Life Skills Unlimited

Lisa H. Lang, Ph.D.

110 Red Oak Lane
Flower Mound, TX 75028
972-724-0748
214-797-5504

Thoughts lead to
Feelings lead to
Behavior

“I think, therefore I feel.”

Blog > Family Counseling

Licensed Professional Counselor
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist
Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

helping vs hurting


Families are important units that help us learn skills that we use in our everyday lives. However, sometimes parents or other management figures in the unit may be unhealthy in how to direct the family.

Some adults may want to control the flow of communication between other family members thus separating members vs encouraging everyone to work toward the best and healthiest outcome for all. That member may attempt to separate out certain people and “get them on their side” by gossiping about other members.

That is a form of control and passive-aggressive behavior. Often the manipulative member will attempt to use triangulation to put a third member between themselves and someone with whom they are in usual conflict. This behavior creates severe distancing for members of a family. In other words, family members turn on each other in a negative and maladaptive way which diminishes the strength of the family (in all ways). A manipulative person will usually attempt to pull the children over to their side; it is easier to manipulate a child because they want to please parents.

The dysfunctional family dynamics with children usually have the classic golden child and scapegoat. The unhealthy parent/caregiver splits their own good self-image and bad self-image into two distinct parts and then projects them onto their children. The golden child is idealized and the scapegoat child is devalued. If there is only one child, then both devalued and valued may be projected on the child – not usually at the same time.

Adults in the family unit are avoiding their responsibilities of being honest and direct about their own issues. They are misplacing their childhood and current difficulties onto the children who have no way out. It is the adults’ responsibility to communicate with each other and resolve their separate and combined issues vs dragging the children into something they have no control over.

Health communication is about openness and genuineness as you move forward resolving conflicts rather than creating them. Take a step back and objectively evaluate what is really happening and then create a plan to resolve the issues.

Learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills to:
Communicate Effectively
Problem Solve
Team Play/Work

we are a unit


If I continue to behave the same old way – the other person will behave the same old way. Ask: What changes do I want? Then begin to act “as if” those changes have occurred. Act/behave the way you want things to be. Remember: I teach people how to treat me. If I go on and allow toxic actions toward me, the toxic person will continue with that destructive behavior.

Family members are a unit that has common experiences. Each member may have different goals and expectations. If each family member is respectful of the others, the unit is more likely to survive in a healthy way.

What each member does affects others – especially people that we share a living space with and we say we love and care about their welfare. Consider your actions before selfishly doing things that are destructive for self and others. We all contribute to the peace and health of a family unit – parents and children contribute.

You may think that your daily habits of drinking alcohol, smoking, eating junk, yelling, blaming, spending,… effects only you – STOP – think clearly. See and acknowledge the other people that are a significant part of your life. How are your behaviors affecting them?

Imagine a wheel with spokes and see how all the spokes hold the wheel together – that’s how units work. Each part of the unit effects the other parts. We know that we do not make other people do things; however, we influence each other’s behaviors – just like the spokes of that wheel.

Change your behaviors to be healthier; mentally and physically. Demonstrate caring for self and others in the way you behave in all areas of your life. Just saying I care about you is not enough. Actions speak louder than words.

You may feel wounded from your childhood and now you have an opportunity to correct what you believe others messed up. Use this opportunity wisely. There may be fewer opportunities in the future. Treat yourself and others the way you would want your best friend to be treated. Begin NOW to appreciate self & others you say you care about.

Learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills to:
Communicate Effectively
Problem Solve
Team Play/Work

friend or foe

 
When you think of your family of origin, what is your first thought? Do you think of them as: friend or foe? Family of origin is the family unit in which you were raised. It is not necessarily your biological family. Family of origin is the small unit that cared for you as a child. This unit has considerable impact on your development; how you relate to others, your mental and physical health, your view of future.

We may think it is our obligation to help or to love any one or all of that unit. Stop and ask yourself – did I have a choice in this event? Did I choose to be in this family unit? If I wasn’t connected to this person or people by birth or by no choosing of my own, what obligation do I have to them? Am I stuck with having to be troubled by them for the remainder of my life? Or, do I get a choice.

Perhaps that choice will be to move away from them. Maybe it would be better for me if I chose to form a separate bond with others that are healthier and moving forward. Perhaps I will choose to maintain a limited relationship with family of origin.

Families can be wonderful and helpful. As our first source of social contact, they teach us how to live, how to interact with others, and how to make our way in the world. They are also the first group of people we learn to trust or distrust. Our family of origin is largely responsible for the formation of our thought patterns and behaviors, especially when it comes to relationships. When this impact is negative, we carry those hurts with us into our other relationships. When the impact is positive, it helps us develop self-confidence and determination.

Learn to recognize your biases and preferences and make a careful and factual decision about the kind of relationship you want with people who are a part of your life. You do have a choice.

Learn Cognitive Behavioral Skills to:
Communicate Effectively
Problem Solve
Team Play/Work

For more counseling information:

Life Skills Unlimited
110 Red Oak Lane
Flower Mound, TX 75028
972-724-0748
214-797-5504
© 2021 Life Skills Unlimited & Dr. Lisa H. Lang, PhD. All Rights Reserved.

Lisa H. Lang Ph.D. is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) & marriage and family therapist (LMFT) located in Flower Mound, TX with over 30 years experience. She is a Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and life coach offering psychotherapy, hypnosis, and other solutions to those seeking counseling. Dr. Lang is conveniently located to residents of Flower Mound, Lewisville, Carrollton, Southlake, Grapevine, Coppell, and the Dallas/Fort Worth area.