Improve your personal relationships. Most people’s lives are complicated by family relationships. Birth order, our parents’ relationship, and the “rules” we were brought up with can affect our self-esteem and relationships with spouses, children, and other family members. Family of Origin therapy and techniques can help you create better relationships. This easy-to-read, practical book explains how families function and what you can do to change the way you act in your family and with other people. Exercises show...
Improve your personal relationships. Most people’s lives are complicated by family relationships. Birth order, our parents’ relationship, and the “rules” we were brought up with can affect our self-esteem and relationships with spouses, children, and other family members. Family of Origin therapy and techniques can help you create better relationships. This easy-to-read, practical book explains how families function and what you can do to change the way you act in your family and with other people. Exercises show how to apply the principles to your own situation and develop a more positive approach to all aspects of your life. Topics covered include:
* What makes it so difficult to be myself with my family?
* How is my relationship with my spouse affected by how my family acted when I was a child?
* Will my parents still love me if I let them know my real feelings?
* How has my birth order and my gender affected my personality?
* What birth order in a spouse is the best match for me?
* Why do I always feel rejected when my spouse disagrees with me?
* How can I change the way I react?
* What role does my family history play in my life?
* How can I improve my communication skills?
Step-by-step exercises show how to make contact with “lost” family members, how to interview relatives to develop a clearer picture of how each member fits into the family tree, and how to find different and better ways of dealing with family relationships. Professionals will also find this book a useful companion to their therapy sessions with clients.
Dr. Ronald W. Richardson, BA, MDiv, DMin, has been a marriage counselor and family therapist since 1976. He retired in 1996. He was formerly the Executive Director and Director of Training at the North Shore Counselling Centre in British Columbia. He was also on the faculty of the Pacific Coast Family Therapy Training Association. He is active as a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and is a Diplomate of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.
1 INTRODUCTION 1
2 FAMILIES ARE STRANGE CREATURES 8
1. The Hip Bone’s Connected to the Thigh Bone —
How Families Work 8
2. Eat Your Spinach — Rules in the Family 12
3 YOU NEVER TALK TO ME — CLOSENESS AND DISTANCE
AMONG FAMILY MEMBERS 17
1. Come Closer — Not Too Close 17
2. Appearances Are Deceiving 20
3. All the World Wants a Mommy 22
4 YOU’RE NOT BETTER, JUST DIFFERENT —
DEALING WITH DIFFERENCES 24
1. I Say Tomato, You Say Tomahto —
Anxiety about Differences 24
2. Do It My Way or Else — The Demand for Sameness 26
2.1 “I only want what you want, dear” —
The compliant ones 26
2.2 “I did it my way” — The rebels 29
2.3 “I’m the king of the mountain” — The attackers 30
2.4 “Bye-bye” — The cutoff 33
vi Family ties that bind
5 HOW TO BE TRUE TO YOURSELF AND STILL HAVE FRIENDS 35
1. Free to Be Me — Being Yourself and Knowing
Who That Is 35
1.1 Being goal-directed 37
1.2 Distinguishing between thinking and feeling 38
2. Stuck in the Mess — Fusion 41
3. You Made Me Do It — Being Responsible for Yourself 45
4. Let Mother Take Care of It — Under-Functioning and Over-Functioning 47
4.1 Negative consequences 47
4.2 Positive consequences 49
5. Conclusion 49
6 TRIANGLES IN RELATIONSHIPS 52
1. Three’s a Crowd — What Is a Triangle Anyway? 53
2. How Triangles Operate 57
3. You and Me Against Her — The Meaning of Coalitions in Triangles 61
4. The World Is a Stage — Roles in the Triangle 67
7 WHO’S ON FIRST? — BIRTH ORDER AND
GENDER POSITION IN THE FAMILY OF ORIGIN 71
1. The Oldest Child 75
1.1 Oldest sister of sisters 77
1.2 Oldest sister of brothers 77
1.3 Oldest brother of brothers 78
1.4 Oldest brother of sisters 79
2. The Youngest Child 80
2.1 Youngest sister of sisters 81
2.2 Youngest sister of brothers 82
2.3 Youngest brother of brothers 83
2.4 Youngest brother of sisters 83
3. The Middle Child 84
4. The Only Child 87
4.1 Male only child 88
4.2 Female only child 89
5. Twins 90
8 DOING THE WORK 92
Step 1 — The Begats: Who Is in Your Family? 93
Step 2 — Hello, Mom. Remember Me?:
Contacting Family Members 97
Step 3 — Developing a History 100
Step 4 — Dr. Livingston, I Presume?: Researching 102
Step 5 — You Can Go Home Again: Making Family Visits 107
Step 6 — This Is Me, Like It or Not: Differentiating 113
Step 7 — Redoing It 118
9 THE AUTHOR’S OWN FAMILY OF ORIGIN WORK 120
1. My Own Family Circumstances 121
1.1 My family diagram 123
2. Starting the Work 125
3. The Work Progresses 127
4. Dealing with Triangles 130
5. Differentiation of Self 132
6. Conclusion 134
Family Research 135
Finding Professional Help For Doing Family Of Origin Work 139