding behind or running from others.
Therapy Puts an End to Codependency
I love seeing two people with negative childhood experiences come together and work through their challenges together. However, you should never stay in a relationship in order to fix or save someone. This starts a codependent relationship.
Codependency is a common yet extremely unhealthy way that childhood traumas can manifest itself in relationships.
You see, when a person relies on their partner to satisfy all their emotional needs, the balance of power in the relationship becomes one sided. It happens when one person becomes their partner’s rock, their everything, their entire emotional support system. I know, you likely want your partner to think of you as a support system. But that becomes unhealthy when your partner drinks in all your energy and your emotions. By depending on you, they consume you. You begin to feel trapped. You start to think, “I can’t leave him. I’m all he has.” So you stay, and you continue to make sacrifices and give everything you have to someone who only takes.
I want to make sure you know this: You deserve better. You deserve to have a partner who also supports you and respects your boundaries. You also deserve to unburden yourself from the pain and negative experiences of your childhood.
But it will not be easy.
During my therapy and coaching sessions, you do the work to transform your life. There is no easy way for transformation. To get to the other side, to get to the life you want, to become the person you want to be. There are no shortcuts. You have to get through the tough stuff, and once you do, you will know how strong you are, you will no longer run from your fears. You will face them. And because negative relationship cycles are based upon fear, you will face those traumas and you will overcome them.
A healthy relationship cycle is based upon love — love of self and love for others. During therapy sessions, I do not focus on helping you find the love of your life. But I will guide you to become the love of your life.
This and only this is the manifestation of true healing.
If you would like to end your negative relationship cycle once and for all, I encourage you to book a session with me. We can work together to identify your relationship cycle. Heal from the trauma of childhood, become aware of how past experiences affect you today and take responsibility for your actions in your adult relationships.