Why can't we just get along and get on with it? Instead of this we often get stuck in some terrible place and to make it worse we tend to keep doing the same things even though they're not working.
People often need help to get out of the stuck place. The sooner this can happen the better because the damage that can occur to each other, our children and those around us can be truly terrible.
Why do we get stuck in some pattern we don't want to be in? Why do we often repeat the same patten with the next person?
The answer is of course complex and different for everyone. We are all unique. There are certain factors however, that can give us clues.
Underlying beliefs are childlike ideas that are held in the subconscious. They are the result of early experiences and tend to be statements of belief about - who I am, my role in life, what I deserve, and what I can expect from the world.
Underlying beliefs (ie. those we are not consciously aware of), tend to become a self-fulfilling prophecy throughout our life. So having a belief such as "I'm a failure", or "I'm a bad person", sabotages our ability to have a successful relationship. Therapeutic intervention can get rid of these underlying beliefs so that new patterns start to emerge.
Unresolved Emotional Pain
Similar to underlying beliefs, early experiences also generate emotions. An emotional repertoire is created. If these emotions have not been resolved (unresolved grief, unfelt rage, hurt, rejection, suspicion etc.) then we tend to keep experiencing these emotions in each new situation we find ourselves in. Our feelings are quite fluid in this regard and often not context appropriate. You can imagine that bringing a whole lot of emotional baggage that belongs to a different time in our lives can make relationships difficult. These are the automatic type reactions that we have little control over. The real problem is that we think our feelings are real to the current situation when in fact they may not be, or they may be fuelled by an unresolved situation from our past.
Lack of Relationship Skills
Relationship skills enable us to build and maintain our relationships. Without a few key skills we tend to have problems. If we have learnt skills because others have modelled them to us, then we are fortunate. If this is not the case then taking the time to learn can be a significant investment in our relationship. Learning relationship skills is like learning to drive a car.
Personal Boundary Issues
Personal boundary issues are about my ability to respect my partner and myself and be clear about who I am, and what belongs to me (emotions, thoughts, needs, entitlement etc.). Sometimes this gets very mixed up and help is needed to sort it out.