Simplify Our Life – Non-Supportive Family

September 23, 2008

I am sure some of you have been scratching your head and wondering what the last two posts have had to do with simplifying your life.  When I started writing about family I thought that I would be able to explain it in one or two posts.  Surprise!  It is going to take a total of five.

 

Simplify your blood family

In the last two posts we talked about our blood families.  We first talked about the idea of functional and nonfunctional families.  Then we learned about the need to examine our family.  If you have not read those posts please do so.  Reading them is pretty much a prerequisite for understanding this post.

 

Today we will look at a strategy for dealing with the results of our examination of our family.  This strategy is used when we need to get out of a non-supportive relationship.

 

We are accepted

As in all of our relationships we generally have different relationships with the different members of our blood family.  Some will totally accept us for who we are.  These are good relationships that we should attempt to maintain and nurture.  We need to accept these family members unconditionally in the same way they accept us.

 

When acceptance is conditional

Other family members will want to put conditions on their acceptance of us.  These relationships can be summarized with the phrase “if you were really my daughter and loved me you would call me more often.”   Substitute “daughter” for whatever relationship is appropriate for you.  Substitute “call me more often” for any behavior that fits the relationship.

 

These relationships based on conditional acceptance are always painful for us.  The base cause of the pain is that we are not being accepted for who we are.  We usually do not see that.  What we see is that someone is attempting to force us to do things that we do not want to do.

 

We don’t want to call our mother more often.  We don’t want to play baseball but we do so because it will make dad happy.  We don’t want to buy flowers for our sister’s birthday to prove to her that we love her.  We want to express our acceptance in our own way, but they force us to do it their way.  Then, if we do express our acceptance and caring in our own way, they conclude that we do not love them and blame us for hurting them.

 

You can see where this kind of relationship goes.  Over time we are more and more constricted in our behavior towards this relative.  We become more and more unhappy but do not want to hurt them.  This is how nonfunctional families perpetuate themselves.

 

The separation strategy

The first strategy that we will look at is the separation strategy.  This is the more drastic and more final solution.  The way this strategy works is that we commit to attempting to explain to the relative who is placing conditions on their acceptance of us that they are limiting us.

 

If at all possible we should avoid talking about how we are being hurt by them.  There are two reasons for this.  The first goes back to the idea that only the false self can be hurt.  When we talk about being hurt then we are exhibiting false self behavior.

 

The second reason that we do not talk about being hurt is that our relative will frequently respond by telling us how much we are hurting them.  “You think I hurt you? Let me tell you how much you hurt me!”  This conversation rarely is progressive or has a happy ending.

 

In the separation strategy we talk to our relative about how a relationship is limited when we accept someone only if they pass certain conditions.  We talk about how when we are more open with our acceptance we can more truly understand and like each other.

 

We also make a long term commitment to taking whatever time is required to make sure we have tried every possible way to explain ourselves to this relative.  What we are really doing is telling them that we cannot continue our relationship with them if they continue to put conditions on their acceptance of us.  Usually we do not actually say this to our restricting relative.  This is viewed as an ultimatum and detracts from the discussion.

 

We know that the relationship is too painful for us to continue unchanged.  We take whatever time we can devote and have as many discussions as we can before we choose to separate ourselves from the overly restricting relative.

 

As we separate ourselves we acknowledge to ourselves that we have done everything we can to explain our desire to build a healthy relationship with our relative.  We accept that at this time this relative is more interested in their false self behavior than in building a healthy relationship with us.  We accept them for where they are right now and vow to revisit the relationship whenever we think there might be an opening for us to continue our discussions about acceptance.

 

This can be very devastating to us when we determine that we must go forward with our lives.  We have to recognize that we did everything that we could to help our non-supportive relative to understand why we had to break off the relationship.  We have to understand that if they were coming from their true self then they would have no problem with the break up.  The fact that we had to temporarily break the relationship means that we could no longer allow their false self behavior to control what our true self needs to do.

 

All this can be very difficult to sort through while we are in the middle of it.  These are very emotionally charged situations.  This is precisely why we need to be training false self to listen to true self.  True self understands the importance of each of our relationships and is always able to determine which we need to maintain and which we need to suspend.  By listening to true self we can simplify our family relationships.

 

How is this simplifying our life?

Think about how much time and emotional energy we expend on our blood family relationships.  How much of that is in the mutually accepting and supportive category?  How much is in the dealing with conditional acceptance category?

 

Most of us spend a lot of time and emotional energy dealing with the conditional acceptance placed on us by our blood family.  Should we not turn this around and be spending more time and energy on the mutually accepting and supportive relationships?

 

By recognizing the non-supportive relationships we are simplifying our lives.  True self is determining to relate more frequently with those in our family who support us.  These supportive relationships rejuvenate us.  The non-supportive relationships only drain us.

 

We simplify our lives by first understanding the nature of our blood family relationships.  Next we learn to choose for the supportive relationships because they are beneficial to us and help us to simplify our lives.  No unnecessary time or energy is wasted on them.

 

That is all for today.  Tomorrow we will look at another strategy.  That one is called the “accept but cauterize” strategy.

Until tomorrow –

 

Es kava turen hai

We work towards an identical goal.

 

 

Discuss & Comment

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Simplify Our Life – Functional Families

September 19, 2008

Yesterday we looked at simplifying our lives by choosing our friends carefully.  Family is a bit different matter and much more emotional.  However, many of us choose family over our true happiness.  Today we will look at some ideas to help us understand this choice.

 

But first…

 

Thankful Friday

As is our custom here we take a moment each Friday to thank those around us.  This week I would like to thank those who have given me encouraging feedback about what I am writing.  I thank you for taking the time to read this site and to offer your feedback.

 

As always we thank WordPress and FeedBurner.  They provide the free tools that make this site possible.  Thanks!

 

The nonfunctional family

To start our understanding of why false self is so attached to its family we must first look at the structure of the family.  When we look at most families we do not find a strong influence of true self.  There are many signs of this.  We see issues like a controlling and authoritative parent, a required strong commitment to a religious or political ideology, physical or psychological abuse, and substance abuse.

 

All of these behaviors come from false self.  This is by no means a definitive list, but it covers the most common issues that face families.

 

The way the family adjusts to these issues determines whether not it is a functional family.  In a nonfunctional family it is usually only a few members who have any one of the behaviors listed above.  The others learn to cope with the extreme false self behavior.  Rather than bring it to the attention of the one exhibiting the behavior they keep quiet and try to get along.

 

Let’s take the case of a domineering, controlling, and authoritative parent.  In this example only one of the parents exhibits this behavior.  The spouse most likely began to cope with this type of behavior before there were any children in the family.  The children learned to cope with the behavior as they grew up.

 

Is everybody happy?

Is anyone in this family really happy?  I would suggest that they are not.  The authoritative parent is not.  They are clearly coming from false self and as we have repeated, that is never a happy place.  The spouse and the children are not happy because they must repress their true self so that they do not anger the controlling parent.  Every time they strongly express any true self behavior the false self of the controlling parent views this as a threat and punishes the behavior.  Eventually everyone learns to live in fear of the controlling parent.

 

The final test of a nonfunctional family is what happens when someone needs to leave the family.  Over time the spouse and children of the nonfunctional family have learned to balance each other to keep a sense of stability in the family.  This is not true stability because it is coming from the balancing of their false self behaviors against the false self behavior of the controlling parent.

 

This apparent stability is more like a house of cards that is in a delicate stasis.  Because all the false self behaviors are linked to each other, if one person decides they need to get away from the situation to understand themselves – the whole house of cards comes down.  As it comes down everyone in the family blames the one who chose for their true self as the cause of all the pain.

 

This is not a pretty picture, but how many of us encountered a similar situation as we chose to pursue our spiritual path?  That is why I have felt the need to write about this.  Choosing for the false self based family is one of the most common reasons people never choose to listen to their true self.  At least it is that way in my experience.

 

The functional family

The functional family may not recognize that they are making choices for their true self.  They probably don’t see this.  What they understand is that they are truly happy.

 

Here are some of their behaviors that are different from the nonfunctional family.  They encourage each person in the family to learn what is important to them.  They actively support what each person wants to do as much as is possible.  The functional family wants each person to travel their own path of discovery.  In a functional family you hear “I don’t understand why you want to do that, but I will help you in whatever way I can.”  This is said with utter sincerity.

 

In a functional family the children are not told to be doctors, lawyers, or whatever the parents think they should be.  Children are not forced to participate in sports in which they have no interest.  No one cares.  As long as the child is happy, not destructive of themselves or others, and is passionate about learning – nothing else is really important.

 

A functional family does not force any religious or political ideologies on its members.  The family is strong enough to have any and all beliefs questioned.  The family understands that all ideas need to be examined on a regular basis.  If our understanding evolves, then our ideas should evolve.  A lively discussion of opposing ideas without personal rancor is a sure sign of an open minded family.

 

Finally, the functional family only wants happiness for each of the members.  The functional family does not push its members into unwanted personal relationships.  It does not determine the race, social stature, financial stature, or sexual orientation of its member’s personal relationships.  They know that happiness is more important than any of these.  If the person is not happy in the relationship then we help them understand their choice and help them back towards their true happiness.  We do not condemn them for choosing the wrong relationship with the wrong person.

 

Breaking up a functional family

Unlike the nonfunctional family that breaks up with much pain, the functional family breaks up and reassembles itself very easily.  A functional family is less likely to have interlocking false self dependencies.  The members of a functional family are much more likely to be acting from true self.  Remember, true self knows that it is complete in itself and does not need anyone else.  What do we care if a family member chooses to leave to pursue their goals?  All we want is for them to be happy in that pursuit.

 

The continuum

How many families are fully functional?  Not many.  How many families are totally nonfunctional?  Not many but more than those that are fully functional.  It is more like a continuum where most families exhibit some characteristics of a functional family as well as some from the nonfunctional family.

 

It all depends on which characteristics come into play for us as we relate to our family.  Other family members will have different experiences than ours.  Each family member experiences a different family.  We need to learn about how the family that we experience is affecting our choice for true self.  Not our sister’s choice, not our mother’s choice – our choice.

 

More on Monday

Today we have written the background for Monday’s post.  On Monday we will look at how to use these concepts of functional and nonfunctional families to simplify our relationships with our families.  Have a great weekend!

 

Until Monday –

 

Es kava turen hai

We work towards an identical goal.

 

 

Discuss & Comment

We do not want this blog to be a fountain of words from one view point.  We welcome comments and questions.  Please feel free to ask a question or make a comment when the mood strikes you.

 

WordPress forces all comments to be moderated.  We usually check for comments at least twice a day.  So do not be surprised if it takes a few hours for you to see your comment.

 

Talk to us!  Post a comment or a question!

 

Subscribe

 

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This email list is maintained by FeedBurner, a subsidiary of Google.  I hate to receive spam and advertisements in my email.  I will never sell your email address for such purposes.

 

Email

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Copyright

© Copyright 2008 by KanDu Associates, LLC 

 

The content of this blog is copyrighted by KanDu Associates.  All rights are reserved by the owner.  For reprint information please email:

 

noahnow@yahoo.com