Play it Real this Holiday Season
Tis the Season, Right?
Well, for many people the idea of getting with family presents a challenge. “Can’t we all just get along?”
Therapists love the Holidays because it is job security. When people go home it is easy to pick the old role you use to play when you were a child. It is a survival role and while it may have helped you in some way, it is not who you are today. Here are a few roles people fall into when they return home:
- Hero – If I am good enough it will make everyone feel better and be better
- Scapegoat/Rebel – I will take the focus off of the dysfunction in my family and I will be the problem
- Clown – I will keep people laughing so they won’t deal with the pain or any serious issues
- Mascot – I am the darling of the family, the one that walks in the room and is beloved just because
- Lost Child – I escape to my own world using electronics or whatever necessary to avoid interaction
Most people grow out of these roles as we mature and gain more awareness, but the patterns are automatic when we return home or we are under stress. One does not even have to think about these behaviors; they are waiting on you just like an ole familiar comfort zone will.
There is also a pecking order, or in Focus talk a “power model.” Where do you fit in the family hierarchy? Watch how your pets will establish dominance. Who will be the “alpha” dog? The same is true in the family. Who has to establish their position? You may not feel you need to until you find yourself in some meaningless argument that you would have ignored completely in any other situation. In other words, you are not really fighting over who should be President or what team should win in the playoffs, as much as trying to get needs met that did not get met when you were younger. Or it could be the family trying to keep its order, or what is called “homeostasis.” The old order, or homeostasis, is based on old norms when you were younger and not representive of your growth and maturity today.
So this Holiday YOU can take your AWARENESS with you and not get caught up in the “auto pilot,” or comfort zone of the family. BE YOU! BE the Wise, Aware YOU. Avoid the entrapments that can happen as others play out these roles. Remember your boundaries that work for you today and they will work for you at home for the Holidays. Take breaks that allow you to maintain your sense of self and awareness. When you start to feel tension, take a step back and try to see what is really going on. What is your stuff and what belongs to others? It really does help to know your stuff and own it. Be quick to apologize when you do blow it and let others know you are a work in progress. This will model what others can do when they blow it too.
Enjoy your time off and take care of yourself, Emotionally, Mentally, Physically, and Spiritually. In Focus terms “find good fuel!”
Merry Christmas and many blessing for the New Year,
- Wayne McKamie, Jr.
President and Co-Founder of Focus Seminars of KC, INC.