We all need to start at the beginning. The beginning is when we lift the blanket of denial and take a look underneath and see the things that we don't want to look at. By denying our grass roots we deny our own truth. By going right back to the starting point we allow an unfolding of the difficulties we face and, finally, a chance to shine light on the darkness that haunts us.
We've tried for a long time, maybe even our entire lives, trying to control our uncomfortable inner turmoil. We've relied on our own self-will and self-control to change ourselves in spite of our beginnings. But inner reasoning mixed in with gritted determination hasn't worked and we find ourselves no further along the road than when we were a teenager.
We begin with a look at our family structure by filling in a family tree.
Fill in the boxes starting at the bottom by listing yourself. If you have siblings, write them alongside you. If you have adult children, put them under you. Work your way up through each of your parents, your grandparents and your great-grandparents until you have the full tree.
Next, place labels against each adult. Choose from this list:
· Alcoholic/heavy drinker
· Religious fanatic
· Drama Queen
· Drug user (including prescribed drugs)
· The Joker
· Sexual predator
· Exercise addict
· Codependent people-pleaser
· Family fixer
· Emotionally unavailable
· Criminal (thief, fraudster etc.)
· Mental illness
This exercise is to help you lift the family denial. It had served us well to deny there were any family problems when we were growing up, but now that we are suffering the consequences as adults, we need to get some clarity about the reality of our family members. This labeling is not for us to judge but simply gain awareness of the problems that were steeped in our childhood. Look for a pattern. For example, there maybe a history of food abuse or drink abuse. It might be that inappropriate anger was passed down through the generations. It could be that mental illness was prevalent.
This exercise will serve its full purpose as we undertake other exercises and come to understand how the dysfunction has been passed down for generations; this will help to relieve us of the burden from thinking that it was our fault.