Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Learning to accept your family of origin dysfunction is difficult, however, it is plausible

 

Growing up in a gender-based family, there were distinct roles that my father and mother had, but there was some moderate flexibility ( e.g., my father played with children and my mother disciplined the children). I don't recall any argument concerning parental roles, but I also do not recollect ever seeing my Dad do what is typically considered a feminine role, in a historically Mexican family, of cleaning the home, washing clothing and cooking.

My father died at an early age of thirty-nine, causing the family structure to change and also creating lasting family dysfunction. The death also delayed some family life cycle processes. My mother tried to fill the void of my father by trying to be the father figure, as is the case in many single parent dwellings. I remember my father was more playful and more fun to be around and my mother was not. She tried to reproduce this natural bond that we had with our father, but it was not the same. My mother struggled much emotionally and financially because she had to work two jobs and really did not have time for us. Although we did grapple with financial issues, my mother always had food to give us . How often have you found yourself wanting to change yourself or others because the way you grew up was not the ideal, healthiest or the best environment, but at the time it worked for you?

As you grow as a person and in a family, many times you realize things were dysfunctional. Often we would like to change behaviors in the family of origin because we have learned that how we interacted or did things is now unhealthy that don't seem to be of any value to us, because we have changed or they have changed or both. What we need to realize is that we are all different and have contrasting life experiences that have created distinctive perspectives. We need to love and accept our family of origin no matter their idiosyncrasies, as I am sure you would like others to love and accept you.

Food for Thought

Take some time and examine the way you think about your family of origin. We all have some form of dysfunction in our family no matter who were are or where we are from. Are you accepting of the way your family of origin is or are you tempted to change some things about them?

Acceptance is part of being happy, so it would be advantageous for you to take some time and say to yourself the following statements.

1. I can love my family of origin as they are.

2. My love is a free gift that I offer to others without any strings attached as should be with my family of origin. I love them because I choose to love them.

3. Regardless of whether my family of origin are crazy or centered, shy or loud, uptight or free spirited, athletic or bookwormish, wealthy or poor, wise or ignorant, spiritual or non-believers, I choose to love my family of origin just the way they are.

4. At times my family of origin may lash out in an unloving way towards me. Instead of responding in kind, I rise above the negativity and respond with compassion. Today, I choose to love all of my family of origin with kindness and patience.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1. Do I love my family of origin unconditionally?

2. How can I separate my past from present to live healthy?

3. Who do I need to show more love to in my family of origin?

 

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