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5 steps on how not to repeat a parent's life scenario

Parents are the first people in a child's life. Looking at them teaches them how to interact with the world and people around them. Some things a child learns consciously, but a lot of them are stored on an unconscious level. You have probably noticed that the child not only adopts external features, but also facial expressions and gestures.

Sometimes parents are surprised that the child seems to have lived with grandparents at an age when they do not remember anything about themselves, and when they grow up, they recognize the features in the child. One should not be surprised that by copying the traits of appearance and character, a child "picks up" the model of the behavior of a particularly significant adult, and in some cases the model of the whole family. Many people live this way from generation to generation and do not think about such copying. They do not even think about analogies when similar stories from their own lives or those of their parents and grandparents are told.

Why are parent-family models so enduring and persistent?

The fact is that despite all our experiences later on, what we see in childhood is perceived by us as the only correct scenario. If you like, it is "imprinted" on us. Mum and dad are the best parents in the world, our heroes. Their lives are how "everyone around them lives". It is only later, when we grow up, that we realize that parents are not heroes at all, but simply people trying to live the life they have been given.

They make mistakes. They are full of flaws. Their relationships are far from "ideal". This begs the question, what to do?

After all, parents teach their children by example. They don't have an alternative model of behavior in front of them. How is it to be "different"? How else can you achieve your goal? How can you make decisions differently?

Everything you know about the world and the way you interact with the reality around you is "absorbed from your parents". Everyone's path is different and unique. Nevertheless, there are steps that almost everyone who wants to go beyond parental scripts goes through.

Step 1: Recognise that there is a scenario.

This is the very first and most important step for almost all changes in all areas. It is important to recognize the recurring scenario. Examine and define it. Until it is realized and defined, it controls you. It is understanding and defining the parenting script that allows you to understand what is constructive and what is destructive about it.

Step 2: Give up the destructive part.

The good news is that there is something positive in every scenario that can and should be taken away and kept. Each of us is given the mind and the will to realize. To make a decision. To make the effort to put it into action.

Step 3: Analyze attitudes and beliefs.

Parental scripts are a system of attitudes and beliefs. At this stage, it is important to take an inventory. Sort the attitudes and beliefs into "piles": "useful" and "harmful".

Step 4: Establishing a new model of behavior.

There are enough effective methods and approaches to develop new behaviors. In this phase, new, useful, effective values and beliefs are formulated. Values and beliefs about relationships are updated and replaced. The only "BUT" is that if we are talking about a relationship in a couple, the work of only one of the partners will not have the desired effect. There is always a chance that once one scenario stops working, such as your parents. Another scenario will emerge, such as your partner's parents. In this case, the partners need to work together.

Step 5: Regulating behavior.

It takes time for the new to become part of your life. Working on new behaviors, values and beliefs can be compared to tending a garden. Preparing for a new "gardening season". First, you plant the seedlings. Make sure they are properly shaped. Then you put them in the open soil. You take care of them. You help them adapt to the new conditions. Then weed out the weeds - old programs and attitudes that will now and then try to break into your life again. But in the end, you get the result in the form of beautiful flowers or crops.

Changing parent-family scripts is not an easy topic, but you can and should work with them if you want to. Any change can become a reality.


Anna Matyagina

psycotherapist, certified coach ICI, MRI, AC; specialize in Jungian sand therapy, metaphorical maps, PhD in Engineering

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