Breaking the Toxic Relationship Pattern
Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
None of us are perfect, so we all have had toxic relationship patterns. Breaking those innate patterns will determine whether future relationships will be healthy, or not. Carolyn Yates, in her article, “How To Break Toxic Relationship Patterns” helps us address these toxic patterns and change them so we can have healthier relationships in the future. This includes any kind of relationship from a working relationship, to friendship, to marriage. The same recommendation holds true if we are to sustain healthy relationships in our life.
Yates calls us to reflect on our own relationship patterns. The more honest we can be with ourselves the more we will learn and change. Yates quotes psychotherapist Melissa Lopez who states, “Without awareness and acceptance that something is a maladaptive pattern, it is impossible to move forward.” Looking at the family and friend dynamics throughout your life is a helpful key to unlock your relationship patterns.
Once we have identified at least some of our relationship patterns, it is important that we honestly hold ourselves accountable for our actions. We do this, according to Yates, when we “Slow Down the Conversation.” Both in conversations in your past, and in present conversations, try to focus on listening, without jumping to conclusions. Far too often we stop listening and make assumptions from our experiences, rather than listening to what the person is actually saying, thinking, and feeling. Sadly, these assumptions are often wrong and can have negative consequences.
Next, Yates calls us to “Set Aside Time to Talk on Purpose,” with those we care about. The less purposeful our conversations, the more we tend to fill the void with assumptions. See each of these intentional encounters as “A Chance for Change.” If we do not believe change is possible then why even bother. This chance for positive change takes place through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We do not have to keep repeating the same toxic mistakes. With God’s help we can have healthy relationships that are good for us and others.