Sometimes our self-sabotaging relational patterns show up in the form of beautiful people – the perfect mixture of growth and comfort, all in one nicely wrapped package of synchronicity and chance meeting.

It’s so confusing, mixing up familiarity with healthy connection, thinking that you can grow but missing the fact that you’re just repeating the same pattern you’ve been doing for years, because it feels normal to stay, and impossible to go. You abandon yourself, censor your thoughts and speech so as not to make them uncomfortable, and tell yourself it’s growth. You tell yourself you’re maturing, learning how to be present with someone and give without unrealistic expectations. You’re learning how to be interdependent.

Really, you are learning how to ignore your needs because they can’t, won’t or don’t want to honour them, and aren’t capable of showing up in a healthy way. Neither are you as long as you perpetuate the cycle.

And so you gather your courage and take a tentative step towards a boundary. It gets stepped on and crushed. A little disoriented and turned around, your gather yourself together again and say it’s OK. You over-reacted. You don’t really need what you thought you needed.

Life continues. You tell yourself it’s all good. It’s not. Eventually you find the courage again to ask for what you need. A little stronger this time, a little bolder, a little clearer. Stomped down again. A joke made. Dismissal. This time the shock knocks you to your core. It reminds you who you are. It reminds you of your worth, of all the times before when you felt small for having feelings and needs.

Something snaps. The grief hits. Huge waves of tears and sadness as you realise that this is on you. This whole pattern is in your hands, and you are the only one willing to break it. You have to honour the boundary. You have to walk away. Walk away from the familiar, from the illusion of safety, from the knowing how to operate, how to respond and how to be.

You have to learn a new way to interact with people. Scary. Terrifying. You want to run back and say you over-reacted and apologise and say everything’s OK and let’s just go back to the way things were and forget about it. But you don’t. Maybe you do. But the cycle repeats and eventually you land back here. You don’t run back again. You step forward. You create a new pattern. And healthy begins to feel better, more familiar, safe. You begin to feel safe with you.