Are you stuck in an unhealthy relationship? Do you feel like you have the same arguments repeatedly? Or maybe you’re noticing a pattern in the kinds of relationships you’re involved in over time. This doesn’t just have to be about romantic relationships, either. Maybe you keep making friends with people who take advantage of you. Or perhaps everywhere you work, it feels like you’re doing everything while others do nothing. 

If you feel like you’re stuck in unhealthy relationship patterns, rest assured it doesn’t have to stay that way. You have control of your relationships and what kind of boundaries you give them. So if you’re feeling like the world is out for you, or if you think you might be at the center of a social conspiracy, try these tips. 

What to Do When You’re Stuck in Unhealthy Relationship Patterns

You can challenge these patterns and break the cycle. Focus on waving your relationships with more genuine feelings and beauty. Here are some ways to break unhealthy cycles:

Look for the root of the pattern

If you’re seeing this pattern for the first time, think back to other times when this was present and perhaps you didn’t notice. It’s helpful to write them down. What’s the common thread among these relationships? Have these relationships brought out a particular side of you, and if so, what did that look like? What led you to these relationships to start with? 

Sometimes we enter into these relationships because of familiarity. They feel easier because we know them, even if it’s only on a subconscious level. Identifying where the pattern originates is the first step to finding a place where you can break the cycle. 

Identify red flags

There are warning signs before and during any toxic relationship. When you’ve identified the root of the problem, you can spot these flags more quickly. Ask yourself what you’re looking for in these relationships. Are you looking for acceptance? Validation? Knowing this also helps you see clues early. Some of these red flags might include:

  • You or the other people lacking trust
  • Feelings of low self-esteem associated with the relationship
  • Codependency in a romantic or familial relationship
  • Overly critical conversations

Decide what you want

Now you know your patterns. You know the root of the pattern. It’s time to decide what you want from a relationship. You need to know how you want to feel. Are you seeking validation from relationships? What does it feel like to give that to yourself? If you’re looking for acceptance, what does that feel like when you give it to yourself? 

If you have great difficulty imagining giving this to yourself, imagine giving it to someone else. You’ve likely given someone a pep talk or helped validate their feelings. You’ve likely also expressed acceptance of someone else when they needed it. Use that as a baseline. 

Keep moving forward

Sometimes a relationship is just flawed and toxic for us. When you recognize this, give yourself permission to move on. You don’t have to stay stuck there, either in the relationship or in your guilt. If something is toxic for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person or situation itself is “bad.” Sometimes it’s just a poor fit for you. 

Look for help

Whenever you’re having trouble breaking free from unhealthy relationship habits, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for help. If you feel that you and a friend, partner, or family member might benefit from joint or group therapy, ask them about setting up an appointment. If you’re struggling with work relationships, talk to your human resources department and consider individual counseling to help you manage the situation. 

Therapists can help you rediscover your self-worth. They can also help you find coping mechanisms and strategies to rebuild your self-esteem. Please reach out for a consultation soon.