Changing destructive patterns of behaviour

When helping a couple out of a crisis one focus that’s critical is learning if either person has a destructive pattern that’s likely to stop them from becoming a valuable partner.

It’s very common for most people to have some kind of unhelpful pattern(s) that won’t support the success of their marriage.

Sometimes the pattern is due to a lack of relationship building knowledge or poor role models. Sometimes it’s due to some kind of emotionally distressing historic event that created a pattern designed to protect the person but never does and so they suffer.

The combination of both challenges can lead couples to very challenging symptoms that disconnect the couple and put trust in question.

An example of a destructive pattern: Some people who run destructive patterns can feel controlling to their partners and are likely to blame others for how they feel. These people can want to leave their marriage totally unaware their destructive pattern is making them feel bad and not the marriage.

These people can find their problems will follow them – some wake up and realise they have a problem and some can give up on love all together.

This is just one of many examples.

The simple work in rebuilding a couple’s marriage is helping a couple really understand what it takes to become a valuable partner.

I was taking a client through that very process and he said everything I said made total sense and felt right BUT…

He then took me through a very challenging/abusive childhood as an explanation as to why he would struggle with what I had suggested.

Some people are aware they have a problem and some people are totally blind to the fact they are running behavioural patterns that will help them suffer for life.

One lady entered her marriage running a self-protection pattern. It was so deep she protected herself from her children her friends and her parents.

This lady to start with did not see she had a problem all she could see was her husband had broken her trust by getting involved with other women.

This was the trigger that brought them to me, he was terrified he would lose her.

On exploring why other women were inappropriately in his life we discovered he loved his wife so much he never wanted to leave her despite never receiving any kind of love from her.

In fact, she admitted to me she never gave him love.

She never really saw this as a problem and as I took them both through the process of rebuilding their marriage she said she was now starting to understand that the reason they were in so much trouble was down to her.

She had pushed her husband into the arms of other women and she admitted that she felt numb all the time and NOW needed help to reconnect to herself.

This admission was a massive step forward and was what I was waiting for.

What she wasn’t expecting was for that reconnection to happen in that session.

I know a lot of people think change takes a long time, but I have to disagree with this because I see dramatic changes every day.

You see if you can understand the framework of how an unhelpful emotional was created you can help the person out of it very quickly.

In this ladies case, she was not only able to reconnect to herself in less than half an hour I helped her then reconnect to her husband who was in tears of delight as he watched her emerge.

She was shocked at the speed of change but like most people, she wrongly assumed this would be a good year of therapy.

Over the last few weeks, a number of clients have admitted to me they have experienced past traumas.

Some don’t want to share the detail because it’s too painful to relive and some have no idea what happened to them but feel that something did.

To help them breakthrough their destructive pattern(s) I don’t need to dig around in their past and what happened all I need to understand is the structure of how they are triggered.

One gentleman was suffering due to a horrible event in his childhood.

It was the root of why their marriage was suffering but he really didn’t want to go there. The combination of this historic event and his wife breaking his trust had put him into feeling suicidal and he had left notes for his wife which she had found.

So everyone was very frightened and out of control.

I helped him understand the real cost to him his wife and his children and he admitted he didn’t want to deal with it but for his family, he would.

The thought of dealing with this issue put him in a panic so I reassured him we wouldn’t need to discuss the event at all I didn’t need to know.

I could see he didn’t believe me.

I had seen him triggered so many times in previous sessions so I knew how distressed he was with this horrible pattern.

As I took him through the process I designed for him he was visibly shocked as we re-coded his relationship with himself.

This powerful process enabled him to feel more in control of his feelings but I could see how confused he was as the changes took effect.

I then helped him to create a very different emotional response to this traumatic historic event.

The entire process took about 90 minutes.

To this day I still don’t know what happened to him in the past.

He told me he went away feeling elated. He now looks at that past event very differently and sees what happened as something that happened in the past.

This was really important for his change to be lasting. The pattern was so real in him because his mind was reliving that traumatic event as if it was happening every day of his life for 30 years.

Every day he had to suppress the emotions hoping that no one noticed and the result was exhausting for him.

Free of this destructive pattern he now has the ability to protect his wife instead of needing to protect himself from her.

It’s so important to deal with destructive patterns as quickly as you can as they can have a devastating effect on any marriage.


About Stephen Hedger

International relationship expert Stephen Hedger's philosophy on relationship problems is this: Couples fail to understand their relationships because they are too focused on their problems and so they totally miss what created them. Stephen's approach is a refreshing and enlightening journey that helps couples uncover their truth. His strategies uncover the knowledge that all couples need to create a successful and lasting passionate connection. If you are in crisis and you need help, book an initial consultation today to get your life back on track.