Pray This Prayer With Me (Phrases From Ten Thousand Sorrows: The Extraordinary Journey of a Korean War Orphan by Elizabeth Kim)

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God,

If necessary, exhaust me to the point of transformation if I look for ways to please unpleaseable parents.

As I break unhealthy parental patterns, enable me to see such patterns are echoes of their own childhood.

Relieve me of the pressure of everyone’s happiness and salvations.

And with regard to the pain I cause myself, with respect to the cross of my construction, don’t forget that God as

You lead me into unchartered territories of healing.

Amen.

Families Are Strange Creatures: Spoken and Unspoken Rules

“Each family member develops a unique personality, but not in a vacuum.  Your personality developed in relation and response to other personalities in your family.  And all of their personalities developed and changed in response to your family.  Every member of a family, whether it’s mother in the same room or great-uncle Henry, who ran away to Australia 30 years ago, affects every other family member in some way.  Nothing happens in isolation in a family.” (Ronald W. Richardson, Family Ties That Bind:  A Self-Help Guide to Change Through Family of Origin Therapy, p. 8)

As some of us gather with families at Thanksgiving it’s a good time to think about our families as strange creatures.  Be curious about your family. Why is your family the way it is? Why are the people in the family the way they are, including you?  What are/were some of the openly acknowledged and spoken rules of your family?  What are/were some of the unspoken rules in your family, particularly rules about having and expressing feelings?  (p. 13)

May God give you the ability to understand, enjoy, and forgive your family, particularly at Thanksgiving.

 

 

Who Are The Three People You Most Want To Fix/Change? (Family of Origin 101)

Who are the three people you most want to fix/change?

1_______________

2_______________

3_______________

Good luck!

How has fixing people worked for you in the past?

Many people, maybe even most people, become even more entrenched when they sense others are trying to fix them.

Has anyone ever tried to fix you?  What was that like?

When couples go to marriage counseling typically both are going to fix each other.  More often than not, while the counselor may address marriage issues, the goal is to get each individual in the marriage to work on his or her own issues.

If you want to fix someone, work on fixing your need to fix others.  (Not that others don’t need fixing.)

Interestingly, when we work on ourselves, change our own way of relating/patterns of behavior, sometimes others around us change.  Don’t hold your breath on that, but often the best chance of changing others is to change ourselves.

Now there is at least one exception to this rule.  It has to do with impacting change in a system, family or larger group.  That issue will be addresses in the next blog on Family of Origin 101.

In the meantime, a good book to read is Friedman’s Fables (Edwin Friedman).

Be Curious About Why You Are The Way You Are

The Curiosity Rover has landed on Mars.  We are going to discover some amazing new facts about our sister planet.

The mission has four scientific goals: Determine whether Mars could ever have supported life — including the role of water, study the climate and geology of Mars. It is also useful preparation for future missions, perhaps a manned mission to Mars.

There are six main scientific objectives:

  1. Determine the mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials.
  2. Attempt to detect chemical building blocks of life (biosignatures).
  3. Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils.
  4. Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) Martian atmospheric evolution processes.
  5. Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide.
  6. Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic radiation, cosmic radiation, solar proton events and secondary neutrons.  (Wikipedia)

As we await new details from Mars  let me suggest you get curious about yourself.  Why are you the way you are?  In what ways are you “exactly alike” or “exactly different” from your family?  Why do you respond to certain people and different types of events and situations the way you do? There is nothing quite like the transformative power of being self-aware and becoming a friend to yourself.  The purpose of doing this exploration is not to discover just how screwed up you are but to learn to have empathy for yourself, empathy which can free you to be who you want to be and who the world needs you to be.

Get busy.  You have work to do.  A counselor, spiritual director, or pastor can help.