Today we will look at how we can simplify our lives by examining our family. Many of us do not realize that we can choose who we want as our family. Today we will start to learn how to do so. But first…
I trust everyone had a great weekend. Here in the northeastern US we had some great weather. We also quietly celebrated the end of summer in the northern hemisphere. Also, we are in the midst of a bountiful harvest season in this area. I intend to enjoy it now – winter will be here soon enough.
Functional family recap
Today’s posting is a direct extension of Friday’s post about functional and nonfunctional families. We will give a brief synopsis of that post, but you will understand this post much more clearly if you read that one first.
In brief, a nonfunctional family is usually dominated by one or two members who exhibit extreme false self behavior. Frequently this behavior is controlling, aggressive, or related to substance abuse. This behavior causes the other members to develop interlocking false self behaviors that help the family cope with this behavior.
The nonfunctional family breaks up with great pain because when one person leaves the interlocking false self behaviors fall apart. The one who leaves is invariably blamed for the pain caused by the false self behaviors falling apart and then being reassembled to continue the coping strategy.
In contrast, a functional family is very supportive of each individual. Each individual attempts to be objective and supportive of the others. The functional family is happy because all of the members are learning and growing and sharing that learning and growth.
The functional family breaks up very easily because the members have not needed to create interlocking false self behaviors. When a member of a functional family needs to leave to pursue their learning and growth the other members are happy and supportive.
Finally, there are very few truly functional families on this planet. Nor are there that many truly nonfunctional families. Most families have characteristics of both functional and nonfunctional families.
Examine your family
Many of us do not realize that we can simplify our lives by choosing who we want to be in our family. Most of us think that our family is our blood family – you know, the people we were born to or who were born to us. That is only one family.
It is much more important that we recognize that this group of people that we call our family must be supportive of our learning and growth. In the same manner we must be supportive of their learning and growth.
We have looked at the concepts of a functional family. It can be quite difficult and very emotional to examine our blood family and assess the functionality of that group of people. Objectivity during this examination can be quite difficult to achieve but we must strive for it.
This assessment of our family to determine its functionality is usually very painful. It is a difficult task, and it frequently takes many years to accomplish. However, we cannot improve our relationship with our blood family until we have begun to understand how it functions. Otherwise all we are doing is strengthening the interlocking false self behaviors.
The reason why this task takes so long is these interlocking false self behaviors. We have lived within them for so long that we hardly notice them. Our behavior is so determined by them that we cannot imagine behaving in a different way.
However, if we feel pain in our blood family relationships we need to look at those relationships for false self behaviors. Pain always means there is an element of false self behavior. For us to find our true happiness we must find our false self behaviors as they relate to our family.
What do I do now?
Isn’t that always the question? Especially with family this can be a very difficult question to answer. We each have to come to our own answers in our own way.
There is no “one size fits all” answer here. We will look at a few options for possible strategies, but we each must find our own way through this portion of our path. But we are not alone. If we just look around there are many people who have traveled this part of the path and they want to help us. Just allow it and the help will be there.
How functional are we?
The first question to ask is “how functional is my family?” Can you separate yourself enough that you can find your own way? Are you so smothered that the mere idea of your leaving causes tremendous reactions in other family members? Can you pursue the things you want to do and at least be left alone? Does everything you want to do need to be approved by the rest of the family?
The answers to those questions will get you started on your examination of your family. I have seen people react in a full spectrum of responses once they start to truly examine their family.
Some have found it either too painful or too threatening to continue the examination. They stop traveling their path “for the sake of the family”. They choose for a familiar but unhappy life.
I have seen others who have recognized that they would never be able to pursue their path as long as they maintained contact with their family. They heard a strong voice that told them that they needed to cut all contact with their family in order to find true happiness. They knew that for them their happiness was more important than anything else – and that their family would never help them to find it because it was too threatening to them.
Most of us find ourselves somewhere in between these two extremes. We can maintain some contact with our family but we have developed a means to pursue our happiness.
In a way, most of us put our blood family behind a wall and deal with them there. We then choose a new family that is mutually supportive of each other’s learning and growth. Tomorrow we will look at how to choose that new family.
That’s all for today.
Until tomorrow –
Es kava turen hai
We work towards an identical goal.
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