What Relationship Hell Do YOU Re-Live… Again and Again? – Part I

It takes what it takes….  Life keeps giving us chances till we ‘Get it Right’

In writing about my love affair with Ground Hog’s Day on a FB Post, I was reminded of how kind life is to keep repeating the situations that trigger us.  How kind our loved ones are.  How kind the 6 o’clock news is.

They keep replaying the things that put us in our own personal hell till we ‘get it right.’  It may take years, decades, lifetimes, generations, eons.  Or it can happen in an instant when we see the happy symmetry held in the very thing that is triggering us.

And once we start to live this way, we realize there ARE no triggers–only patient, generous teachers.

Our Habitual Reactions Hit the Replay Button

Like Bill Murray in the Ground Hog’s Day movie, 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 flipside) defend ourselves when someone points out that the pattern has mysteriously shown up again. (In fact, we defend VEHEMENTLY  if a spouse, x-spouse, parent, child, or anyone close to us screams–or even implies–to us that the thing we tried so hard to change is STILL HAPPENING).

The Antidote to Falling in the SAME Hole Over and Over

The truly wise ‘life metaphor’ in that so-annoying Ground Hog’s Day movie 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.

What does it mean to ‘walk down another street’?

You can find out in part II of this article here: