“The family you come from isn’t as important as the family you’re going to have.” – Ring Lardner
As holidays approach we are usually with family. This can be any assortment of individuals these days. Step whatever’s, same sex partners, in-laws, (that’s always fun!), and those mixes of the generations. Whatever the composite is there will no doubt be a variety of mixed feelings. Many of these will be revisits from past times and years. The feeling parts do not disappear. In some cases, they get worse. If fueled with alcohol the real junk comes out earlier and easier.
Now that doesn’t mean that family times are bad or uncomfortable but it does mean that being aware of your feelings and how you deal with them can make all the difference in a happy or horrific holiday get together.
Parents can like or not like the way their grown children have developed. They may like or not like the in-law partner. Competitive siblings go at it subtlety or not. There may be disagreements with the way the grandchildren are being raised… and so on.
What can happen is that your personal intimate relationship may be torn apart as a result. The ‘taking of sides’ is not uncommon. The allegiances and protective gear come out This is where the real differences between you and your partner become crystal clear. If you get it out it can cause disruption. If you’ suck it up’ you can end up with a gall bladder full of bile in later years!
Sitting around the holiday table you can see it and hear it.
The real feelings of who likes or loves one another is evident no matter what is said or done. You FEEL it!
We all learn how to BE from our growing up. We learn a role and we usually keep it for life.
Your order of birth sets a tone. Whether you were a wanted child and a preferred male or female also factors in here.
Then your personality comes into play and you have a role in your family.
Now that can be, the intelligent one, the clown, the peacemaker and so on. You know what it is.
In the family you make you continue to act it out. How secure you are as a person and how comfortable you are with allowing and respecting differences will all show your maturation.
In every close relationship you can observe the dynamics of whether the male is more father, son, or lover. In the females she is also mother, daughter and lover.
When people are not fully developed the relationships are more parent and child.
In the real intimate ones the pair are mainly lover to lover. It is not easy to get there and to have it for a long time.
If you get two only or first born children, there are familiar patterns with a lot of competition.
With middle children they have learned how to compromise and negotiate, usually. They are easy to get along with and not as ‘successful’ as the first group.
With babies of families they can just be and are the delight and spoiled members of families.
When babies choose a ‘baby’ partner there can be big problems. Both are needy.
Now that all doesn’t mean that in every relationship there aren’t times when we need to be parented, or childlike. It also means at times we need to be the ‘strong’ one. It merely means that for the most part in the grown up version the lover to lover is the dominant theme.
In that relationship the respect and willingness to ‘do’ just because you ‘love’ is paramount.
What fun it is too!!
Sex, of course, is another big factor here and only adds to the pleasure.
The trick at these family holidays is to be on guard for your role and do not let anything, said or unsaid, get in the way of fusing you and the people you love together; mainly your partner.
If anyone can cause that you are in trouble. And yes there are people in families that want to cause just that result… separating you for their own reasons. BEWARE!!
Having a meaningful and joyous family time lives on in memories as well as the uncomfortable memories. Make yours work for you!
“The successful mother sets her children free and becomes more free herself in the process” – Robert J. Havighurst