We bring our extended families into our choices of relationships whether consciously or unconsciously. Although the debate of nature vs nurture is still on going, it is a fact that our personalities are shaped to a great extent by our family of origin and significant events that occurred during our childhood. The issues that we struggle with, our family of origin issues, and traumas we suffered in childhood contribute to our adult personalities and guide our choices in life. For example, if we sought out our parents’ attention through perfection as a child, we may well continue to strive to achieve perfectionism in everything we do in life.
Additionally, we may put unrealistic expectations on ourselves or try to live up to the unrealistic expectations of others. Bringing unaddressed family of origin issues into a relationship can create relationship problems that are often confusing and overwhelming to both partners. In order to fully understand the behaviors we exhibit in our adult relationships, we must first become familiar with why we developed those behaviors in our childhood.
In the therapeutic process we can begin to unravel the ways that process occurs, and help us to see better why we do certain things, make certain choices, hold certain beliefs and experience certain emotions. This can help us overcome our fears, our addictions and pursue our authentic goals, and achieve some sense of peace. Severe abuse or neglect in the family of origin can lead to serious, persistent difficulties. Therapy can help clients overcome the distress associated with neglect, physical abuse or sexual abuse in the family of origin.