Exploring Your Family of Origin


Often times, I hear jokes from people about exploring their family and one's own story. It comes off like "I'm sure there was something back in my past that is affecting me now" but said in a way of disregard. The truth is that I get it and can relate to it as well. I have had many questions myself. Like does it really help to go back in the past and dig things up? Is exploring the past going to help us in the present?

I believe it does. Exploring the past does not mean we have to start shifting blame on everyone else. The purpose of exploring our story is to understand how we function and react now in context of our past.

The Friel's offer a great explanation of family dynamics in their book "Adult Children: The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families". They state, "In a healthy family, children's needs for security, warmth, nurturance, and guidance are met most of the time. These children enter adulthood with a sense of security and trust that is inside of themselves. In dysfunctional families, these needs are not met enough or at all, and those children enter adulthood with a sense of incompleteness, mistrust and fear inside of themselves, along with a strong need for some kind of security outside of themselves" (p. 71). 

This is means that we have legitimate needs and long for them to get met. It is what we do with our needs that make a difference. Where do we go to get those needs met? How do we communicate our needs? Our we even aware of our needs?

If your like me, how often do we really think in terms of "needs" language?