You are everywhere you go. You impact every interaction you have – personally, professionally, socially. You are the common denominator, and that’s a good thing since you are all you have control over.
Your life experience, attachment style, and personality influence each interaction you have. There are personality types you find more difficult than others, situations that push your buttons.
Look for patterns. Patterns do not indicate blame. They provide the necessary information to break them.
Since we are called to, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18), this work is critical. Recognizing relational patterns is key to managing your triggers, developing coping skills, and learning to extend grace to yourself and others.
It isn’t easy to spot our own patterns. We are too close. We lack objectivity. We also tend to look at people and situations superficially. Choose a trusted friend or coach to help you look deeper into yourself and your actions/reactions.
Patterns rarely appear until we look at the roots. Unlike plants, if the root is the same, the flower will be the same; relational issues with the same origin can result in blossoms that appear to be very different.
Your friends only call you when they need something, and you are the “go-to” person in the office that rescues every failing project, yet you are continually passed over for promotions – there’s a pattern.
You have been married multiple times and each time your spouse has been unfaithful. Your relationship with your family of origin is strained at best or nonexistent. There’s a pattern.
Questions to help uncover the root(s) your patterns have revealed:
How does this dynamic serve you, i.e., what need does it fill?
The five why’s – ask yourself why then question your answer. After five why’s, you are typically at the root of the issue.
Once again, identifying your pattern(s) does not indicate that you are to blame for all relational difficulties that you experience. It does provide you with the insight necessary to make effective changes and establish new healthier patterns.
If you need an objective person to help you identify your patterns and create new ones, contact me.
Angela W. Startz, MAHSC, CCLC