We all tend to have certain personality patterns. These are our individual ways of handling life, and the feelings we have about ourselves. For example, when confronted with feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, we often adopt any number of particular ways of coping, such as:
- Becoming withdrawn
- Turning toward anger
- Conforming to the expectations of others
- Denying reality
- Putting ourselves down
These behaviors can at times seem to work for us, but are a real liability to our health and happiness. Therefore, we need to find out which specific personality characteristics, patterns, and tendencies have been sabotaging our success. By pinpointing what these roadblocks are, we can start to remove them and make the way clearer for healthier experiences.
For instance, if you’ve been going through the revolving door of romance, then reviewing your past can help to unravel some of the confusion as to why you’ve traveled this path. It is a great opportunity to gain insight into how to experience more joyful relationships in the future.
Often, you’ll discover that you’ve had a long-standing pattern of selecting the same type of person over and over again, with the same unsatisfying results. It helps to understand that you are not defective for falling into these recurring choices. However, you don’t have to perpetuate the unhealthy cycle of repeating the same patterns and then wondering why things aren’t working out for you.
One way to reveal what your tendencies are is to write down what repeatedly shows up for you in your relationships. By doing so, you’ll create a profile of your past, and more clearly identify your overall repetitive cycles.
So, begin by creating a chart, and inserting your answers to the numbered items listed below. Once you complete this exercise, you should have a better understanding of your past relationships, and see similarities in the way each partnership ended. Additionally, you’ll understand more fully the part you played that may have contributed to the end result.
1. List the names of as many of the people you’ve been romantically involved with as possible.
2. Then, write down the major issues that surfaced in each relationship.
3. Now, list the specific complaints that you had with each person.
4. Record any issues they may have had with you.
5. Look for similar characteristics among your partners. For example, were they all abusive?
6. Similarly, notice what your partners typically complained about when they had issues with you.
After filling out the chart you created, take the time to reflect on your answers. Think about ways in which you’re going to take positive steps to make your next relationship a fulfilling one, or enrich your current one.