Sometimes life is a whole lot of awkward. Kids trying to manage roller coaster feelings. Adults still not sure if they’ve impressed or insulted the neighbors. Bosses and employees playing a covert strategy game to be useful and still survive in the workplace. It’s all part of life and we can’t really avoid it.
Trying To Be Yourself
So how does your family fit in when you try to be yourself? Are you more relaxed when you are with your family, or are you more genuine with friends and people you aren’t related to? That might seem like a weird question, but it matters how healthy your family is.
If you feel like you can let your hair down and not scare anyone off in your family, then you probably have good relationships. It’s much more difficult if you feel like you are an outsider in your own home or extended family circle. How about kids who are forced to keep awful secrets or their parents will get into trouble? And about kids made to be parents before they are grown up? What about parents who have an alcohol or drug addiction, trying to fool everyone (including themselves), that it isn’t a big deal?
Chaotic Emotionally Unsafe Family Life
Maybe you had that kind of chaotic emotionally unsafe family life when you were younger. Do you still have that situation now, or did you create a happier life for yourself as an adult? What about your kids — do they seem to be able to be their genuine selves in your household? Or do they seem like they go into hiding when they are around family?
It’s a tricky question, and you may not have the same answer all the time depending on what is going on. I know that while I had my depression, I felt like nobody was safe to talk to, including my family. That doesn’t make any sense now because I do rationally know they all care about me and would have done what they could if I had asked for help. However, that was my perception and was true to me at that time. Now, and previous to my depression, I have felt a lot more comfortable being myself around them.
What’s your opinion on being genuine around your family? Can you be yourself, or do you have to put up a facade to protect yourself from something?
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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (April 30, 2010)
Being Yourself Around Your Family | Family Mental Health (April 30, 2010)
Dr. John Grohol (April 30, 2010)
From Psych Central's Erika Krull, MS:
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Last reviewed: 30 Apr 2010