Experiencing our family of origin
Organizations yield the results they were designed to yield. Families are no different. Most of us learn how to ‘do’ family by experiencing our family of origin. Sometimes we resolve to do a few things differently, and we succeed, only to find out that we needed a different change. The trick is knowing what to do this time, now.
Creating systems that work for us
I can count on a small flurry of calls from distraught parents in October, as school staff report to parents about behaviors of their kids. This is not usually because kids have a problem with schools. Often it is because no one noticed the problem they had in the family and discerning adults notice. It is very hard for we who live in a family to see the problems within. We form our ways of coping with stresses in the environment, our partners, ourselves that work for us. We create a small system that works for us.
The family is the most basic, most durable organization in society. Healthy, entangled or cut-off, it unavoidably permeates ones very essence. All we learn about living is taught here. Who we become is formed here. As we grow up, it seem we always strive to s be recover from our original family or are struggling to craft a healthy new one, or both.
How we treat our children, ourselves, and our spouses
How we treat our kids is closely related to how our parents treated us. How we treat our spouses is closely tied to how we saw our parents treat each other. We may think otherwise, and we most often are wrong. I think the thing is that unconsciously we bring 20 or so years of lessons with us into our next relationships. We join ‘until death’ with a partner we know for only a brief period of time and not too deeply. We know ours selves even less, because it is very hard to see the system we operate in. And eventually, gradually, we find out things about the other and they find out things about us that do not jive with our vision, our preferred scene of how partners relate. We become sad, disappointed, anxious.
Men, typically do not talk about it. If they do it is in broad statements, generalizing, often with sarcastic humor. Joking makes them feel better. The kids become his or hers. The wife becomes comic relief. And men might become the butt (or some closely related word) of jokes. Respect is lost. Kids feel lost.
So what can we do?
We can change the system.