Re-imagining Roles (February 2020)

Oct 22, 2020
 

 

"When you begin to define yourself without the lenses of trauma, there will be a reinventing of either your whole self or parts of the self. This is necessary."

A vital part of our healing process is understanding yourself. Who am I? What happened to help me become this way? What are the things that I like; What are the things I don't? What are the things that I want to change? What things am I  choosing to stay the same? All of these questions come into your mind during your journey and the answers come as you do the work of healing.

 

When you begin to define yourself without the lenses of trauma, there will be a reinventing of either your whole self or parts of the self. This is necessary. You begin the work of understanding why you make the choices that you make and, hopefully, identify the origins of your behaviors so that you can make different choices. These questions and shifts you are making create changes in you. As you create changes, you will see differences in your relationships and as the relationships change you will likely need to reimagine your role in your relationships. 

"Sometimes the relationships are grounded in our need for survival and the connections give us something we think we need."

This is the hardest part. The relationships we have, typically, serve us for a reason.  Sometimes the relationships are grounded in our need for survival and the connections give us something we think we need. Maybe it's a venting partner. Maybe it's a distraction. Maybe you engage in behavior with that person that keeps you feeling safe in a way you believe you need. One example of this, and often the relationship that we need to shift the most, is the relationship with our parents. 

 

As I watch various people on this healing journey (clients, family, friends or colleagues) I notice that we fall into patterns with our parents that mimic the parts of ourselves that are still healing. This part of ourself is the part with the most traumatic experiences and, often the most intense visceral responses. Because, for many of us, this part of the self is stuck in the experience of trauma and many of us have significant experiences of trauma as children, we often respond to our parents in the same ways we did as children or in the ways that hurt child wished they could.

"Your roles with those in your life will change...and that's okay. It is actually preferred, just ensure you are choosing your responses based on the dynamics you desire to have." 

Maybe you grew up in a home with extensive emotional and/or physical abuse. Maybe your parent was emotionally or physically absent. Maybe you witnessed domestic violence or experienced great financial need. Often we develop coping skills as children to deal with our environment and keep us safe. You may feel the need to be overly pleasing, meet financial needs of parents, be a perfectionist, refrain from having certain conversations or avoid your parents all together. We make assumptions about what our parents need from us and how we need to respond without even questioning it. It is likely that you respond the same way to others you care about as well.  

As you go on your healing journey your relationship with yourself and others will change. You will start to question your thoughts, your behaviors and the behaviors of others. Things that once seemed "natural" or you did automatically will no longer seem to make sense to you. You will want to know: why you are making these choices, why others make their choices and will likely stop and think before you choose your behaviors. Your roles with those in your life will change...and that's okay. It is actually preferred, just ensure you are choosing your responses based on the dynamics you desire to have. 

"A new you will create a need for new types of connections with others. ."

This process will feel uncomfortable as you are making shifts and asking others to shift as well. Sometimes others will not want to change and you may lose some relationships all together. This may make us feel like we are doing something wrong or not sure where to go. Know that it is okay to re-imagine these relationships. A new you will create a need for new types of connections with others. Your needs are different. Your boundaries are different. What you are willing to do or deal with will be different. As you understand yourself differently, understand your relationships differently. Take the time to consider what you need and how you want to show up in relationships, but also how you want others to show up for you. 

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