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  • Writer's picture Zalman Nelson - Therapist

11 Life Patterns: Do You Know Yours?

Updated: Feb 9

11 Life Patterns

A Life Pattern is a pattern of false beliefs about yourself, that started in your childhood and has been with you throughout life. It began with something that was DONE to you by your family or other children. You were abandoned, criticized, overprotected, abused, excluded, or rejected – you were damaged in some way.

Eventually, the Life Pattern became a part of you, and long after you left the home you grew up in, you continued to create situations in which you were mistreated, ignored, put down, or controlled, and in which you fail to reach your most desired goals. The Life Patterns deeply impact how you think and feel, view ourselves, and relate to others. And because they are deeply embedded into how you see ourselves, they resist your efforts to change them.

There are 11 Life Patterns. We typically have a few, with one being dominant:

1. Abandonment 2. Mistrust and Abuse

3. Emotional Deprivation

4. Social Exclusion

5. Dependence 6. Vulnerability

7. Defectiveness 8. Failure 9. Subjugation 10. Unrelenting Standards 11. Entitlement

Life Patterns have 3 central features that allow us to recognize them:

1. They are lifelong patterns or themes. They started in childhood and repeat throughout life. As an adult, we recreate the harmful conditions of our childhood.

2. They are self-destructive: We are drawn to situations that trigger our Life Patterns. The Pattern damages our sense of self, health, relationships with others, work, happiness, moods – they touch every aspect of our lives.

3. They struggle for survival: We feel a strong push to maintain the pattern. It’s what we know. Although painful, it is comfortable and familiar. This makes it difficult to change.

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