The people we are in relationship with are always a mirror, reflecting our own beliefs, and simultaneously we are mirrors, reflecting their beliefs.

Back in the day I had more weird, awful, miserable relationship experiences and dodgy boyfriends than you’ve probably had hot dinners.

I’ve been involved with abusers, liars and demanders, controllers…sometimes one and the same.

I’ve been cheated and mistreated and that’s not counting dealing with jealousy, insecurities and all the other foibles that come with those relationships from hell.

I just used to think I was unlucky in love!

Every now and then ‘luck’ smiled on me and somebody wonderful showed up.  But mostly I kissed my fair share of frogs and they never turned into a handsome prince.  Why is that?

Eventually I began to believe it was all my fault.  Seems like we have a built in fault finding system.  Things go wrong again and again and so we’re to blame.  Right?

Maybe. Most likely not.

Believe me when I say all is not lost.  All is never lost.

Don’t be shocked

But first let me share a real shocker with you.  I used to ask myself why I was attracting the wrong type of men and why all the ‘good ones’ were taken.

Strange to say, but I was attracting exactly the ‘right’ type of man.  As are you.  Not right in the sense that they’re our ideal partner in any way, but right in that we attracted them into our circle because of the dynamics of the laws of life.

Those toxic relationships were knocking at the right door and sadly, it happened to be mine.

If our attention is on our flaws, our beliefs about relationships being hard, or never working out , and then we throw in a smidgeon of a sense of unworthiness, it’s as though we’re putting in an order for rotten eggs.

At our favourite breakfast place imagine saying, yes please, I’ll have an order of those rotten eggs…you know the ones that smell foul.  Yep they’ll do quite nicely thank you.  And then expect to experience them other than as they are.

It sound incredibly silly…but isn’t that what we basically do?

We’re placing a much bigger and more important order through universal intelligence, with our thoughts and feelings about relationships and it universal intelligence isn’t going to ask us are you sure you want rotten eggs?  It just says, okay…here you are…this is what you ordered….enjoy yourself.

Red Riding Hood and the snake

It wasn’t until I read the story below, at the beginning of my journey into the rewiring of my beliefs and expectations about relationships, that I had a wonderful light bulb moment.  

One of those giant ahas that you look at in awe and say…really? But it’s so obvious, how could I miss it?

Well we miss it because we can only see what’s in our awareness, never mind that it’s actually staring us in the face and turning up with every experience. As in continuous toxic relationships that just show up, seemingly out of the blue.

It’s the story about beliefs, expectatons and why relationships with snakes just don’t work out as we would prefer.

Red riding hood was on her way to visit grandma, it was a bitterly cold day and she pulled her red cloak tightly around her for warmth.  It was a long climb to grandma’s, she lived at the top of a very high cliff, and Red Riding Hood paused halfway up to catch her breath.  

A snake slithered out from under a nearby rock. Help me, help me, he cried piteously.  Red Riding Hood backed away, she was afraid of snakes.  Help me, the snake whispered, if you don’t help me to get to the top of the cliff where I can find some shelter, I’ll die.  Pick me up and carry me under your warm cloak.

Not likely, Red Riding Hood replied…do you think I’m nuts.  If I pick you up, you’ll bite me.  

She probably didn’t say it quite like that…a little poetic license here.

I promise, said the snake, I promise I won’t bite you, how could I when you are saving my life.

Being a kind and loving person, Red Riding Hood relented.  She picked the snake up, put him under her cloak and continued the long climb to grandma’s place.

Eventually they got to the top.  Red Riding Hood was putting the snake gently on the ground when he quickly turned around and bit her.

Ouch, she yelled, you promised, you promised you wouldn’t bite me.  

I’m a snake, it’s what I do, was the response as he slithered away.

Lordy, lordy, I got it.

Where’s your focus

There I was with toxic relationship after toxic relationship showing up in my world because of my beliefs about me personally and relationships in general.

Every relationship I had was unlikely to to last for very long. I kept getting message after message that although each relationship looked different at the beginning, they were always the same, just showing up in different clothes.

And the pattern continued.

And the snakes continued to bite.

I was asleep at the wheel, passively expecting everything to change.  

But how could it, I was programmed to choose snakes and like Red Riding Hood somehow managed to be amazed every time I was bitten.  I was expecting a snake to behave like a gentle butterfly or at least a more loving creature.

Sound familiar?

Miracles do happen, things can change, but we must be the catalyst.  Nothing happens without our input.  Not even getting our order of the rottenest eggs out there.


What’s your expectation from your most significant relationships? 

Not just your significant other, but your friends, your tribe, your groups.  Like attracts like and our outer world isn’t a stand alone reality. The outer world is just a projection of beliefs we hold about our place in it.

Toxic beliefs of not as good as, not good enough, not worthy of, relationships don’t work, people can’t be trusted, or a myriad of other negative beliefs that we don’t hear, can only bring toxic results. They’re the food for toxic relationships.

The sort of good news is that if we want to see what our beliefs really are, we need look no further than our relationships.

Years ago I asked Shakti Gawain if she was certain that relationships were mirrors, because it didn’t make any sense to me, given that at the time I was in a relationship with a functioning alcoholic.  Don’t ask.  But there I was and I didn’t even drink.

Her answer was an emphatic yes.


It was a long haul from there to here and I’m hopeful that today with the greater awareness of the magnetic attraction of thoughts and feelings that abound these days, you’re in a place where you understand how this applies to your relationships.

Stop feeding the beast

If you’re drawn to a certain type of person, if you notice a similar pattern in your behaviour and experiences in relationships and recognize that you’re always dealing with the same issues…it’s pretty clear you’re the common denominator in it all.

It’s time to stop thinking and talking about what’s NOT working.  Or what you DON’T WANT.  

Stop feeding the very thing you’d like to disappear.  

Stop blaming, them or you, instead, jump off the path you’re currently on, stop your negative beliefs about relationships, stop all the beliefs of your unworthiness, you’re a child of the Divine, how could you not be worthy of the best that life has to offer?

Love yourself enough to invest your energy in the FEELING of having an ideal relationship, with everyone in your world. Your friends, your parents, your siblings, your groups, with your lovers. And yes, with yourself.

And no, not everything works out instantly and maybe some don’t work out at all. But most will.

For it’s a life truth that what you continually experience in your imagination will become an actuality.

Retrain your imagination

Take the time to retrain yourself to focus on what you want, not what you’ve had, it’s an investment in your future happiness and so well worth it.  

And yes, I speak from personal experience.  

This is the happiest woman in the world talking. My life is filled with the most amazing love and joy – my Darling One blesses my life daily and my friends and groups uplift and enlighten me in the most incredible ways.  

As you transform your thinking you might find yourself repeating old patterns.  

I know this seems strange when you start to see that there’s a better way. It takes a while to create new and happier ideas about relationships. 

So if you find yourself continuing to be attracted to the same old snakes it’s okay…it happens.

But now you know.  You’ve got to stand up and say enough…I’m not doing this any more.

Emotionally and energetically, we might still be connected to our old habits.  Be kind and compassionate with yourself, knowing that your new found awareness is a bridge, leading you to a new level of living, towards your new level of relationships.

It’s well worth it.

You know I’m going to ask…have you ever had toxic relationships and didn’t know how to get out?

What did you do to permanently attract something more lovely and loving?

We’d love to hear what helped you most either in your journey to real love or from this article.

Please leave a comment below because you might, you just might, be the one able to give comfort or support to someone in our global community.

I thank you for contributing.

Encourage one another.

Love Elle


Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. Hi Elle,

    I could so relate to your post. I went through my fair share of toads and snakes in my effort to find love. When you are most comfortable with a one on one relationship, as opposed to being a social butterfly, you tend to fall into relationships hoping that they are the right one for you. I was bound and determined to make them the right one for me, giving up my true self in the process. It is a journey to find the right person for yourself, and I appreciate your comment about cultivating the energy for the ideal relationship. Take care. xoxo

    • Elle

      So true Cathy…most of us have been there in one way or another. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Yes, it’s oh so painful to realise that what you don’t like in your partner is all your making, isn’t it! It took me a long time – too painful to admit! – to realise that if I wasn’t party to that behaviour then I simply wouldn’t be conscious to it and I wouldn’t experience it. After I clean up my act, that behaviour may still go on but I won’t be around to witness it. That’s why when we get a new job and feel better about ourselves we don’t see some of our friends any more and stories of too busy just don’t cut it.

    On a happier note I’ve seen instantaneous, wonderful results when I choose to hold in my mind an improved version of that person I would like to remember them by or see them as being. Similarly, I now prize what really bothers me in the people closest to me as something I’m transmitting and haven’t cleaned up yet. There’s gold in there, thank you partner for showing me the junk I’m dishing up!

    • Elle

      Alba I *love* your ability to hold in mind the best version of someone you know. It sets everyone free. Thanks a bunch for sharing this. So helpful to hear. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Yes Elle
    the last sentence- Love Yourself……. is the key as when we do this we move beyond the toxic relationships with ease. The Red Riding Hood story and Shakti’s quote are brilliant.
    I experienced a mirror example yesterday at a healing workshop and this morning when I was writing in my gratitude journal- I was too tired last night, I gave thanks to this person for alerting me to the judgement i was making. Thanks for the food for thought
    Namaste โ™ฅโ™กโ™ฅ

    • Elle

      Thanks Suzie for your insight. How wonderful to be aware enough to say thank you for the reflection you were seeing. Now that’s enlightenment in spades. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Wow. Thank you! My dad is a manic/depressive who didn’t take meds–so chaos was my norm, abuse shortly followed (not via my dad, other sources). I felt not enough and I felt upset with myself for feeling that way: I drew to me men who amplified that. Even ones who write wonderful words in public about presence and love, but at home would criticize and abuse. That last one “got me”. *I* wrote words of presence and love (and coached others) but I didn’t know how to turn that inward to be present and lovely with me. So, I took the last year and a half and centered into self-love, with the focus of releasing conditioning and raising my vibration. I learned (am still learning) “how”; it is an absolute joy to share with others; once my mind said no more, my heart opened and my world expanded. I wouldn’t have known this about you; I find it reassuring and inspiring. Thank you!

    • Elle

      Thanks Joy for sharing your experiences…I know it’s amazingly helpful for us all as we share who we were and how far we’ve come on our journey. To know that others have walked this path, and to learn the many different ways they managed and coped and eventually turned their whole experiences around is inspiring and comforting and oh so encouraging.

      When I look back on the experiences I used to have it’s look liking through the wrong end of a telescope…it all seems so small compared with where I am now!

      Life is a beautiful adventure as we journey towards our true selves. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Joseph Appaloosa

    Another wonderful article, Elle !
    As a young man, I wasted a lot of years and energy trying to be loved by various frogs. (and I wasted the frog’s energy and time too)
    Imagine my huge surprise, when it all turned out to be about me and not them !
    I discovered that I had to be valued and that my value actually originated with my own self-concept – with the quality and volume with which I valued and loved myself. What a liberating and expanding discovery that was !
    Miracles do happen . . . from the very beginning of our multi-decade long romance, my wife and I have totally dedicated ourselves to LOVE . . . loving ourselves and one another and our life together . . .
    Write on, Elle !

    • Elle

      That is just beautiful Joseph. It isn’t only us ‘girls’ who get to experience unsupportive, soul-stomping relationships and you are a gem for sharing this with us. What a wonderful way to live, to dedicate yourself to LOVE. You, my friend, are inspirational. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I learned how to get out of toxic relationships (reclaiming my own shadow self), but I never really managed the bit about manifesting a good one (sigh!). Now I’m going to head over to your post about Pity v Power… I know that the answer is hidden somewhere in loving yourself, but putting it into practice is the difficult bit!

    • Elle

      Welcome Vivienne and well done you for removing yourself from toxic relationships. You’ve totally hit the nail on the head. It’s about practice and baby steps.

      Maybe I’ll write a post about the journey from there to here one day. Choose to see yourself in the ideal relationship Vivienne and don’t stop seeing and feeling that till you get it. I’m rooting for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Oh boy Elle-
    Did this post ever hit home! It has taken me my entire life – and I’m still working on it- re-calibrating my self image so that the relationships I choose to be in reflect my higher self. I admire the work that you have been able to achieve in that arena….I feel lucky for the beautiful and authentic relationships I have BUT I still have much work to do as I continue on my spiritual journey. A wonderful post! xxoo-Fran

    • Elle

      Glad you enjoyed the post Fran…and truth be told…it’s an ongoing journey for me. I can tell this because of some of the people that occasionally show up in my world. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Thank you Elle – liked your post — it’s interesting how it touches some of the things I’ve been feeling and thinking about. Just this morning, I came across this video by Michael Brown called “Love is to Evolve” that helped me understand it more, especially the part if you have critical people in your life perhaps it’s a reflection of how critical we are of ourselves. Thought maybe you may like it (I’m reading his book “The Presence Process”).

    • Elle

      Thanks Pat for sharing your insights and Michael Brown’s book, sounds interesting. It’s oh so true, the whole of our life is a mirror of what’s going on within us. Thoughts and feelings we are hardly aware of. But there they are for us to see clearly. Oftentimes it’s a combination of a number of different beliefs that gather together and before we know it, they show up. Great system, all we need do now is use it for our benefit. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • So true Elle. It takes hearing it a number of times from many different sources and points of view.

  9. Isn’t it strange that we are so often blind to the real natures of those in our lives? A snake is a snake not because he had a bad day or a tough childhood! His nature is to be a snake and when bites he’s doing what comes naturally. I was crazy in love with a cobra, got bitten badly over and over because I kept thinking she would morph into an angel if I just was a better man, did more for her. Nope, still a snake. My responsibility, I deluded myself.

    • Elle

      Thanks for your insights Dore’ and sharing your story. It’s the truth. We don’t get to change other people, only ourselves and then we discover we’re living in a world without snakes. It’s an inside job as they say. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Understanding, forgiveness, persistence and patience. My experiences with men and people in general were so painful that made me look inside. Those old patterns in my subconscious mind were running the show for pretty long time. Looking back I did crazy things and I had no idea why, until I got tired and be aware of it. So this is why I started digging deeper, deepen inside. I was in a horrible relationship with every day drama, I got to the point when I could not find the meaning of my life, I was working all the time, but no goals, desires, exhausted, unhappy, alone, away from everybody who I loved. I was so paralyzed that I ended up feeling that I’m dying inside. I still remember the year, the month, the day when I got up in the morning and having a thought about finding a spiritual community. How come? I have no idea, but from that point on everything has been unfolding, and my life has been changed dramatically. Honestly I’m so grateful for those experiences! Well…we have to understand why “things” are happening in our life, we have to learn forgive ourselves and others, then we need persistence living our life based on the spiritual laws and finally we have to be patient, it takes time to overwrite our old patterns and manifest positive, joyful experiences. Thank you Elle! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Elle

      Thank you Emilia for sharing your story. I bet lots of us can relate! And how cool that you are in a place of manifesting more joyful experiences. Kudos to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I’ve been in a very intimate toxic relationship with a person since I was 15; I am now 23. That person is ME. I am learning now from my past mistakes and therapy to distance myself and create a better relationship with myself. I can’t cut this relationship out of my life. I could probably drink it away, but I don’t want to do that. The only option is to stop feeding those problematic behaviors and thoughts that try to overtake me.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Elle

      And thank you Sebastian for sharing your story. Everything in our world most definitely begins with us…nothing changes if we don’t change. Just one little step at a time can work wonders. Great job you for taking your life back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I believe that working on our belief system will change the criteria on which we select our lovers or are attracted to them.
    Thanks for the inspiring post and i really liked Shakti Gawain’s quote.

    • Elle

      Welcome Ali and thanks for sharing your insights. I’m happy you enjoyed the post and hope you stop by again and share your point of view. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Lord knows I have! Especially with guys of low self esteem who ended up making me feel bad and blaming me for pretty much everything, told me what to do and how to behave, I will spare you the rest because I know you know. Anyway, I found that relationships kept getting better and better as my self-esteem rose. This is the best aphrodisiac, after all. I was also not desperate, listened to my instincts which warned me to stay away from certain jerks (the alarm bells went off) and put on my happy face and fell in love with life instead, and the lovers kept appearing, but they were much better!

    This also works with family members. Once I got into LOA full force, things with family got better! Hooray! It all depends on you and erasing bad memories and having the faith and confidence to look forward not dwell on the past, but instead learn from it!

    • Elle

      Hi A…I just *love* *love* your comment. You are so insightful and conscious and awake…more power to you, as we like to say across the pond. So, so true and thank you for confirming to one and all that as our image of ourselves changes, so does everything else. Faith and belief go a huge way to supporting us all in leading our best life ever. Thanks for sharing A…I know you’ve made a difference today. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I was just wondering how do you get rid of toxic relationships when you really feel that it is not possible. Meaning family.

    • Hi Melissa…the way I see it…we stop feeding the relationships by changing our perspective of them. We have now power over others…but we have plenty of power over ourselves. We get to choose our reactions, and the way we feel and sometimes we need a mental intervention. ๐Ÿ™‚

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