Posted at 5:51 am on November 23, 2010 by Tovah
The holidays are a great time to perform what I call “Family Experiments”. Holidays inevitably bring out the best and worst in a family, with all the dynamics revealing themselves as you reconvene with the members of your family. Some of us are unaware of these dynamics and some are painfully aware.
Our families, as imperfect as they are, root us to the earth. It is our job to figure out our role in our or families if we want to move through hurt, pain, and those long lasting dynamics. Even if our family is fragmented and separate and we have written them off and formed a new family, their legacy still lives in each of us and there is no real escaping from it.
So, family experiment has to do with figuring out who you are in your family. Are you the jokester that likes to detract from awkward and potentially conflictual conversations? Are you the quiet one that never puts yourself out there as you see other members mowing each other over? Are you the sarcastic one that puts everyone’s ideas down to avoid connection? Are you the peacemaker that tries to calm everyone down in the midst of conflict? Are you argumentative and defensive, trying to preserve yourself from rejection?
These are just some examples. Once you can pick out what your role has been or is, you can do something different this Thanksgiving. If you are an instigator, sit quietly. If you are the peacemaker, let people fight. If you are shy and quiet, start talking and sharing your thoughts. You will be amazed at the both positive and negative reactions you receive as you change your part in the dynamic.
One more thing, not all families are stuck in childhood, reliving the same dynamic over and over. Perhaps you have changed and the family has changed as well. So, keep in mind that some dynamics change over time, and some stay the same…another experiment is to try and figure out which is which.
Thanks so much, Tovah, for another great article! Be sure to visit Tovah’s blog for more family and relationship tips.