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What is the correct response in this case?

 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
Total Posts:  6751
Joined  15-05-2009
 
 
 
02 December 2017 10:47
 

NL, you are a lucky lady.  I’m finally coming to terms with how I’ve repeated some of the dysfunctional patterns of my upbringing.  Yeah, I know that no family is perfect.  But my family was especially into shaming and comparing and labeling.  I definitely recognized the woes of sibling comparisons and did my best to avoid that pitfall with my sons.  I think, all in all, I was a good mom.  But that shaming thing has continued to play a part in my relationships with other family members.  Plus, I’ve always felt in danger of shame myself.  Those childhood patterns are so danged hard to identify and to expunge.  I think I’m catching on, thanks to some counseling, better late than never.  I can imagine myself on my deathbed thinking, “Gee, I was just starting to figure out who I am.”

[ Edited: 02 December 2017 10:53 by hannahtoo]
 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
02 December 2017 12:09
 
hannahtoo - 02 December 2017 10:47 AM

NL, you are a lucky lady.  I’m finally coming to terms with how I’ve repeated some of the dysfunctional patterns of my upbringing.  Yeah, I know that no family is perfect.  But my family was especially into shaming and comparing and labeling.  I definitely recognized the woes of sibling comparisons and did my best to avoid that pitfall with my sons.  I think, all in all, I was a good mom.  But that shaming thing has continued to play a part in my relationships with other family members.  Plus, I’ve always felt in danger of shame myself.  Those childhood patterns are so danged hard to identify and to expunge.  I think I’m catching on, thanks to some counseling, better late than never.  I can imagine myself on my deathbed thinking, “Gee, I was just starting to figure out who I am.”


Yeah, I think these are universal sentiments to some extent. At least in the West, maybe, where modernity also applies to family structures (I can’t speak to every culture). I think in some parts of history, for example, kids feeling extreme shame or being scared into obedience wasn’t even considered a bad thing, just business as usual - it’s just that in 2017, having reengineered so many parts of human life for the better, people make an effort to reengineer child rearing practices as well. But interaction patterns are often handed down like languages, and learning new ones does take effort - and / or exposure to diversity, where people have to pick up bits of new ‘languages’ to function as a society. I feel like I’ve benefitted from being around people with a more collectivist mindset, for example - granted, I do still think individualism is part of what has made America great, so I only embrace this to a degree, but sometimes I think it takes the pressure off a bit. Our culture can be so “You, you you - what have you accomplished, what are your talents, what are your faults…” - sometimes it’s nice to have people go “Yeah, ‘you’ are not actually all that interesting to us, but we’re trying to get this project done, pass me a shovel please”, ha ha!


I know your situation with siblings is kinda different though. After having known a few people who have been close to those going through psychological crises due to schizophrenia and / or bipolar disorder, I think that adds extreme stress to any set of relationships, that is very hard to understand through the lens of typical interactions (I used to tell these people “Well why on earth are you getting all worked up about it, you know they’re schizophrenic, it’s not like they’re doing it on purpose!”, and after awhile I got that I’m just not able to understand, not being in that situation. I guess it would be like saying “Why are you all worked up that your son passed out after using heroin again, you know he’s an addict, it’s not his fault!” - I mean, that may well be true, but it doesn’t make the situation much better.) So I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself as I think you have a unique set of stressors there.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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Joined  21-10-2016
 
 
 
03 December 2017 09:30
 
hannahtoo - 02 December 2017 10:47 AM

NL, you are a lucky lady.  I’m finally coming to terms with how I’ve repeated some of the dysfunctional patterns of my upbringing.  Yeah, I know that no family is perfect.  But my family was especially into shaming and comparing and labeling.  I definitely recognized the woes of sibling comparisons and did my best to avoid that pitfall with my sons.  I think, all in all, I was a good mom.  But that shaming thing has continued to play a part in my relationships with other family members.  Plus, I’ve always felt in danger of shame myself.  Those childhood patterns are so danged hard to identify and to expunge.  I think I’m catching on, thanks to some counseling, better late than never.  I can imagine myself on my deathbed thinking, “Gee, I was just starting to figure out who I am.”

Hannahtoo, I was also lucky to have been raised by sensitive parents who never compared their children to each other or used any kind of shaming.  This was fortunate for us kids because we had a relatively large family with very different abilities/attributes.

It is fairly easy to develop into a somewhat well-adjusted person when one has benefitted from good parenting.  What I find more inspiring is when someone like yourself, who has not been so fortunate, can (through sheer will?) overcome this disadvantage to become a considerate, thoughtful person and a good parent.  That is something to be proud of.

 

 
 
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