Breaking the Trend…and Finding Your Own Path
“By choosing our path we choose our destination.” -Thomas S. Monson
It is important to work on ourselves as individuals, but also to look at patterns that exist within our family. By doing this we can identify unhealthy, recurring themes through generations. As a therapist I have encountered individuals who have struggled in understanding the origins of their behaviors.
Through therapy, we come to discover that examining our family history is extremely important. It can help us to look at patterns/ behaviors in the family that have continued to grow and have been unknowingly passed on through generations.
Examples of common patterns or themes that I have observed:
- Alcoholism/Substance Abuse- history of any substance abuse, sobriety or continued use
- Mental Health Issues- mental health diagnosis within the family
- Negative Communication Patterns- negative style of interactions within your family
- Family Discord with members- family members that you do not communicate with
- Divorce/separation- patterns of many divorces or separations
- Anger Issues- legal troubles due to anger issues; how anger is managed?
- Eating Disorders- unhealthy eating patterns
- Gender Roles- head of the household, shared responsibility; how do you function together as family?
- Physical/Emotional Abuse- domestic violence; isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation
In order to begin this process of identifying patterns in your family, here are some questions to think about:
- Growing up was there a lot of yelling, anger, and disrespect?
- Was each person in the house treated with dignity and compassion?
- Did you trust your family members, and, most of all, did you trust your parents?
- Was there any physical abuse or violence in the family?
- Were you loved in the way you wanted to be as a child?
- Were there any signs of substance abuse?
- Were there any signs of neglect?
- Was my opinion valued in the home, and was I important enough?
- Did my parents listen to me?
Creating a genogram can help identify family patterns and years of dysfunction that have been passed on member to member. By definition, a family genogram creates a pictoral display of family relationships and medical history. It is a tool to help find repetitive behavior patterns in an interplay of generations that affect our lives negatively. If you feel you have been struggling with understanding your behavior and have been caught up in family patterns and trends, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. One of our trained counselors can help you to identify patterns, themes, and help you to find your own path. Contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment.