Why We Repeat Dysfunctional Relationship Patterns

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dysfunctional relationship patterns

If you have repeated dysfunctional relationship patterns, this video is for you. You’ll learn why you repeat them and how to stop!

Do you repeat dysfunctional relationship patterns over and over, even though they make you feel terrible? It doesn’t seem to make sense to repeat a pattern that leaves you frustrated and hurt. Why would you want to be in a relationship with someone who’s toxic to you? In this video, I share four reasons why we repeat destructive relationship patterns and five ways to break this pattern and have healthy relationships. 

4 reasons why we repeat destructive patterns

  1. It’s familiar. We repeat behaviors because they are familiar to us, whether from childhood or any other past trauma. We know what to expect from them. And that’s why we will choose someone who’s not good for us, because the unknown is scarier.
  2. We learned it growing up. In childhood, we learn our core beliefs, coping skills, and behavior patterns that we used to cope with our families of origin. We unconsciously carry these patterns into adult relationships.
  3. We want to heal our childhood relationships. However you felt growing up in your family – powerless, unloved, rejected, unheard, unseen – we have a tendency to be attracted to people who remind us of our most unhealthy family relationship. We do this to hopefully gain the acceptance or love of that person in an unconscious effort to heal the relationship with our family member. Unfortunately, this leads to us recreating the role we played in childhood and experiencing a similar painful outcome.
  4. We think we deserve to fail at relationships. If you were traumatized in any way as a child, you were probably told you were the problem, or you were the reason there were problems in your family. Even if you weren’t blamed directly, family shame is internalized and self-esteem suffers to the point where we might believe we deserve dysfunctional relationship as adults.

5 ways to begin changing dysfunctional relationship patterns

  1. Become more aware of the patterns in your family of origin. The way you were raised became the model or blueprint for your adult relationships. To raise awareness, educate yourself about family systems and toxic family dynamics. Work with a therapist or a coach like myself to help you heal these patterns in your adult relationships
  2. Become aware of your behavior. It’s crucial to become more aware of the part you play in dysfunctional relationship dynamics. No matter how badly someone treats you, we are responsible for the way we act, think, and feel. We can learn strategies to speak up, become more self-compassionate, and attract healthier relationships.
  3. Heal your trauma wounds. We are drawn to dysfunctional relationships because of our core beliefs, such as fear of abandonment, abuse, emotional deprivation, fear of failure, and more. It’s important to learn how to feel lovable in order to attract healthy, stable, loving relationships. Until you heal your trauma wounds, you’ll continue to seek out partners who are incapable of loving you.
  4. Learn and practice new relationship skills. As you heal, it’s important to learn new skills and tools, such as effective communication and boundary setting, self-compassion, regulating our emotions, and practicing self-care.
  5. Practice self-compassion. It’s difficult to make big changes in how you do relationships. It takes time. So, practice self-compassion as you grow and practice new skills.

Don’t let the dysfunctional relationships of your past get you down. If you do the inner work and practice new skills, there is hope for better, healthier, happier relationships. Change is possible at any age. What’s one small step you’ll take today to change your dysfunctional relationship patterns?

NOTE: This video was inspired by this article in PsychCentral.


If you’re curious about how coaching can help you work through issues like trust, hyper-vigilance, anxiety, shyness, repeated dysfunctional patterns in dating and more, let’s talk! I offer a complimentary 45-minute breakthrough session to anyone who’s seriously interested in working with me. Apply here: https://lastfirstdate.com/application

Join the Woman of Value Club, where we have a monthly masterclass on topics like this one. Learn more and join here: https://lastfirstdate.com/the-woman-of-value-club/

Join my free Facebook group for women 40+ https://facebook.com/groups/yourlastfirstdate

Check out my books, Becoming a Woman of Value; How to Thrive in Life and Love and Choice Points in Dating: Empowering Women to Make Healthier Decisions in Love.

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