Struggling With Family Roles


In our families of origin, we all played a part; the oldest, the funny one, the responsible one, the athlete, the baby, the quiet one, etc. Personality, placement in the family hierarchy, and family conditions combined to create a little niche. As we mature and create lives of our own outside the family of origin, what happens to these original roles?

Sometimes they are left by the wayside out of necessity; it is hard to be “the funny one” when you have to find a job to feed your family. Sometimes these roles are simply outgrown; achieving the title of ‘grandmother’ necessitates you give up the title of ‘the baby’.

Sometimes, though, it is possible to get stuck in this part. I find, for example, it is very easy to go about my daily life, managing my businesses, schooling my kids, running the house, planning how things would be if I ever really am in charge of the Universe (I believe in being prepared). When my attention is forced back to my family of origin, however, it is a struggle not to slip into ‘the baby’ role (and all that entails)

I handle situations differently, my style of communication changes, and all the old unhealthy tapes play loud and clear. I may be a very intelligent, capable 36 year old woman, but in my mind, I’m still the 4 year old with the pigtails hoping my older siblings will make it all better. It is like my 18 years of adulthood never happened.

We spend the first part of our lives establishing who we are and the remainder trying to perfect or erase those patterns. It is not an easy thing to move a tire out of a rut, but when familial contact entails the erasure of any personal growth, it’s time to change the tires, baby!  
All the best,  

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