Our Relationship Struggles are Multi-Generational and Deeply Embedded
You likely think it’s ridiculous to say that the way we relate to people in our lives has much to do with, perhaps, our great-grandparents that we never met. But the truth is, the way we manage our current relationships may have roots that go back generations.
Of course, this isn’t limited to relatives who’ve passed on—your current relationships can be influenced just as powerfully (and usually more so) by current/recent or historical interactions with our parents, mentors, and important personal figures. They’ve all shaped a “mini culture” that’s been your experience, and they’ve taught you to assume a role within that culture. That’s basic “micro” anthropology.
But when you’ve been unduly shaped by those with mental illness or addiction, or an unusual or pathological personality (this could be a parent, a prior generation member, or even a current or recent partner or friend), that, too, sticks with you, and can lead to the same unwanted results in your relationships.
This can happen in your repeated interactions with the troubled person in your life, or it can carry over into many other relationships. Often, you’ve gotten so used to your role, you don’t see this – you just wonder if you’ll ever see better, more fulfilling relationships.
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