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In my first video of how to use the Chakra Cards in a weekly video entry that I’ve just started (see it here), the first question that came up was “How would you describe your relationship with your family of birth?”
It’s not very fair of me to ask that question of others, without answering it myself!
This is challenging to write as I don’t want to embarrass or upset any of my family but I also want to be deeply authentic with the truth of the situation from where I was and am. I have done an enormous amount of work over the years with counsellors about these first important relationships, particularly around my parents.
I had a lovely childhood, my parents worked hard and we went camping at Christmas and Easter and they remain my fondest childhood memories. I am the eldest of four children and I believe my parents did the very best that they could. I, unfortunately, had undiagnosed depression for all of my childhood and had social anxiety which persists today to a lesser extent. Today, I probably would have fallen in the autism spectrum somewhere, but in those days, it was rare and unheard of, particularly in girls. As a result, I’ve learned how to manage my emotions and social anxieties in a way that works for me.
So, in answer to the above question, I would have to say ‘distant’ is the answer. I don’t feel any closeness or intimacy with my family of birth. I love them and am certain that they love me, but I don’t feel close to them in the same way I am with my own children, or my best girlfriends. This makes me sad. I would like to be close to them and one of the reasons I live where I do is to develop some closeness with my brother who has been distant to us for about 20 years. Unfortunately, that means I am geographically separated from the rest of my family of birth and cannot build that closeness that I crave with them at the same time.
At the same time that I crave it, I am wary of it. I am wary of being hurt, of being rejected, of being judged and criticised – even though they are probably not doing those things, but what’s that saying: “if you think you’re enlightened, go and live with your family”? They are trigger pushers. They don’t mean to be, it is just who they are, and why would I want them to be anything other than who they are? But family has this way of pushing those parts of yourself that you don’t want to see or deal with.
I have learned to walk away in conflict because I know if I stand my ground with them, I’ll get angry and say something that I’ll regret. I’m also terrible with quick repartee, debating is not my strong point. So I create space to debrief, so I can think, centre myself and say what I really want to. I know not to talk about politics or the environment with my family and even my beliefs and I probably should. What better way to test myself and my ability to stay calm in the midst of a storm than arguing with family!!
The consequence of this walking away, is that they never truly get to see who I am.
And that’s sad.
I only allow them to see the parts of me that I want.
Ironically (or is that perfectly), I see that is how I am in all relationships. I keep people at a distance. I am wary. I find it hard to trust people not to attack me. I am completely myself with my kids and increasingly I’m throwing caution to the wind and dancing as I walk down the street, letting myself just be, well, me because in truth, how others treat me is more a reflection of themselves than me and life’s too short to be less than who you are! I see the patterns in my life and I am grateful for them.
I have learned an enormous amount about myself from my family of birth and I am so very grateful for being born into this family. I don’t think any family is perfect in the tradition of television families!! But I do think that every family is perfect for us. We learn what we need from them and it has taken me a very long time to accept my mother, in particular, for who she is. If she hadn’t been how she was, I would not be who I am today.
So while I would describe my relationship with my family of birth as distant, I would also say that I’m incredibly grateful for what is and I hope that one day I can have that closeness that comes with breaking down my walls, trusting them not to hurt me and letting them in.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2016
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