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.
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