Same Old #&%$ in Your Relationships? Let it Forecast Love and Peace this Groundhog Day [Part I of III]

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

Get some Radical Relief for those horrible “Groundhog Day” patterns you re-live again and again in any important relationship.

Shawn and Bear-min

I’m the only person I know who sends out Groundhog Day letters in lieu of Christmas letters. 🙂 I’m also the only person I know who took a LIVE groundhog (caught by carpenters who were fixing up our house after a tornado) to Sunday School for “show-and-tell” in a gallon pickle jar when I was five! (No, wait, my brother and sister each took one too!). Finally, I’m the only person I know who made a “Build-a-Bear” Groundhog and named him Nigel.

Here’s a pic of Nigel and me in the kitchen celebrating the first day of February and all the RADICAL RELIEF I’ve gotten in my relationships thanks to the Reliable Symmetry of Happiness.

It takes what it takes….
Life just keeps giving us more chances

I was reminded today (Groundhog Day, one of my favorite holidays!) of how kind life is to keep repeating the situations that trigger us.

How kind our bounced checks are. How kind the 6 o’clock news is. How kind of our boss to focus on the one thing we missed.

And how especially kind our loved ones are to keep pushing our buttons–doing the VERY THING we most dread. Again. And again. And again.

Whether it’s a parent, child, romantic partner, client, or our very own inner critic, those closest to us keep replaying the things that put us in our own personal hell till we “get it right.” It could take years, decades, lifetimes, generations, or evolutionary eons for these patterns to shift for us and for the people that just trigger us to STOP making us so mad, scaring us, and leaving us feeling misunderstood, disrespected, or alone.

Or that shift can happen in an instant–and we can pass it to our children–when we begin to see the “reliable symmetry” held in the very people and things that trigger us.

Once I started to see it–started to let it truly hold and support and teach me–I finally realized there ARE no triggers: only patient, generous teachers (as one of my most patient, generous teachers would say). In fact–shock of a lifetime– the “terrible, awful’ THEY didn’t need to change a bit for me to be happy (and yet somehow it seemed they did–once I had changed!).

Our Habitual Reactions Hit the Replay Button

Like Bill Murray in the Groundhog Day movie, where the SAME DAY repeats itself over and over again, we are at first totally stymied when we see an old pattern pop up again. “I thought I had taken care of that!” I broke up with that guy, changed jobs, moved to a new town, lost weight….

THIS is not supposed to be showing up in my life again!

So we try something else. And something else. A new self-help method. A new computer, car, house, haircut. A new teacher or coach, doctor, healer or drug. That last one just wasn’t good enough–didn’t fix the problem.

But after a while, if we are curious, we may start to notice that WE–ourselves– are the only common denominator in our painful equation.

So we blame ourselves, work harder and feel a little worse about ourselves, believe anything bad anyone says about us AND (the flip side) defend ourselves when someone points out that the pattern has mysteriously shown up again. (Make that “VEHEMENTLY DEFEND” if a spouse, ex-spouse, parent, child, or anyone close to us, even implies to us that the behavior we have tried so hard to change is STILL HAPPENING.)

The Antidote to Falling in that SAME DEEP Hole

The truly wise ‘life metaphor’ in that at-first-so-annoying (till I got it!) movie, Groundhog Day, is that we keep getting more chances till we “get it right” (i.e., hear the lesson we want ourselves to know). It reminds me of a poem about falling in the same hole (which I first heard over 20 years ago, but which I love revisiting at different junctures–including today!).

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V
I walk down another street.


Walking down another street doesn’t mean avoiding the people and situations that trigger you. And contrary to what many people would tell you, walking around the “hole” doesn’t mean setting better limits or boundaries with yourself and steering clear of those “toxic” people and situations around you. It has NOTHING to do with getting yourself or another to change, or going through life resisting or avoiding or trying to control the perceived threat that could still show up “outside you.”






P.S. Kick back… learn to relax into your own relationship pain! Hard to believe, I know, but when you come to see that everything is happening FOR you (not TO you), you really do start to get curious and adopt trusting as a way of parenting, being married, and living. Learn how to let those who push your buttons become your greatest teachers.

Have a chat with me or comment below.


1 thought on “Same Old #&%$ in Your Relationships? Let it Forecast Love and Peace this Groundhog Day [Part I of III]”

  1. So enjoyed and TOTALY resonated with your wonderfuly enlightening yet simple blog! Yet another “AHA” moment! Look forward to tomorrow’s….love and light😍

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