Vinita Dawra Nangia
Have you noticed how we keep falling into the same patterns repeatedly, especially in relationships?
It took some time but finally she realised there was more than coincidence to blame for the way she kept getting let down by people she trusted the most. She would promote their interests, help instill confidence. And then the same person would turn around and stab her in the back!
This happened not once, not twice, but several times till she started losing confidence and became distrustful of all around, even close friends. It started way back in nursery class, when she would leave her prized pencil box with best friend Reema whenever she visited the washroom. “And still mom, my erasers and pencils get stolen,” she would complain.
Till one day Reema was caught stealing someone else’s stationery! And, Sanjukta realised she had been entrusting her property to the class thief! In fact, it took years of similar experiences before she realised something was seriously wrong! She invariably ended up trusting the wrong person!
It is then that she started questioning why this was happening to her repeatedly. Why me? Why does this happen to me again and again? Sounds familiar? Think about this; all of us go through recurring patterns with something or the other, usually someone or the other. Stray incidents manifest themselves as patterns once we recognise their frequency.
A psychiatrist friend talks of a woman who after an abusive marriage, walked into another wedlock with a guy who not just had an extra-marital affair, but is also mentally abusive. This particular lady comes from a privileged background and is an intelligent and well-sorted person. The psychiatrist wonders how such a bright and evolved woman could have chosen wrong both times for herself!
Such a recurring pattern may be negative, but could also be positive, points out friend and astrologer Sunita Chabra. However, we are unlikely to note the positive incidents; they get taken for granted. We are convinced that we are essentially good people and so don’t question the good things that come our way. It's only when things start going wrong that we start watching out for and questioning patterns! It’s then that we start blaming the world around for the chaos we find ourselves in.
Dr Brian Weiss, renowned American psychiatrist and past life therapist, explains that we get into recurring patterns because there are lessons to be learnt from past lives that we haven’t imbibed and till such time that we do so, we will find ourselves falling into the same trap again and again. Sunita agrees. However she says though we could blame Destiny for some of these recurrences, some could be due to flaws in our own personality too.
Dr Deepak Raheja, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, couldn’t agree more. “A pattern of abuse is like a self-fulfilling prophesy,,” he says. “It’s a defence mechanism called projective identification where we pull and attract through behaviour or our body vibrations situations or people who inflict similar kind of pain or act in a manner that helps the environment go wrong. And then we say the world is too chaotic for us! The paranoid instinct takes over and the picture that emerges is a tarnished, paranoid image.”
In order to break such destructive patterns, the first step is awareness. First, an understanding and an acceptance that one is a victim of such a recurrent destructive pattern, then an awareness as Dr Raheja points out, that the problem is within, not outside us. “We have to understand that the chaos we visualise the world to be, is actually a reflection of the chaos within us. We are attracting those people and situations towards us.”
So, a certain amount of soul searching is important. Even if we cannot understand why we are on this self-destructive trajectory, just an awareness that we are on it, is enough to set us on the path of healing. In fact, Dr Raheja goes a step further and says that these negative occurrences or people are not really destructive, but friendly because they help make us aware of the problem within. “Emotions that inflict pain help us develop cognitive skills that take us to the next level.”
Once we become aware, we can evolve to a higher plane of consciousness where we take ownership for our own actions and it’s from here that the change begins. Dr Raheja quotes Buddhism, which teaches you to pray for those that harm you most because they do so in order to help you realise problems within.
And, it’s when you start thinking thus that your cosmic relationship with that particular person starts changing and there is a break in negative patterns. And so, you stay away from the people or situations, who though still around, are not getting dragged into nor dragging you into recurrent patterns.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
RECURRING PATTERNS IN RELATIONSHIPS -- WHY ME?
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