The theme coming up this week with the families I am working with is that everyone is pulling into different directions, and as a result the family is drifting apart!
Mom is pulling one way, dad another, and the kids have their own agenda too!
Things end up feeling super exhausting, and everyone feels not listened to, misunderstood and like their needs are not met…. People end up feeling isolated within their own family, and experience that they are up against the world all by themselves.
Do you remember this dynamic of pulling away and drifting apart from your own family growing up?
How did it feel for you as a child?
What did you learn about life and relationships?
I remember in my family, dad wanted to go out in to the woods to hunt every weekend, mom wanted dad to be home, I wanted to go hunting with dad, but he never took me so I felt rejected…
The family dynamics end up being like a messy soup of unmet needs and hurt feelings where nobody gets what they want or need!
That’s a pretty bleak picture so let’s break it down to figure out why this happens and what to do about it!
Let’s start with when you were a baby in your mom’s tummy… There we all were in this beautiful, blissful place of warmth and muffled sounds. Our needs were immediately met, and we had a deep sense of belonging and safety.
We are suddenly being pushed through a tiny canal into a whole new world where the air is cold, and our lungs burned with this thing called oxygen. No wonder we all screamed!!!
Of course it was amazing to see the faces of our loving parents and their joy in our coming to this world but we soon find out that getting our needs met is not that easy!
Sometimes we cried and cried and nobody came… We were left alone with unmet needs and dissatisfaction…
Often, our parents didn’t know exactly what we wanted, and we could not express it so we got frustrated and kept on crying until they hopefully figured it out…
When we grew older, our parents seemed to have increasing difficulties understanding us thus many of our emotional and psychological needs for safety and security, love, acceptance, belonging and feeling important went unnoticed.
That’s how we slowly end up walking around hungry for getting our needs met… Feeling disappointed by the world and the people who cared for us…
For many of us, we pushed our needs deep down into our unconsciousness and started to pretend they are not there so we can actually function in life. We forgot about our needs, and learned not to pay attention to them when they popped up. Soon enough, we no longer even knew what we needed because we were so removed from our original desires.
Other people do the opposite as they bulldoze and manipulate people to get their needs met at whatever cost. They too, however, are unconscious of their true needs, and have forgotten how to ask for their needs to be met in a kind way.
As time goes by, we enter into a relationship and start a family. We get excited to meet our partner who seems to be the one who finally can complete us and be there to fulfill our needs.
For a moment, it feels that bliss is possible and that we are complete until… The kids are born… And oh boy are they a needy bunch !?!?
With the kids coming along we now have a perfect storm of unmet needs forming that will result in many showers of tears, and thunder of crying, as well as the silent stillness and emptiness in the eye of the storm where many parents dwell…
The point here is that we ALL have unmet needs because our parents and the world are not perfect in meeting them. Nor should they be…
Because our parents, the world and the people around us are not perfect, neither are we, and that’s ok!
But because of this, we also can’t be asking for perfection in other people so you can actually let go of your expectations, be in the present moment, take a deep breath, and just embrace the imperfect, messy life that we are living. In fact, let’s smile at it a little!
So, now that we know the reason for families drifting apart is of all these unmet needs that we are unconscious of, and expect others to fulfill them just like our parents, what can we do about it?
Start connecting with your own needs
Practice self-awareness andnotice what need really is underneath your anger, your hurt, your resentment, your unforgiveness, your self-righteousness (we all have it so don’t worry!), need to be right, need to control etc…
Instead of projecting your dissatisfaction and blaming your kids, your partner, or your poor pet 🐶 , ask yourself “What do I really want and need right now?”
Once you have this figured out, now you can find a way to authentically express that to the people around you in a way that they can actually hear you.
Make it a point to UNCONDITIONALLY and INTENTIONALLY work on meeting the needs of your children and partner.
Fill their cups with love, acceptance and understanding. This is not exhausting AT ALL as long as you do this from a mindset of generosity, and do not expect anything in return. You do it for the purpose of BEing loving and BEing generous. PERIOD.
Ways of being do not have conditions in them. They just are. Just like gravity just is. It doesn’t go, ‘I only will give you gravity and not let you catapult into the universe if you do x, y & z”
When you make the powerful choice of focusing out, being generous with your love, time, and attention, and make a point to meet other people’s needs, without forgetting to meet your own needs too, you become a magnet that is now pulling your family together instead of pushing it apart.
This act of going towards them untangles the conflict.
It allows you to grow in the areas where you have the biggest gap because you discover your own inner strength, resources and resilience which was there all along!
When you provide to others what they need, you give to yourself exactly what you need!
LIVE – LOVE – LEARN
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