The 7-Step Process That Breaks Almost All Your Unhealthiest Relationship Patterns

How to let life happen on your terms.

Freeing the victim child trapped in your mind guvendemir, RomoloTavani, Tiero, primipil | Canva

Any time your partner, parent, associate, or boss patronizes you, invalidates your needs or feelings, manipulates you, or gives you silent treatment, you may feel victimized. How could they do this to me? you wonder. 

This implies that you feel powerless, trapped in a gloomy prison where it seems impossible to break free. But if we zoom in to the very core of the victim mentality, we discover a small child, lonely and afraid, curled up in the corner of a sunless cell. Of course, nobody asks for or invites in abusers. Abuse is always the fault of the abuser, and only them. 


But when it comes to those unhealthy patterns and behaviors you find yourself repeating, please know you don't have to be stuck there forever. 

RELATED: The Tiny Way To Know If Your Childhood Trauma Is Affecting You Now

Seven steps for breaking the habits that attract unkind partners and unhealthy relationships 

1. Let your adult self set your inner child free 

Your mind is amazing. It’s obedient to your desire for an emotional shift — it’s as if it wants you to feel confident and in control. And believe it or not, there’s a part of you — your adult self — that already feels that way, and it’s that part (your adult self) who will rescue the victimized child.


Stay with me and don’t worry about the silliness of playing "childish" games of pretense, because to your mind, these imaginary games are real and true. It’s like when you’re watching a movie: You get hypnotized by what’s unfolding on the screen.

Even though you know what you are seeing is not real — people making love or killing each other — your mind accepts it as true and initiates a burst of chemicals in your amygdala, the part of the brain that processes emotions. As a result, you feel either pleasure or fear. So, why not trigger positive emotions by playing a mind movie where you go on a mission to rescue your inner child?

2. Fake the attributes of confidence 

Your inner child is trapped in the stale cell of your mind. Free them, so that instead of helplessness, you feel empowerment. Imagine your Confident Self (wise and mature, capable and strong), even if you’ve never felt its presence in your mind, as being a real part of your psyche.


You may adapt the attributes of a confident person you met in your life, and for the sake of this imagery, you become him or her. See them in your mind as they approach the musty cell holding a young child with a victim mentality held captive within.

Now, I want you to reach into your jeans pocket and find a key to the massive lock on the cell’s door. Notice how easily the rusty lock clicks open and falls at your feet, capitulating.

“I am here,” you tell the child cowering in the corner. “Your suffering is over.”

Take a few moments and feel the liberating feeling of relief wash over you. And then, pick up the child’s fragile body and take them out of the jail cell and into the sunlight and warmth of today.


3. Remind yourself that you're no longer little and powerless 

No matter what happened to you in the past, back then when somebody hurt you physically or emotionally, remember that you were little and helpless, and you perceived yourself as a victim. This is where the mental-emotional pattern of helplessness originated.

Children are irrational; there is no cognitive maturity yet to discern grownups’ nasty attitudes and behaviors, so they internalize all the assaults by thinking disempowering thoughts, such as:

  • “Something is wrong with me.”
  • “I am bad, not good enough, and powerless.”
  • “I am unlovable and unworthy.”

These feelings become habitual, and when we grow up, we tend to repeat them in adulthood, unconsciously recreating circumstances in our lives where we feel powerless. This is often how we find ourselves trapped in toxic relationships. This ends now.

RELATED: Why It's So Incredibly Important To Heal Your 'Inner Child'


4. Be a good parent to yourself with kind, empowering words

Another brilliance of the mind is that on its inner, subconscious level there is no concept of time.

This means that all decisions made in the present moment — like the ones you are making right now, such as: “I am worthy and deserving of a good life,” “I am capable, smart, and strong enough to create a life that keeps me happy and satisfied,” “I respect myself,” and, “My needs matter because I matter” — can alter your childhood mentality of helplessness.

It has already happened. The moment you took control and imagined rescuing your inner child, you liberated yourself from the prison of your younger self.

5. Remind yourself that you have no reason to feel alone 

Now, as your healthy self-esteem mindset is formed and takes charge, you shoot the stream of neurons — the brain’s informational messengers — to your past, updating your victim mentality to a grown-up, self-empowered outlook.


Suddenly, the brittle child in your arms fills with the light of self-esteem and personal power, running free in an open field of luminously green grass. With every breath of refreshing freedom, their mind and body fill with eagerness and zest for life, and you reassure them:

“I am here. I know what to do. I am capable and smart. Never again will you need to be worried or afraid. I’ve got this, and I am good at playing this game of life. (Or at least, I am doing my best and improving daily)."

RELATED: 7 Phrases To Say To Your Inner Child Each Day To Overcome Your Difficult Upbringing

6. Watch how your life changes

And now, what begins to happen is your life shows up differently: You look at your circumstances through the lens of your mature, confident self, which now replaces the old lens of the victimized inner child.


As Albert Einstein is credited to have said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Now that your thinking has changed, perhaps you can make a plan and decide to leave a toxic relationship or find ways to work on it and make it better.

You are no longer afraid to speak your mind, communicate your needs, and set up healthy boundaries. You know that you deserve better, and you shock people in your life with your newly emerging attitude of bold confidence.

You check in with yourself numerous times a day, asking, “What would a confident person do or say right now?” reinforcing the attitude of self-empowerment.


Content child hugs peaceful mother as symbolic of healing self-defeating mindset fizkes via Shutterstock

7. Decide what works for you, now

Bottom line: You’ll decide what works for you (jobs, partners, friends, and living conditions), rather than dangling on the flimsy thread of fate.

And in time, life begins to happen on your terms, bowing concerning you, and echoing back the way you feel inside victorious.


RELATED: 8 Tiny Things I Do To Heal My Inner Vulnerable Child

Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D., is a Medical Hypnotherapist and Holistic Consultant. She is the author of Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family.