Page 16 - NewFamilyJune05

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We now have arrived at the first and most important step in getting
started. We must establish who is in charge here.
You are the expert on your relationships. Not I. You know them
instinctively. Intuitively. You can walk around the edges or straight through
the middle of a family get-together blindfolded and know where every mine is
planted. You are close enough to see the details, hear the dialogue. Familiar
enough with the signals that pass back and forth to slip into your role in the
family drama unconsciously and on cue.
The problem is that you are standing on the inside looking out. From that
position you can’t see the big picture and access all that valuable information.
You need to clear away the emotional clutter before you can decode what’s
going on
I, on the other hand, am standing on the outside looking in. From there,
my view is clear because I am able to see the big picture. If you step outside
your family circle and stand alongside me you’ll be able to look at your family
from my perspective, as well as your own. Together we can help each other get
to the bottom of the problem.
The Back Story
When we were children, our families, by their example, taught us how to
relate to one another. Our family provided a microcosm, a small picture, of the
big world outside. But there are healthy ways of relating and unhealthy ways.
A quick test to find out which side of the fence you fall on is to ask yourself the
question, “How did my parents handle conflict?”
If your answer is that conflicts were seldom if ever resolved, you have
probably learned unhealthy ways of dealing with conflict. If so, the next
question would obviously be, “What did each parent do instead?”
Now check your answers to both questions and picture your present
relationships; at work, at home, and with friends. How do
handle conflict?
Do you deal with it? Do you deny it? Do you avoid it? Do you stuff your
feelings in order to steel yourself against the fear the problem is never going to
go away? Against the fear that it will surface over and over again?
Make a mental note, right now, that you do not operate in a vacuum.
There are historical reasons why you do the things you do.
This is your “back
story,” the story screenwriters refer to as the hidden story behind the main
story, baggage each character carries from his past as he enters the story that is
about to be told to make it ring true to life.
Our own “back story” serves the same purpose. It fills in the blanks and
helps us understand why we do the things we do. Up to now our birth family has
influenced everything we think and do. We need to spend time looking at it.
What about therapy?
At this point I must say that, although I think this book will help many, I
have not intended that it be used in place of therapy. I believe in family
therapy. Passionately. It works when people are motivated to change and stick