How often have you heard someone say, as their latest relationship judders to a halt, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me again’, or wonder out loud why they once more find themselves in the midst of another messy relationship breakup?
Some people seem to regularly repeat patterns of behaviour, especially in their emotional lives. But very often they’re highly efficient and competent in their business lives. Why are they so disastrous in their choice of partner; are they too quick to fall in love, what do they expect from a relationship or is it that they change once they’re in a more serious relationship?
There are those who regularly seem to be on an emotional roller-coaster, happy one minute, then in the pits of despair the next. Or they frequently end up in difficult relationships, as they yet again pick the wrong partner, rooting out someone who brings out the worst in them. Or, they maybe find themselves pushing the self-destruct button, even though things are going well. It’s as if they can’t believe they deserve a good, settled relationship.
The frisson of emotional highs and lows can be compelling to some, as they enjoy the drama of breaking up and making up, until it becomes too traumatic and exhausting to tolerate anymore. Why does this happen? Why do they hi-jack themselves and their emotional happiness? And what can be done to remedy this? Can hypnotherapy help?
Our early role models for relationships shape our views as to what our emotional future could look like and what we feel we can reasonably expect from others. If we’ve had a fairly settled, loving childhood and family background, chances are we’ll be able to navigate our way through emotional minefields if and when they occur, employing a calm, understanding, balanced approach, handling both the good and the bad in an even, non-reactive way.
Even so, when a relationship comes to an end it can sometimes be unexpected and even traumatic. We may have thought that everything was fine, never suspected that our partner was bored, unhappy or looking elsewhere. Recovery from finding that out can require us to dig deep, perhaps learn about ourselves and come to accept that not all relationships last or survive the course. There can follow a tough time, having to nurse disappointment whilst we navigate our way to the next stage of our lives.
But most of us have had varied and diverse emotional experiences, dating back to early childhood. How our parents treated us and any siblings, as well as how they interacted with each other, all had a bearing on us. We watched and learned, absorbing those early cues and exchanges. Then, there followed our own experiences at school, college, university as well as any personal doubts and insecurities thrown into the mix.
Trying to keep the peace in a tumultuous household or being rejected, bullied, humiliated by teachers, parents, siblings, our peers, can make us feel unworthy and question our potential for happiness. This can make us constantly strive for calm, acceptance, approval, trying hard to keep others happy, ultimately putting our own needs and desires behind other peoples’. So long as everyone else appears happy and settled we’re fine.
But doing this is not a long term solution and, over time, our more adult relationships can begin to seem false and uncaring. We may feel that we’re the one who’s always giving, constantly accommodating others, but getting little recognition in return. We may expect others to intuit what we want, to know how we feel and to automatically consider us, even though we’ve never had a conversation to talk through such personal matters.
Patterns of behaviour repeat and recur, becoming increasingly embedded in our unconscious minds, only to then be triggered when a relevant word, action or situation occurs. And that’s where the ‘here I go again’ comes from, from those underlying patterns and expectations, so deeply rooted and entrenched that we can think it’s us, that this behaviour is who we are, part of our genetic makeup.
The reality is, responding in this way is learned behaviour, a survival technique that we adopted to get us through those tough early years, doing whatever we felt was needed to keep everyone happy; understanding the importance of being pleasant, nice, doing the right thing, thus becoming a people-pleaser.
If these issues remain unresolved we may find ourselves, whenever we’re triggered, falling back into old familiar patterns. This can be compounded when a relationship deteriorates and breaks down, as things are often said and done, by both parties, which reinforce any negative criticism. We can end up disliking ourselves and who we’ve become, almost as much as we dislike our estranged partner. Unhappy and with low self-esteem!
Hypnotherapy, sometimes in tandem with counselling, is a powerful tool for dealing with these underlying patterns. Hypnotherapy helps to address the origins, the root causes of where our unhelpful patterns have come from, often patterns acquired years ago as a child to help us get through difficult experiences.
One of the major advantages of working with hypnotherapy is that this healing can be done without any need to go through the initial distress or cause again. We can heal and let go of our unwanted, ‘I can’t stop myself’ responses and behave more rationally, more appropriately, in keeping with the adult, resourced person we are today.
The outcome is we’re able to become more confident in ourselves, more honest in our communications, more appropriately assertive about what we need from our relationship. So enabling our future relationships to become adult, real and consequently more authentic.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor & Hypnotherapist www.lifestyletherapy.net