by Linda Meredith
Reading this validates a lot of my childhood. #ComplexPTSD validates the trauma side of childhood. How many of us can resonate with the "do as you're told" and no explanation will be given upbringing? Or the "do as I tell you, not as I do" childhood? For the life of me, I could never understand why it was okay for an adult to be screaming at me in anger yet I had to have incredible self-control and say not.a.word. Mind you even the consequences of uttering a whispered "backchat" on my way out of the room kept my self-control in check. I hated being hit even more than I hated being yelled at.
Upon reflection, if a family was to read this, I can still hear their voices "oh, it wasn't that bad, you're just being a drama queen again." Guess some things don't change over time, including my family's opinion of me expressing emotions! I can laugh now, but I was deeply wounded as a teenager not being able to have vital chats with my mum about how I was feeling. Mum's deceased now, but before I left home she actually took the time to admit to me she could now see that I wasn't the one with the problem, but I mustn't tell anyone she had relayed that to me.
Seriously, we're all under the same roof, we're all seeing the reality of where the problem lies and none of us can talk about it?! Yes, that's how she was raised, and the multiple generations before her. You don't address issues, the adults in charge. Full stop. And we now have to be the change. We now have to unpack our authentic selves from underneath the trauma laden, family mythology and family rules that were always implied, never spoken.
So, let's get to it!
Step one: Take some time to write out your Family Mythology. What's family mythology you ask? Think about the qualities your family placed a value on where if you carried out that value you were deemed as "good enough' or "acceptable" in the family. For example, I know family's where in order to be good enough or accepted in the family system you have to have a stable job, a job that is of an acceptable level, buy your own home, be married and have kids.
And you can see this Family Mythology wind itself through the generations. In my family, I achieved the good marriage, the job, the marriage, the home, the child and stood in my kitchen and realised I'd been such a good girl! (lol) Then I started thinking what else is there to life because I hadn't even hit 30 yet. This was one of the major points where I began to break free from the Family Mythology.
My children have been aware of this Family Mythology when visiting relatives. The experience how it's definitely implied, not spoken outright, and they return home wishing they could have deeper conversations with their relatives than all things worldly.
Have a think about your Family Mythology, make some notes, and share them with your Therapist/Coach so they can assist you in gaining greater insight.
Step Two: Family Motto's are like Family Mythology. They can be implied or spoken out loud. You'll also discover it's more than likely generational, not just within your family of origin. Think about any motto's your family may have had or short statements that capture your family's values, focus or guiding principles. For example: "Smiths never give in" "Life's unfair, then you die" "Be positive or go home."
In my family, the implied motto was "you can't trust anyone" as neither side of my family in the generations discussed anything or anyone at any length. They also ran high with cynicism. So there was a lot of "yeah right, yeah sure, as if" going around.
Have a think about your Family Motto, make some notes, and share them with your Therapist/Coach so they can assist you in gaining greater insight.
Step Three: Family Rules are the primary guidelines governing your family's thoughts, behaviours and emotions. These can be from prior generations or your family of origin. A few examples include "Don't get angry, get even" "Do as you're told without question" "don't talk unless spoken too" I've no doubt you'll begin to discover a lot of Family Rules once you sit and think about them. The question then becomes which ones are you still adhering to in your adult life, and do you need to get rid of them?
Have a think about your Family Rules, make some notes, and share them with your Therapist/Coach so they can assist you in gaining greater insight.
If you had a Narcissistic Mother head over to Peg Streeps facebook page as she is an endless and intelligent resource in this area. Peg Streep FB