Which sibling is organizing Thanksgiving this year- like they organize everything- then tell you what to do. ? Who will drive the fancier car to the meal and brag about it at dinner Will just the midlife daughters clean up the meal while the brothers sit bloated in front of the football game? What are your family rules?
Many family rules are silent.- 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 “I Hate You” stories.
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. Let’s look at two family vignettes penned invisibly.
Daryl’s old family rule tells him to never stop trying to beat brother Mike. Sister Ginger’s imperfect operating system tells her that boys get the biggest share and girls the leftovers. These old broken operating systems remain in our brain, substituting for the real universe in the here and now.
This coming holiday, take a look at your family rules as you gather to give thanks with your family. Which rules as good rules and your incredibly glad you have them. Which rules are bad broken and in serious need of changing?