Every once in awhile I run across an article that hits a tender and mending spot. For many years my emotions were unavailable to me and in extension to my children. I didn’t do this on purpose. It has to do with how I was raised. I am working at changing it. I change slowly.
This article discusses emotionally neglectful families. What I appreciate most are the suggestions on how to change it. I do understand that with some families change is not an option. Many times my counselor would suggest a change and to try it with anyone accept my mother. I already started some of these. A few will push my abilities to the max but I think family and friends are worth getting out of my comfort zone to make a better connection.
The main tips from the article to improve relationships:
- Know that this problem is not about you, nor is it caused by you. You are simply a victim of it.
- Understand that your family members most likely are not doing this on purpose; in fact they probably don’t realize that anything is wrong.
- Before you go to your family holiday gathering, pause a moment to prepare. Remind yourself of the family’s limitations, and that it’s not your fault. Gather your emotional strength, and do your best to lower your expectations.
- Try to stop looking to family members for that warm holiday feeling. Sadly, they cannot give you what they themselves don’t have.
- Think about other people in your life who can give you the feeling of belonging, connection, support, validation and love. Your spouse perhaps? Your friends? Your own children? These are the people to try to join with this holiday.
- Consider breaking the code. If your CEN family is not harsh – a more kind, benign type of family, you can surprise everyone this holiday season. Deliver some talk about your feelings or needs. Talk about some negative topic, or express your affection for someone. You may make some people uncomfortable, but discomfort can be a good thing.
- Start working on the effects of the CEN that you grew up with. Get in touch with your feelings, learn how to listen to them, use them and share them. And above all, make sure that you don’t pass your CEN down to your own children.