What Were The Rules in Your Family?

Every family has a set of laws for siblings : “Never mash spaghetti into your sister’s hair.” “Do not slug your brother.” “Always look out for your sister.” These rules allow the family to function.
But many family rules are silent and unfair. Usually no one writes them down, but they get deeply scrawled in indelible ink on our cerebrum. At times hushed codes are a deadly narrative for sibling “I Hate You” stories.
Silent but deadly sibling rules can be like:
“You sister is the oldest so do what she says even if it’s not fair.” “ Boys get more of everything in our family”, “ She’s the youngest so she’s more special than you.”
These unspoken rules can set off grudges and excruciating pain both in the past and later in life. Ambiguous, unjust, and riddled with double binds, these silent family laws can be treacherous. The brutal effects of these family cannons might simmer for decades. But when we get to middle age, the results can take on an incendiary life of their own making you feel that you hate the sibling you want to love

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About momlovesyoubest

Cathy Cress holds an MSW in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. Her new book Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships , New Horizon Press, was published October 2010. Cress’s book , Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Jones and Bartlett, is the bible of geriatric care management and is out out in a third edition in February 2011 .Her book Care Managers, Working With the Aging Family, Jones and Bartlett,2008 is one of the few major books on the aging family. Ms. Cress is the founder of GCM Consult ,working with small and national who want to add or launch GCM businesses. She is on the faculty at the University of Florida in their on line master’s in geriatric care management -GCM . She has taught geriatric care management at San Francisco State University , UC Berkeley and teaches at Cabrillo College and San Mateo College. She was founder and director of Cresscare, a GCM business, for 25 years.
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