Monday, January 26, 2009

It'll Never Happen to Me and Other Silly Notions

We humans are a silly lot. We think we can control way more things than we really can. Then we hold it against ourselves or others when it doesn't work out. We want better for ourselves and family but may not be able to figure out how to accomplish that.

We do what we know. We are a direct product of our history learning from the things we are exposed to over our lifetime. Especially as children, we soak up the examples of our parents and other significant figures around us whether we like their behaviors or not.

Even though we may not like the way we were raised and have vowed not to be like that, there are aspects of that behavior we cling to because they are comfortable. We don't really understand how the things we have embraced feed into the ones we want to reject.

Then when stressed we do what we have learned even though it may not be what is best for us or the situation. It may or may not be as abusive as we remember but it will be destructive none the less. Then we wonder why in the heck that happened.

It's simple really. As I said before, we know what we know. We are limited to that. We can only do what we know how to do. If we want to do differently we must "learn" different skills.

Just believing that "It'll Never Happen to Me" does not work. That's why Claudia Black wrote that darn book trying to guide us towards "learning" new skills and away from old destructive ones. First we need to recognize what those games are all about. Then we have to find new ways to replace them and practice, practice, practice so when stressful times come we have something to rely on.

If we want to shed the old family dynamics we must get rid of ALL of those old family rules. We cannot hang onto the one's we think work for us. We must establish new boundaries and enforce them even though it feels hard, awkward and uncomfortable and that destructive family fights us tooth and nail.

It is not an easy journey. That is why they call it The Road Less Travelled (by Robert Peck) It is a painful journey with lots of winding bumpy roads and more than it's share of tears. But the only way to truly break through and live the life we dream of is to travel this road each painful step.

Dealing with the upset family members who claim we are responsible for their feelings is a part of this test. It can not be accomplished without sticking to the plan and standing up for ourselves. Believing it is just easier to go the course we know leaves us stuck in the pain we claim we wish to leave.

Sure, we're going to falter along the way and take steps backwards. We'll acquiesce when we don't want to because we didn't have the strength at the time. That is all a part of the journey. We must accept that and not defame ourselves because of perceived weakness. It is about honoring ourselves and believing no matter how bumpy the journey.


Ethereal Highway said...

Hi, RR. My husband helped me put up the Tinkerbell poster tonight. I think that sort of goes with the topic of your post. I couldn't wait to tell you.

Rising Rainbow said...

Lynn, Good for you! I think that's just wonderful......and you're right, it does tie in with the post. Thanks for letting me know.

dinkleberries said...

I feel like you were talking directly to me. =)
Truly it is a struggle and it is hard to trust one's instincts when they are so bent by a dysfunctional family and how does a child argue with God when the parents use the Bible to control and manipulate?
One thing, it has been a blessing to learn that even though my mom thought she was doing the right thing by staying married to my dad (cuz the Bible said so) and in so doing left us all (six kids) a wreck to one degree or another, that folks who understand Scripture deeper would never tell her to stay with the man. And now she realizes that she would never ask her grandaughters to stay married to a man that behaved the way my dad did.
Dr. Laura says "Do the right thing!" But I always have to ask, "Is this the right thing? . . . or what I was raised with?" She gets real impatient with folks like me.
One thing I have come to discern is that when someone gives me some advice, if it doesn't resonate in my heart, I can't/won't follow that advice. But it really does clarify that issue for me.
This is the root of why I am struggling with the situation with my younger sister regarding my mom's recuperation from the hosp.
As a rule she is very wise and makes good decisions for herself and her family and I admire and respect her for that. Funny when I read what I wrote, it strikes me that B and I were supposed to put our lives on hold for mom (cuz the docs were trying to figure out if mom had cancer or not a few days previous), yet mom hauls off to MI for two weeks without a hitch. I'm convinced we made the right decision, just don't know how to help the SB get over her tantrum w/o getting my head taken off.
Well if I'm talking to myself, mayhaps I'll eventually talk myself through this, can't be any worse than going to a shrink, all they do is listen and don't give any substantial feedback either. lol

Syd said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. This is a good post. I soaked up a lot of my parents, both in terms of nature and nurture. I'm undoing some of that now.

Enola said...

I had a therapy exercise once where I had to list the "rules" of my family and then try to figure out ways to get rid of them.

Kahless said...

I think I will dig out my copy of the Road Less Travelled. Havent read it for years...

Rising Rainbow said...

dinkleberries, funny how that happens with posts sometimes. I'll bet you're not the only one that thinks the same thing.

As it is it was intended for a number of my regular readers. I know that getting this sorted out was a big part of my healing process.

Also when I read your comment about a shrink being silent and not helpful, my mind immediately jumped to that's what groups are for. They're a great place to get things identified and get ideas for solutions.

Syd, thanks for stopping in. I'm glad to hear that you are figuring out what is useful for you and what isn't. I wish you luck in that process. It sure can be a freeing one.

Enola, yes, I had one of those too. I actually make a New Rule Book. I still take it out from time to time and look it over.

Kahless, I was thinking the same thing here lately. I know it's one of those books that you see different things in depending on where you are in your life and, of course, your process.

I remember the first time I read the book it was really affirming to actually "see" in print that the process is difficult and lots of people don't ever finish because of that. It gave me some kind of boost to keep on going despite the pain and the back lash. It also helped me to see why others preferred to stay stuck. I knew I didn't want to go back where I'd been, so I didn't want any part of that.

It would be an interesting book to do a "study" group with, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if we realize how dysfunctional it all was until we're adults and can stand back and really look at it. Scary.