Why does family make you act like a completely different person?
You’ve been working on yourself so much over the last few years. You feel like a totally different person. The things that once used to make you cry don’t even bother you anymore. The comments you used to get stressed about are not even a worry.
You drive up to your childhood home and all of a sudden, you’re transported to all of the memories, good and bad, from those first 18 years of your life.
You promised yourself this year would be different, this year you’ll be the bigger person, this year you’ll have a new level of self-control.
But here you are, storming out of the house on Thanksgiving because your mother made a comment about how you’ll always struggle to be successful in your career.
What is it about family that brings up so many emotions?
Because you have years and years of practiced family dynamics that are comfortable to stay in. Why? Because change is stinking hard. Your brain loves how easy it is to jump back to how you would have responded when you were 17 instead of responding the way present-day-you might to your boss or roommate.
Here’s a hint: Healing takes place in relationship.
It’s in actively choosing to respond differently that you begin to heal, rather than being stuck because you’re defaulting to your usual frustrated comments and spending the next hour arguing about something that’s, let’s be honest, is completely unrelated to what’s actually going on here.
You can’t practice healing until you’re looking someone in the face, letting the emotions come up, assessing what is it you’re feeling/where it’s coming from/what beliefs you have around them that you’ll truly heal that dynamic.
Family/old friends/extended family members trigger specific things that spouses/bosses/roommates can’t. In fact, you usually don’t even know those feelings and beliefs are there until you’re face to face with your passive aggressive dad’s remarks.
But there's hope. You're not stuck here. You get to choose how you want to move forward.