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How Your Family of Origin Shapes You

Let’s dive into something we’ve all wondered about: how our families shape the adults we become. You know, the quirks, habits, and even the way we handle stress - it all traces back to our family of origin. It’s like the ultimate behind-the-scenes director of our lives, shaping the way we view the world and interact with it.

cartoon version of a family tree

The Family Blueprint

Think of your family as the blueprint for your personality. From the way you handle conflicts to your sense of humor, the seeds were planted in your early years. Mom’s love for reading? Dad’s knack for fixing things? Those little traits become ingrained in you, often without you realizing it.

The Comfort Zone Effect

Ever notice how you might find yourself seeking out situations that remind you of home? It’s because the family environment becomes our comfort zone. If you grew up in a warm, supportive household, you might naturally seek out similar relationships as an adult. On the flip side, if your upbringing was challenging, you might find comfort in chaos, replicating familiar patterns.

Communication Styles

How your family communicated forms the foundation for your own communication style. Were disagreements met with open discussions or silent treatments? Did you feel heard and valued? These experiences influence how you express yourself and handle disagreements in your adult life. Understanding these patterns can be a game-changer in improving your relationships.

Man carrying suitcases that have therapy words on them

Emotional Baggage

We all carry a bit of emotional baggage from our past. Maybe it's the pressure to always be perfect or the fear of failure. These deep-rooted emotions often stem from childhood experiences. Acknowledging this baggage can pave the way for healing and personal growth, helping you break free from limiting beliefs.

Relationship Dynamics

Ever wondered why you tend to gravitate toward certain types of people? Your family dynamics play a role. If you had a strong, nurturing bond with your parents, you might seek out similar connections in relationships. Understanding this can help you create healthy relationships by recognizing any patterns that might be holding you back.

Parenting Styles

The way you were raised influences your own parenting style, whether you're aware of it or not. If your parents were strict, you might find yourself being more lenient or vice versa. Reflecting on your upbringing can offer insights into your parenting choices, helping you have a balance that aligns with your values.

egg depicting a family and breaking a harmful cycle

Breaking the Cycle

The beauty of understanding the impact of your family of origin is the power it gives you to break negative cycles. Awareness is the first step. By recognizing patterns, you can choose to change your behavior and responses, creating more fulfilling adult life.

In the grand story of your life, your family of origin is the opening chapter. It shapes the characters, sets the tone, and influences the plot twists. Embrace the lessons, learn from the challenges, and most importantly, recognize that you have the pen to write the rest of your story.

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Lauren Booher is a community outreach coordinator for Mindsight. She has a masters degree in psychology and years of experience in mental health. When she is not out making connections in the community or tied to her office chair, Lauren enjoys reading, being outdoors, coffee (any caffeine really) and snuggling her cat (fur child), Willow.

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