Repeating Bad Patterns From Childhood In Your Relationship

A story by Sarah from Houston, Texas...

"I know a very progressive woman who has several small children, a great career, and a horrible husband.

And although I think he is a rotten person - I pass way more judgement on my friend whom I love because she grew up in an environment much like the one which they have both replicated. A violent home. One very scary for children, as well as herself.

As intelligent as she is - she doesn't really consciously see what she is doing. She always complains about how she was raised. She hates her father. Is mad at her mother for staying. But she is doing the same thing.

And we're not talking about someone without resources. She has other family. She is intelligent. She could move on if she wanted to.

I know I can't say anything to stop her from repeating bad patterns - but how can I stop caring so much?"

Sarah's story sounds like many I have heard over and over. In many ways, not ones as dire as this one, we replicate patterns from our parents' relationships. Ones that were good, and ones that were horribly unhealthy.

The moral of the story is that often we don't even realize we are doing it. If you are shutting down during an argument just like your Mom or you are using other people to run away from what is wrong in your relationship just like your Dad - you need to put a stop to those bad patterns now!

Learn from your past. Use your past to grow. Don't replicate the negative things you learned.

1. Look at your relationship right now - is it on a healthy track?

2. If not, what seems to be the bumps in the road? Communication? Sex? Money? Respect? Validation?

3. How did you parents or parent handle these sorts of issues when they came up in their relationships?

4. What could you do differently?

Sarah originally submitted her question to the Ask GirlShrink Advice Column. It has been edited for publication on this blog.


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