My Family Rules About Relationships

This is part three of the article on how families impact our lives. I’ve already talked about how they may even be multi generational. Now I would like to address how we might be able to change these script directives. As your ‘script’, and your rules for relationships, was first presented to you by your family, you are most likely to grow up and live out that ‘script’ unless, as I believe was my experience, that somewhere along the way you make a different decision and consequently live your life based on a different set of values and beliefs.

This questioning generally only happens in the event of some crisis in your life, when you may come to realize that your script is a good ‘script’, and continue to live it out in a positive way. Alternatively you might question your ‘script’, at such a time, and recognize that you need to do something differently and go about changing those rules that define your ‘script’ and live it out differently to the way your parents presented it to you.

Some of us however, do not come to question it and we just live it out with all the positives and negatives as defined by the rules given to us. While in the first instance this is given to us by our parents, it then becomes supported and further entrenched by our families, our community and by our culture. And as I’ve already said, the only time I might really question my ‘script’ at all is if things become uncomfortable enough living the ‘script’ that I am forced to speak to my partner, or to seek professional help, that would encourage me to contemplate an alternative response.

As a result, the way that you define what a relationship is, is very much the way your parent’s defined relationships and as the ‘script’ was handed to you, then you, in turn, hand it on to your children. “Do as I say not as I do!” So a lesson to be learned here is that as these rules, and the ‘script’ for life, is passed on to us, and done so unconsciously, then, despite even what our parents might say, it is most likely that we will mimic what they do. So while kids might not know it consciously, unconsciously they know exactly what goes on behind closed doors, and will most likely play that out in their own lives as they then choose their own adult relationships.

What I’m saying here is that we are scripted to choose our partners to be a certain kind of person, and for good reason. The most outstanding part of this is that this is all happening unconsciously. Not only that but we will manipulate them to be a certain way even if this is not how they were when we first entered a relationship with them.

Couples who come into my office are often surprised that the person they fell in love with seems to now be someone quite different. Sometimes, knowing their parents and the mistakes they have made in their relationships, couples have openly vowed to not become those people. And guess what so often happens? You’re right; they end up becoming those people after all.

Just last week I had a couple in my room saying that everything they ever vowed not to become they have become and were surprised to find out how powerful their unconscious scripting was. If you want to know more about family scripting, and the ways you can create a new and more helpful script for your life, have a look at my book titled: “The Games Couples Play” or check out my website where you’ll find some questionnaires and exercises to help you understand your script more fully.