Trapped in a toxic relationship with your wellbeing?

This might be a bit farfetched, but just read along and let me know what you think. This is not scientifically researched (at least not to my knowledge), so just consider this “Hamada’s opinion.”

First off, let’s look at some of the characteristics of a toxic relationship:


    • You feel drained, unhappy, or depressed.

    • You feel that your needs are not being met.

    • You feel a toll on your self-esteem over time.

    • You feel unsupported or attacked.

    • You are not your best self in this situation.

    • You feel that you must walk on eggshells to avoid triggering something bad.

    • You feel trapped.

Now, humor me for a few minutes and think about a situation involving your own wellbeing. It could be a physical pain or discomfort, or it could be a particular pattern that you struggle with (being overworked, parenting challenges, the traffic on the way home, or any other struggle that keeps repeating). What do you usually do about such patterns? Do you distract yourself? Do you blame someone else or circumstances? Do you blame yourself and beat yourself up? Do you take responsibility for your part in the pattern? Do you reflect on what changes you could implement? Do you get support from someone with relevant skills?

It is my theory that if an undesirable pattern repeats, there is something we need to pay attention to. There is a message we need to receive and understand and respond to appropriately. Until we do so, the pattern will most likely keep repeating. Here is one of my favourite phrases that I heard recently: “Without reflection, history repeats itself.” The phrase was in Daniel J. Siegel’s book “Parenting from the Inside Out.” The phrase was in relation to how if we don’t reflect on the way we were parented, the chances are our parenting style will be automatically affected by our childhood experience and our upbringing. In this context, however, I will use the phrase to mean that our previous experiences will occasionally continue to repeat themselves if we don’t pause and reflect on them.

I have spoken to tens of people who are, in some way, stuck in a cycle of an undesirable pattern. Many of them are convinced that they are doing all they can do about the situation. It just keeps happening. In many of these circumstances I don’t volunteer any solutions, especially because I wasn’t asked. With my clients however, they have already taken the first step to want to make that positive shift, which indicates they are ready to start looking at new ways to deal with the situation.

I want to acknowledge that there are always circumstances that are outside our control. There are patterns that will continue to repeat regardless of what changes we make in our lives. Rush hour traffic will continue to be busy and slow. But we don’t have to continue to struggle with it.

How to Identify Patterns and Their Messages

One way to identify our patterns and their messages is to use a technique called journaling. Journaling is a practice of writing down your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis, usually in a notebook or a digital device. Journaling can help you:


    • Express your emotions and release stress.

    • Gain clarity and insight into your situation.

    • Identify your triggers and patterns.

    • Explore your options and solutions.

    • Track your progress and celebrate your achievements.

To start journaling, you can use some prompts or questions to guide your writing. For example:


    • What is the pattern that I want to change?

    • How does this pattern affect me and others?

    • When did this pattern start and why?

    • What are the benefits and costs of this pattern?

    • What are the messages that this pattern is trying to tell me?

    • How can I respond to these messages in a healthy and constructive way?

    • What are some small steps that I can take to change this pattern?

    • Who can support me in this process?

You can write as much or as little as you want, as long as you are honest and respectful with yourself. You can also review your journal entries periodically and look for patterns, themes, or changes over time.

How to Overcome Barriers or Difficulties

Sometimes changing our patterns can be challenging or even scary. We might face some barriers or difficulties that make us feel stuck or hopeless. Some of these barriers or difficulties might be:


    • Trauma: Trauma is an emotional response to a distressing or life-threatening event that overwhelms our ability to cope. Trauma can affect our thoughts, feelings, behaviours, relationships, and sense of self. Trauma can also make us more vulnerable to developing unhealthy patterns such as avoidance, numbing, or dissociation.

    • Mental health issues: Mental health issues are conditions that affect our mood, thinking, and behaviour. Some common mental health issues are depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mental health issues can interfere with our ability to change our patterns, as they can impair our motivation, judgment, self-esteem, and coping skills.

    • Social pressures: Social pressures are the influences or expectations that come from our family, friends, peers, culture, or society. Social pressures can affect our choices and behaviours, sometimes in ways that are not aligned with our true values or goals. Social pressures can also make us feel guilty, ashamed, or afraid of changing our patterns, especially if they are seen as normal or acceptable by others.

    • Lack of resources: Lack of resources are the limitations or constraints that we face in terms of time, money, energy, knowledge, or support. Lack of resources can make it harder for us to change our patterns, as they can limit our options and opportunities. Lack of resources can also create stress and frustration that can undermine our efforts.

To overcome these barriers or difficulties, we need to:


    • Seek professional help: Professional help is the assistance or guidance that we get from qualified and trained experts in a specific field. Professional help can help us address the underlying causes and effects of our patterns such as trauma or mental health issues. Professional help can also provide us with tools and strategies to cope and change our patterns in a safe and effective way. Some examples of professional help are therapy, counselling, coaching, or medication. احجز الآن

    • Seek social support: Social support is the emotional, practical, or informational help that we get from other people who care about us. Social support can help us overcome the social pressures that might discourage us from changing our patterns. Social support can also provide us with encouragement, feedback, accountability, and companionship in our journey. Some examples of social support are family, friends, mentors, groups, or communities.

    • Seek personal resources: Personal resources are the assets or strengths that we have within ourselves or in our environment that can help us change our patterns. Personal resources can help us overcome the lack of resources that might hinder us from changing our patterns. Personal resources can also boost our confidence, resilience, and creativity in finding solutions. Some examples of personal resources are skills, talents, hobbies, interests, values, goals, or beliefs.

How to Deal with Risks or Consequences

Sometimes changing our patterns can have some risks or consequences that we need to be prepared for. We might lose some relationships, face some resistance or experience some discomfort. Some of these risks or consequences might be:


    • Losing relationships: Losing relationships is the end or deterioration of a connection or bond with another person. Losing relationships can happen when we change our patterns and the other person is not supportive or compatible with our change. Losing relationships can also happen when we realize that the relationship was toxic or unhealthy for us and we decide to end it.

    • Facing resistance: Facing resistance is the opposition or challenge that we encounter from ourselves or others when we try to change something. Facing resistance can happen when we change our patterns and we encounter internal barriers such as fear doubt guilt or inertia. Facing resistance can also happen when we change our patterns and we encounter external barriers such as criticism rejection sabotage or backlash.

    • Experiencing discomfort: Experiencing discomfort is the feeling of unease or distress that we feel when we face something new or different. Experiencing discomfort can happen when we change our patterns and we have to adjust to a new situation or reality. Experiencing discomfort can also happen when we change our patterns and we have to deal with some negative emotions or sensations such as pain sadness.