Our family of origin, or the family that we grew up with, impacts us for the rest of our lives. Family of origin could mean biological or adoptive parents, siblings or grandparents or any other childhood caregiver. They influence so much of our lives and behaviors, from our diets to our cleaning habits. Our families also impact our emotional issues (or lack of, if we’re fortunate). If we can recognize how our family of origin impacts our emotional behaviors, we can work toward correcting negative patterns.
Emotions are a natural part of being human, but not everyone acknowledges that. Plenty of people keep their emotions well under wraps, forcing what they’re feeling down. If a parent or member of your family of origin didn’t show important emotions while you were growing up, such as love, you may have issues showing love and affection to their own families as adults.
Additionally, those who repress their emotions, most likely, don’t know how to appropriately communicate their emotions when they inevitably arise. While some people are naturally more emotional or communicative, that is mostly a learned behavior. The way your family of origin communicated with and related to each other will have a lasting impact on your own communication skills within your relationships. If your parents had a tendency to yell when upset or angry, chances are you’ll express anger the same way. If your siblings became passive-aggressive, you may be that way as well.
Your family of origin will impact romantic relationships, too. Communication is key to successful romantic partnerships, and poor communication skills will make maintaining a happy and healthy relationship harder. Those who grew up with divorced or separated parents may have trouble with trust or high levels of anxiety about relationships.
If you find that you have behaviors or issues that stem from your family of origin, it’s possible to correct them. We offer both individual and couples counseling to help correct old familial patterns.