My Family Rules About Relationships

In part one of this article I was talking about how families affect the decisions we make about our lives through ‘scripting’. Let me clarify this further with an ex example. My father grew up in a very large family during a difficult time in history. He was born into a time in Europe just after the First World War and was the second youngest of seven children. Needless to say he would have had to have made his presence known to have any of his needs met and this probably included having to speak very loudly to have his voice heard over all the others.

I also know that his father was a very successful businessman prior to the First World War and that it was very difficult for him to continue to provide for his family afterwards. I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been for a man at that time attempting to raise seven children and struggling with the aftermath of war. So what sort of environment must have this been for my father to grow up in? Not only was he the sixth born but he was born into a family where people must have been angry at the injustices of the time as they struggled to make ends meet.

As I was a young child then my recollection of my father was of a kind man but one who was prone to extreme fits of anger. Where did he learn that? I think it could only have come from the frustrations of his own parents who, due to their own struggles, were unable to show my father how to express anger in an appropriate way. My father then was also unable to express his anger in an appropriate way and maybe was being driven by anger that was a residue of his early childhood rather than just about the events presented to him so many years later.

So by now you’re probably asking – “And what about you? What about your anger?” Well as it turns out I’m not a particularly angry person. Why? There maybe a couple of reasons for that. Firstly my mom was not a particularly angry person and maybe when she became angry she had better skills to manage it than my father. So, just as I was learning from my father, I was also learning from my mother the ways to manage anger so maybe I was more inclined to follow her lead.

Secondly, I think that when you have felt the brunt of someone’s anger at such close quarters you can make a very conscious decision, very early on, that you will not behave in that way as well. I think that is what I did. Of course there is also the possibility that I was just not born that way. In conclusion then it might be said that just as you are handed your ‘script’ for life, which directs your values, beliefs and attitudes about life and consequently what you think, feel and do, you are also given a set of rules about being a couple in a relationship.