I just read this post on Ann St Vincent’s blog, and it prompted more thoughts on habitual patterns of behaviour.

It’s easy to see patterns from the outside. So very easy.

People you know choosing the same kinds of partners (emotionally unavailable, clingy, distant, unreliable, incompatible etc etc), having the exact same interactions, running into the exact same problems over and over and over.

When you read a blog where someone shares their life, it’s all there in black and white, and you can sometimes watch them making the same mistakes over and over and not learning from them because they just can’t see it. It can be like watching a slow motion train wreck where your little voice whispers, “Oh dear, here we go again…”, but you can’t look away.

Sometimes it’s so very frustrating, and goodness knows I’ve done my share of leaving comments that are the equivalent of grabbing people by the shoulders, shaking them and yelling “FOR FUCK’S SAKE, STOP IT!” Even though it’s none of my business, and it probably doesn’t help at all.

When you are *in* it, every situation feels unique and special and different and you don’t (can’t) SEE the patterns of behaviour that are cycling back yet again.

Or, perhaps worse, you CAN see it, but you somehow can’t stop yourself from doing it even if you recognise it.

I have a terrible memory, truly appalling. So I never see patterns of mine unless they are intentional.

This exchange on Twitter made me laugh because he was 100% spot on, and honestly, I had no clue that I did this procrastinating behaviour EVERY TIME.

unseen patterns

*laugh* SubmissiveGuyComics is so adorable! Digression.

So here’s a question for those of you who have been reading my blog for a while: Do you see any negative patterns of behaviour that I seem to fall into over and over? I’m genuinely curious.

And I promise I won’t bite your head off for saying it out loud. Pinkie promise! *smile*



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  1. I have not.

    On the other hand, I do see some potentially negative patterns with me being too hungry for your next post and crushing on you…

  2. This is difficult. I hope that my comment is not out of order but here it goes.

    One of the ways in which you can be introspective and to be able to keep track of these patterns is though using a technique from CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This is through using a thought record, in which you write down and rate the emotion attached to the negative behaviour or thought, factors for and against,a more balanced perspective and then to re rate the outcome after having gone through that analysis. Essentially retraining how you think about and process that negative stimulus to help you avoid that difficult pattern of behaviour.

    Hopefully this helps. I am not going to lie, it is hard work but I have found it helpful I hope you do too.

    Link to example of Thought Record –


    1. Thank you Matt. Your commnent wasn’t out of order at all (also, I sniggered at ‘CBT’ like an adolescent…).

      I can certainly see how a thought record can be really useful for turning around specific negative thoughts, and I can also see that it can identify repetitive ones. I’ll try and give that a go: it seems like it would be quite revealing (I wonder if I will be surprised how many negative thoughts I have).

      My question here, though, is about patterns that I don’t even see. That is, it doesn’t feel negative to me at the time, but I do it over and over and the (bad) result is wholly predictable to those watching from outside. So I not only don’t see that end result coming, but I also can’t make a link between my behaviours and the inevitable outcome.


      1. I was impressed by my ability to restrain myself from making CBT related jokes!

        Sometimes by analysing the thought process we can see how this influences behavior. Finding those links are difficult I hope you find some answers.


  3. No-one should stay in an unhealthy relationship – like, say, a grossly overweight diabetic who loves Coco-Cola (none diet).

    But there are those who genuinely wish for something serious and deep and meaningful but who hit a point in a fledgeling relationship and then bounce off it like a flat stone skimming on a lake, where the psychological surface tension becomes too much and then they fire off only to land somewhere distant, further along their path.

    It could be felt as incompatibility, boredom, disrespect or a general sense of malaise, but skimmers always seem to move away from or effectively terminate a relationship before they get caught up in relationship drag and sink down into the depths of forever holding onto another.

    To use the uncomfortable analogy that I introduced, I think, based on your writing, that you may be a little bit of a skimmer.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but it does mean that I’m unlikely to get the Christmas Romcom movie I was hoping you’d write.


    Attempted pattern spotter.

    1. I think you are right, and I think there are two aspects to this:

      1. Perfectly sensible skimming: If I’m not interested for whatever reason, I’m not going to limp along pretending I am. I HAVE been tempted to do this when we seem like we *should* be a match, but it’s pointless. I can’t manufacture spark or chemistry that isn’t there no matter how nice and pleasant and ‘right for me’ they are on paper.

      2. Possible negative skimming: I think I can be guilty of shying away because the possible complication in going forward makes me skittish. I WANT there to be a compelling pull that makes ‘us’ an inevitability, but sometimes I’m on the fence. If that happens I will pull the plug rather than continue with it because I’m VERY aware that pulling it early is ‘eh whatever’ whereas pulling it later can be much more hurtful. Of course that’s a judgement call and I’m aware that I sometimes make it earlier when maybe there’s still a 50-50 chance it could get better.

      So on the latter skimming, I might try and be especially mindful.

      Thank you for your thoughts. I hope your arse gets better.


  4. Not an answer to your question (I’m a little in awe of you and haven’t noticed any questionable patterns), but as you’ve noticed I’m prone to rather spectacular train wrecks. When you do the shoulder-shaking “what is wrong with you!?” it does help. Doesn’t stop me acting like a moron, obviously, but it’s grounding and it is appreciated.

    1. *smile* Thank you for the awe and for the positive feedback on my shoulder-shaking.

      Have I given you a shoulder-shaking? Must have been more like a shoulder-nudging or I’d remember surely.


      1. PS I don’t know why I say ‘I’d remember surely’ when I KNOW what my memory’s like! Though if I did, I’m really glad it was helpful.


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