Have you ever woken up or sat and wondered whether someone has put your life on rewind and that the only thing different are the changing characters? Have you ever felt like the friendships or relationships you’re have a thick thread of similarity running through them, especially the ones that don’t seem to work out?
Well, you are not alone if your answer is yes. (If your answer is no, please go on your knees and give thanks to whomever you give thanks to spiritually!). An Eve decided to try and break what she felt was the ‘recycling curse’. I mean, she had dated three Adams consecutively and they all ended up withdrawing, being unavailable and eventually breaking off the relationship (actually, she broke off the third relationship but the Adam did not stand up in court to yell ‘objection!’). As she was perusing through a women’s magazine, she decided to take a ‘relationship pattern’ test and see what was the ‘trap’ that she kept falling into that resulted in the same unfulfilling and short lived relationships.
After answering a number of questions about her childhood, her parents’ relationships and her adult relationships, she came up with this summary:
As far as her adult relationships were concerned:
*Adam 1 was unavailable, uninterested and argumentative.
*Adam 2 was unavailable and uninterested, and avoided confrontation.
*Adam 3 was withdrawn, uninterested, and avoided confrontation.
As far as her parents’ relationship was concerned:
*Her father was unavailable, uninterested and avoided confrontation.
*Her mother argumentative and blaming.
*Her father was not around for her, not wanting her, and left the family eventually.
*Her mother told me all men lose interest and leave.
So she cross-related her answers and came up with the following diagnosis of her relationship patterns:
* Her father was unavailable to her and her mother; therefore she finds men who are not available.
* Her father was uninterested in her and her mother; she finds men who lose interest in her.
* Her father avoided confrontation; two of the three relationships were with men who avoid confrontation.
* Her father left; she attracts men who eventually leave. And her mother told her they would.
* A man who is argumentative is the opposite of her father, but just like her mother. One of the men she dated was argumentative.
* She was programmed to have a relationship pattern where her partner will become unavailable, losing interest in her and eventually leaving.
* She is exactly repeating the pattern in her parents’ relationship.
* Sometimes she has done the opposite of her parents’ relationship, but got exactly the same result.
At the end of the self-test was a long list of things that Eves and Adams can do to break their bad relationship patterns. Eve had found the outcome of the test somewhat true but also scary; more importantly though she was left wondering whether this is something she could do anything about. Could she say to herself that she was going to avoid all these unavailable and uninterested men who would withdraw and eventually leave her? Do they come with a specific mark on their foreheads? How would she recognize them? Is it her behaviour towards men that would need to change?
In this day and age, psychology has become commonly accepted as a way of understanding what goes on in our lives, least of all our familial and other relationships. But does a theory like ‘relationship patterns linked to your childhood experience’ really hold water and are there any answers (remedies) out there?
It’s been said time and time again that in life and even in relationships, you can change only YOU, how YOU behave, how YOU react, and only YOU can accept or reject. But the notion of a relationship pattern being seemingly intrinsically linked to your past experiences seems scary.
Adams and Eves, do you think it is possible to recognise what is the ‘source’ of your relationship and friendship patterns that makes them not work and break the cycle? Or is this just ‘psycho-babble’ that should be left to the experts in the field (and we don’t mean Mathare mental hospital here :))?