Clients say this a lot and looking at my own extended family, I see it too.
The same patterns of destructive behaviour being repeated over and over again, often explained as being in the ‘genes’.
Well, if that was the case why does it only effect some members of the family and not all?
Maybe, it is because as children we all begin to believe things about ourselves from a very early age.
Depending on how our parents behave, very quickly we can lose the confidence we were born with or feel that we are not good enough.
Let’s be clear here, rarely does anyone have a child and decides to inflict deep emotional injuries, we just do what we are taught. However, this means that unwittingly, beliefs are passed on and on through generations.
Then, depending on where you come in the family, can determine which beliefs come your way. Factors such as birth order, sex and whether you were the favoured child can all play a significant role.
For example, it is often obvious that different things are expected from the eldest child compared to the youngest. But even very subtle differences can have a profound effect . And so, both children raised by the same parents can have very different beliefs about themselves.
Becoming aware of your childhood beliefs allows you to decide the rest of your story. And, it also paves the way to break long standing generational beliefs once and for all.
At one point, these beliefs may have been appropriate, but as soon they become outdated, they can have a deeply wounding effect.
For example, many of us descend from families that emigrated. Usually, this happened because our families believed that something wasn’t available to them or, they didn’t belong there. However, leaving that country does not mean that these beliefs got left behind.
Then, when you move to a country that isn’t your own, you adapt your behaviour in an effort to be accepted. This need to be accepted is a throw back to primitive times when we needed to be accepted in order to survive. And, for many of us, this belief is as strong today as it was then.
So, when you adapt your behaviour to suit others, you begin to believe more things about yourself like, I am not good enough as I am or, I don’t fit in.
Very quickly, you stop trusting yourself and subconsciously, start searching for evidence that your beliefs are true. And, what you look for, you find.
Unintentionally, parents then project these beliefs onto their children by giving them messages about what they consider the child has to do to be accepted.
They think they are protecting them from the same hurts that they have felt. But, depending on the level of fear being experienced by the parent, it is often magnified when passed to the child.
The greatest issue is, the parent is completely unaware that this is even happening. Then, because we are hard wired towards the negative, they are the experiences and beliefs that stick like Velcro in your mind.
So, these beliefs can go back for many generations, being passed down time and time again without anyone ever realising it.
It is the symptoms of these beliefs which look like the same patterns of behaviour repeating over and over again that families are aware of, not the beliefs causing the behaviour.
Becoming aware of these beliefs gives you the opportunity to break this generational wound. And when you start to do that, it is a joy to watch the effect it has on the people around you.
If you are seeing the same destructive behaviour repeating over and over again in your family, get in touch to find out more!
It will be a gift to your grandchildren 💛