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Breaking Generational Patterns: Developing Healthy Relationships


As you grow older, you’ll start to notice some of your parents traits blossoming within you. Some can be beneficial. However, some can be negative, like repeating your parents unhealthy relationship habits (think blaming one another, constant arguing, passive aggressiveness, etc.)

These generational patterns do not have to define you. If you want to develop healthy, productive relationships, you can break the cycle through self-awareness while working in a therapeutic environment with your psychotherapist.

What are Generational Patterns

Generational patterns are personality traits or patterns that are passed down from parent to child. Sometimes they are positive, but often the negative patterns draw more attention.

Some Negative Generational Patterns Include:

  • Hostility towards partners
  • Short tempers
  • Domestic abuse/violence toward partners
  • Lack of loyalty/cheating

How to Break the Cycle

Breaking the cycle is not easy, however it is POSSIBLE! It starts by reflecting on yourself and your family history.

Reflecting on Family History

To find the root of the problem, you must reflect on your childhood and family history. Was there an event in your life that led you to the place you are today?

For example, if your parents argued often and were verbally abusive towards each other, then you are more likely (often unconsciously) to be verbally abusive toward your own spouse.

By locating the root of the pattern, you can start to tackle problem head on.

Examining Yourself

Once you have found the root of the problem, you can start looking inward. When you yell at your spouse, what is the driving force? Is it a short temper? Or, does yelling feel second nature now?

When you can confront the feelings inside of yourself, you can start to make progress toward breaking the pattern.

Seeking Help

It isn’t always easy to look deep inside ourselves to find the root of the problem. Sometimes you need an outside perspective to get you where you want to be. That’s where a therapist can help.

An individual or couples counselor can help you understand the trauma you faced growing up with your family. They will make sense of the experiences you have lived through, so you can overcome those negative feelings. They will also work on processing the motivations behind repeating the patterns.

Even if you can locate the problem yourself, sometimes it is difficult to know what to do next? Changing yourself for the better is a hard journey to travel alone. An individual or marriage counselor will help you through every step in the process, so you will feel supported.

Visit our couples counseling page

Call us at 919-647-4600

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