If there’s one thing I know about parenting it’s this…
Once you think you’ve got it all figured out, the second you think you know exactly what will happen… Jr or Little Miss throws you a curveball the size of a tsunami 🌊 and it’s all over!
The truth is: every family system has its high notes and pitfalls.
You’re not the only one who faces this. We all face this with our family of origin, too.
This morning’s NY Times parenting article 🗞 was titled,
Your Mom Is Destined to Annoy You by Jessica Grose.
The author says that she can only stand being around her parents for about 48 hours before she regresses to her former teenage self and becomes seriously annoyed by her parents.
She also quotes research stating “Psychologists even have a term to describe the way we fall back into predictable, maddening behavior patterns when we’re with our family of origin. It’s called family systems theory — the notion that families have an equilibrium, and each person has a fixed role that “is in service of keeping the family system intact,” said Pooja Lakshmin, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences.”
The article goes on to state that we should all be prepared for this fixed-role regression the moment we walk in the door for the holidays. 🎄
That’s the point in the article where I stopped reading and shrieked out loud to no one listening,
“Are You Kidding Me?!”
Are psychologists saying these regression patterns are inevitable?
That we should prepare ourselves to be seen in these fixed role regression patterns forever?
In my opinion, this article makes a horrible assumption. It assumes that no one in the family has chosen to or grown past the attitudes and beliefs that caused the fixed-role patterns. 😲
Researchers are assuming that no one in the family is willing to challenge their childhood belief systems so they can grow and gain a more connected relationship with those they love. 😔
Aren’t we supposed to process the anger, resentment, frustration, and challenges accumulated during our childhood so we can grow?
As we become adults, isn’t our job to see our family of origin through a new, more mature lens so we can review the other’s person’s point of view?
Once a person enters their 20’s, they begin to understand the fears and challenges their parents faced, the challenges life threw at them, and how all of that impacted them, their decisions, and behavior.
As you might have guessed, I do not believe in letting sleeping dogs lie.
Ask my husband and kids. It’s not in my nature.
When I was a newly married young, very young mom, I didn’t have a great relationship with my family of origin.
I was a bulldozer when it came to expressing my feelings.😩
I believed I should have been treated the way I wanted to be treated, not the way I was treated.
I went to therapy, to school to study parenting, began studying spiritually, and I changed in many significant ways.
I am no longer a bulldozer when I talk about feelings.
I’m not proud of my past behavior.
And, I’m not the same person I once was, and my family knows it.
Making it clear to my family of origin that I’ve changed meant we all had to be honest about the feelings created along the way.
It meant I had to eat humble pie and apologize for being the person I was then, and ask them to see me as the person I am now.
I had to take responsibility for my past behavior and be present so I could walk the walk.
I also had to factor in time for them to get to know the new me, even when they tried to squish me back into the role of being the person I was.
Notice I used the word squish.
When you grow, release old wounds, and take responsibility for your portion of an issue, you no longer fit into your past persona, the person you used to be.
When you grow, 🌱 and you ask others to accept the fact that you have grown, they tend to grow 🌱and change too so they can remain in relationship with you.
And if people, friends, and family don’t choose to accept you as you are now…
then as Doris Day once sang “Que Sera Sera.”
The NY Times article 🗞 included some valuable tips for handling these fixed-role regressions, make sure to read that advice, too.
We’ll talk again after the New Year.
May all your holidays be bright!
Now go hug your kids!