Is Your Family of Origin Sick?
According to Object Relations Therapy, all mental illness has its roots in early childhood experiences. If your family was dysfunctional, there are great odds that this was passed down to you. Do your relationships mirror the relationship your parents had? Do you fight? Do you avoid any confrontations? Is it important for you to be right? Do you have to be in control? Are you always submissive? If any of these statements are true, the key is to break away from your family system and become your own true self.
Cycles of Behavior
Are we victims of our family? Are we destined to do the same things they did or continue to do? If we fail to work on these embedded cycles of behavior, we are.
Psychotherapy is the art form of taking an honest look at ourselves. Even if you do not suffer from debilitating depression or anxiety, it is important to clean up your act, let go of past problems to live more at peace. If you hold onto grudges, snap at others, or do other behaviors you regret, it doesn’t mean you are mentally ill, it simply means you have unresolved issues that need to be addressed.
Traumatic Childhood Experiences
I worked at the first Mental Health Urgent Care Center in the country for eleven years and saw people in crisis all day long. The common denominator was that 90% of the people who had traumatic experiences in their childhood became mentally ill. As a child, the brain hasn’t developed enough to deal with trauma, so it pushes overwhelming experiences down into the subconscious mind. But this material doesn’t go away as we hope. It festers there, under the surface. Fast forward to being an adult, if somebody gives us a look, says something in a specific tone, or does something we interpret as aggressive, the old wound stirs and we react and sometimes that reaction even shocks ourselves. “No, that wasn’t me. I’m not like that.” Believing that out of sight, out of mind is true, you set yourself up for bigger and bigger reactions.
How do we deal with the wreckage of our past? You ask this question to a variety of therapists you’ll get a variety of answers. There is no one way to deal with, what Murray Bowen from Family Systems Therapy called, “Individuating from the Family System”. Until we take an honest look at our unresolved issues, take a look at the rules we set up as a child and amend them, we will be destined to relive the problems of our past over and over again. How long do you want to suffer needlessly?
When a child goes through trauma, they don’t want to get hurt again, so they create rules in which to live by. “Angry people are bad and must be avoided”. Now, this is a great rule for a child but as an adult, anger signals that something underneath is hurt and in need of attention. Anger actually starts the healing process because it signals us that something is out of balance. This is the mental level to healing but there is a more important level – the emotional. When traumatized, there is a portion of us that becomes emotionally stuck at that period of time. How often have you had memories of the traumatic events of your past? To process through this “unfinished business”, love must be applied to the part inside of you that went through the experience who is still stuck there. This type of emotional work is cutting edge and only available in working with a therapist trained in Spiritual Psychology. Spiritual Psychology believes that when love is applied to hurt we heal. There are many techniques to address the outdated rules you created and how to address your emotional wounds with compassion. It was inspiring at the Mental Health Urgent Care Center because the staff that used to make fun of my “Love Therapy” were all doing it when I left to open my own facility in the Pacific Northwest.
Healing with Mind, Body, and Spirit
At Basic Steps Mental Health, our clients learn how to incorporate mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual techniques into their daily lives. If you have no Spiritual beliefs it is not a prerequisite. Spirituality is simply the application of love to hurt and about forgiveness of self. Leaving the mental and emotional levels unaddressed leads to relapse. And if you are looking for a therapist, ask them how they address emotional wounds and see if the approach feels right to you.
It is important to put into daily practice new tools in order to change the old. Our brain will hardwire automatic thoughts which is why down deep we may consider ourselves broken or losers. If these thoughts aren’t dealt with in an ongoing manner, the old thinking patterns remain and we tend to act and think like our parents did because this is mostly where we got our programming from. Even if you moved 5,000 miles away from them, they are still inside of you until you are ready to purge their lessons and go from your gut.
Be honest with yourself. Are you at peace with yourself and others? Do people bother you because they are doing something wrong? Do you find yourself rationalizing your behaviors, knowing deep down inside it isn’t how you really want to be? By definition, this isn’t mental illness at all, though it signals that you are at war with yourself. Our relationships mirror how we are with ourselves. If you have a critical voice inside of you towards you, you tend to be critical towards others too. It’s time to stop the war and bring in inner peace. Let us show you how.
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry.