When a relationship "fails," it's easy to look back on it with blame and shame. We want to point fingers and attribute the pain to external forces (more often than not, by blaming our exes). But the truth is, every relationship is a dynamic. So when that dynamic spirals into dysfunction, we need to recognize our part.
Let's take an example to explore what I'm talking about further. Caren had a belief that all men leave. And she had good reason to believe this: her father left her mother and the family when she was five years old. In her adult life, her husband of six years separated from her so he could be with someone else. Since their divorce several years ago, she’s only had two serious relationships and each of them ended with the man breaking up with her: one man moved away and the other man didn’t feel the same way about her that she did about them.
In this kind of context, "a belief" is a thought that we keep thinking, and our thoughts are driven primarily by our experiences. And Caren had plenty of life experiences that demonstrated to her that men leave. Each time someone she cared about left a relationship with her, she perpetuated the thought pattern that all men leave, gathering more and more proof that her belief was true.