The 15 Stages To Build A Happy And Healthy Relationship From Anywhere

The 15 Stages To Build A Happy And Healthy Relationship From Anywhere

The 5 Stages To Love

Stage 1: Survival

Survival mode is specific to someone still in or recovering from a particularly toxic relationship.

Repeated trauma from abusive relationships can cause PTSD or even Complex PTSD.  Trauma bonding, or Stockholm Syndrome, is the irrational ties caused by abuse that bond a victim with their abuser.

The Three Steps To Mission Accomplished

The three steps to achieving this mission are;

Accepting the true nature of the relationship you are in.  Denial is a frequent response to things we don’t want to admit or accept.  Surviving begins though when we stop denying the reality of our situation.

Anger gives us the fuel and indignation to get moving.  It’s not healthy to stay in this state for long, but it’s what can give us the initial impetus to act.  Anger at our abuser, or at the situation can help us to focus on what we don’t want.

The next natural step is to heal the anger.  Many people get stuck on this stage because they think that moving past anger means it must be their fault.  

They think if I don’t hate my abuser it means I’m saying what they did was ok.  And if that was ok, then there must be something wrong with me to be treated in that way. 

And so people in recovery communities become hypersensitive to any suggestion that they look at their role in events.  This means that they can get stuck being fixated on getting justice.

That becomes damaging because they then not only have suffered abuse, but they are stuck in anger and the toxicity that brings to their life.

Abuse is quite clearly wrong.  No-one deserves to be abused.  

Yet the fact is that we live in an imperfect world.  Some people are unkind, cruel and hurt others. And sometimes they don’t even seem to ever face justice.

We have a choice how we deal with this.  We can stay rooted in anger and obsess about our Ex getting justice and everyone else seeing them for what they are and hating them.  But what comes along with that is that all of our focus is on them. It makes little difference to their life.

In fact Narcissists will get off on the attention of it.  Meanwhile our life is rotting because we are not making ourselves the focus of our attention.

Or we can let go of our need for justice and our anger at what has been done and decide to make our future happiness be the focus of our attention. 

When we do this we have to move from blaming anyone else to taking responsibility for our own life and happiness.  

There’s the jump!

Because then you have to process, this terrible thing happened to me and also I’m responsible for everything that happens to me.

And so when we start with the basis that how people treat me is a reflection of my value or that responsibility equals blame then that becomes intolerable to accept.

In life there are elements we can control and parts we can’t control.

  • We can’t control how someone else treats us.
  • We can’t control how other people think of us.
  • We can’t control what has already happened.


  • we can control who we interact with and who we get into a relationship with.
  • We can control how we think of ourself.
  • We can control what we give our attention to, whether we heal and in doing so influence the future we build.

Taking responsibility for your life doesn’t mean you’re to blame for everything that happens.  It doesn’t mean letting someone off. Nor does it mean saying what has happened is ok.

It means accepting that life isn’t about what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you.

This means that you have to get to the truth and looking without judgement or the emotion created by your current biases on the world.

What that means is that you have to look at what happened.  So I was in this shitty relationship that became abusive. I am not in control of what my ex did to me.  I am not responsible for that.  

So where’s the element that I was responsible for?

Did the abuse come out of the blue?  As in, there were no prior signals.

If so, then there was no control you had and so you have to focus your energies and attention on healing.  This is relatively rare and so you can feel pretty secure that this is unlikely to ever happen to you again.

Mostly though, there were red flags along the way. 

Mostly, there are signs that we ignore because they don’t seem that bad yet and because we want to believe the good stuff.  

And then when it does get really bad we’ve lost ourselves in wondering is there something wrong with me, am I causing it and 101 other questions that can’t ever get properly answered.

Narcissistic relationships typically follow a pattern.  There’s the love bombing stage where the person idealises you and floods you with attention and devotion.  

This then creates this amazing bond where you both begin to fall for each other.  And so there’s this flow of attention and admiration for each other. That is intoxicating and addictive.

But it’s not sustainable.  No one is that perfect. And when perfection becomes the norm, we habituate to that level.  And so sooner or later, when humanity and imperfections comes through and we are not treating them as if they are on a pedestal, it smarts.

When a Narcissist feels that adulation drying up, they can either accept that they’re human and not perfect, (which of course their pathology stops them from doing) or they can look for the ‘blame’ to be with you.

Because they need you to continue supplying them with attention and devotion to feel special and it isn’t happening naturally they will try to manipulate and control you or events to get that result.

This need allied with their lack of care or empathy for anyone else means they will use any tactic to get what they want.  The first layer of manipulation is in changing beliefs. The next is controlling behaviour. The next is force, at first verbal and when all other alternatives fail it will be physical violence.

For me, it’s not about blame.  It’s just understanding what happened so you can prevent it from happening again.

So, where did you have control?

You entered into the relationship.  That was the first opportunity you had control over.  So let’s look at what made them attractive.

Narcissists are more charming, attractive and they are great at the initial stages of a relationship.  They are skilled at sweeping partners off their feet.

So maybe it’s how special and attractive they made you feel that got you hooked on them.  

So then you have to look at what made you vulnerable to their attention.  Did someone make you feel unattractive as a child? Was there a deep insecurity or fear that people wouldn’t love you?

None of this is about blame, it’s just understanding what vulnerability or flaws might make you susceptible to such a relationship so that you can avoid it happening again.

Typically, people who get into relationships with Narcissists have experienced something that has caused them to feel unworthy or to doubt their value and so they become susceptible to Narcissists overtures.

The second opportunity to get out would be to leave the relationship immediately.  However, typically what happens is that people have got hooked on how good it was in the beginning.  And so they’re striving to recapture back that rose tinted frame. They believe if they can just do this or that to make their partner happy things will be so different because ‘he/she can be so nice’.  

It’s that almost there feeling that keeps people stuck.   Because you love the person they can be. Because it seems you’ve found your ‘one’ and so it seems like you  almost have got everything you wanted you don’t want to give that up.

It’s exactly the same thinking that leads Investors to lose fortunes chasing good money after bad with investments.  

Stage 2: Healing Heartbreak

The healing stage is about recovering from your last relationship, letting go, healing your broken heart and creating a happier future.  

The time after a relationship breakup is devastating.  It feels like your future has gone in a blink with your relationship.

The Three Steps To Mission Accomplished

Your steps in achieving this are to give yourself closure.  

People often want closure from their partner.  But remember you have to focus on what you can control. 

Often it’s a way we hold on to someone by feeling that we have to talk to them to ‘get closure’.  

The truth is that no one is going to give you closure. 

Closure is the narrative you make up in your head. You decide when it’s over and you start telling your future without this person in it.

Once you start telling that new narrative it’s the beginning of the process to let go of the relationship and the past.  

One of the most common problems with a break up is the loss of your planned future and a sense of identity as part of a couple. 

So the last stage is to build a future and sense of identity that is more exciting so that you feel pulled towards it.

Stage 3: Cultivating Your Relationship With Yourself

Relationships are the biggest testing ground for your insecurities, anxieties and emotional volatility. 

When one or both are unable to deal with their emotions it puts more and more strain on a relationship.  

Ultimately, what determines the breaking point of a relationship is the individual’s emotional resilience. 

It’s that, that makes one partner believe that it’s just not worth the emotional cost to keep trying anymore.

So the foundations of a relationship are the two individuals in it.  

And the foundations of an individual are his, or her, emotional resilience.  

So ideally in the time in between relationships – or possibly while in one – the best thing you can do is to cultivate your emotional foundations so that you are as prepared as you can be for the next relationship you have.

Farmers cultivate their soil to make it as fertile as possible to grow their produce.  I believe we need to cultivate our relationship with ourself so that we are the best and most attractive partner we can be.

When we have a great relationship with ourself, we are stronger, happier and healthier.  First of all, it means we’re at our most attractive and confident.

But also, it means we are stronger.  

Lots of bad relationships are bad because they were relationships that were never going to work, but people hoped they were. 

One sacrificed or ‘compromised’ to maintain the relationship that never really had a chance.

If they were stronger at that time they either would have avoided getting into the relationship.  Or they would have had stronger boundaries that would have changed the way the other partner behaved.

The Three Steps To Mission Accomplished

This begins by a deep dive into developing your self awareness.  Knowing who you are and what you like and dislike.

This leads to accepting yourself as you are with your quirks and personal weaknesses.  

Once you’ve come to an acceptance of yourself as you are, your next step is to share who you are and what you’re about so that other people can know you more accurately.

Many relationship problems come down to the fact that there’s fundamental differences that can’t be resolved.  The sooner you can get to that awareness, the better.  

This brings us to a big misunderstanding many people have.  They want to please everyone and be universally liked. It’s as if when we were children we are all told life is democratic and we have to get enough votes.  So lots of people want to be thought of as nice people.

What happens then, is we are liked by lots of people that don’t really know us.   

The truth is that popularity is not what sustains us.  What we need is to be loved by the few in our tribe.  

The path to that is by understanding who we are – and more importantly who we are not – and sharing that clearly.  

The biggest barrier to that is a lack of self acceptance.  Because who has really put in the dedicated time and attention to do all of that?   Now’s your chance.

Stage 4: Filtering to the one

When you have a good relationship with yourself and you feel like it’s time to develop a new relationship, now it’s time to find the right person.   

Considering how many millions of people are single and how many deep down want a real connection, dating shouldn’t be the collection of horror stories and disappointment it is.

The secret to narrowing down from all the millions of potentials to the one definite is a process of filtering.

The Three Steps To Mission Accomplished

It all begins with vision. See usually dating starts when you’re feeling lonely or when you’ve been talked into it with a few friends over drinks.  

Then there’s some initial excitement.  ‘Isn’t he hot’? ‘She likes me. Wow’. And so then we start talking to people and we’re basing our decisions on how interested we are on someone’s height or initial impression etc.

But five years down the line we realise we’re not happy because the nature of the relationship doesn’t work for us.     

It’s much more effective to fit the type of relationship into your bigger picture vision for what you want in your life than to drift along into a relationship that may or may not work for you.

So it begins with envisioning the future you want and then the relationship you want so you know what qualities are most important for you in a partner.  That doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to pick them off a dating profile, but it does mean you know what you are looking for and what you’re not so you are aware of the type of relationship you’re getting into.  That’s so much healthier down the line than getting swept away into someone else’s vision.

When you know what you want it’s time to attract the right kind of person.  That’s not just about finding your best picture and the right text to get dates.  It’s about making sure that how you attract the right someone in a way that leads into your vision.

From there it’s about filtering all the possibles into probables and then into one definite.

Bonding Deeper And Closer

Relationships are difficult. 

One of the problems is that people get confused and overwhelmed thinking they need to have compatibility and many other mysterious ingredients.  

The truth is that the key to a happy and healthy relationship is simple.  

To continually build a deeper and more loving bond.  

However, achieving that isn’t easy, because it means doing all the things you’re scared to do and saying all the things that are hard.  

That’s why the cultivational phase is so important to work through.  But it’s always true that when we get overwhelmed in complexity, it’s because we don’t want to confront the simple choice.

Our relationships though, depend on us facing up to those core truths.

The Three Steps To Mission Accomplished

It all begins with communication.  You have to get comfortable talking about what can be uncomfortable.  

This enables you and your partner to develop an understanding of each other.  

So that you can then resolve differences.   

Where Are You On The 15 Steps To Love?​

Want a personalised roadmap of where you are and what are the next steps for you to take on the journey to love? Click below for how to get your individual relationship roadmap.