My Family Rules About Relationships

Family and Cultural Scripts When you were born into your family you were presented with your ‘script’ or pre’script’ion for life. Just like an actor on stage works from a script, so do you. Most of us don’t even realize that subconsciously we accept and live out our ‘script’ without any conscious knowledge of what we are doing.

Have you ever found yourself doing or saying something and thought to yourself – ‘wow, that is or sounds just like mum (or dad, or someone else in the family) used to do/say’?

I was presented with this so clearly when about fourteen years ago I went back to the country of my ancestry to meet family that I had not known before. My immediate family migrated to this country, Australia, before I was born so I had never known who my relatives were. I never met my grandparents and on only one occasion did an aunt come to visit us as I was growing up. Anyway here I am meeting these unknown relatives for the first time and I was struck by something that seemed to bind us in a way that was even crazier than just the same surname. This was striking enough as, with such an unusual surname, I had never known anyone in my country with the same name.

But now I was meeting people that not only had the same surname but who used their voices, just like me, and used body gestures, just like me. I immediately felt an incredible connection with these people that was so much more than a name. It was freaky even as I felt I was looking at a mirror of myself.

This is the power of the script. It is the way I, and my cousins so far away in another land, had learned from our parents, who had got it from their parents, exactly how to speak and gesture as well as what to value and believe in. The power of that still absolutely staggers me.

We also know this exists within our being subconsciously as each day we do so many things without even thinking about it, like brushing our teeth and getting ourselves to work or home again. We just trust our subconscious mind to take care of these things and it does.

And let me ask you this question. Have you ever been driving your car or been taking a walk when you suddenly realize you don’t remember how you got to where you are?

Your subconscious mind got you there and you can trust it. If you had come across a red light or something happened that needed your attention you would be there in an instant.

This ability is really very helpful: It means that you don’t have to read the directions on the toothpaste tube or look up a street directory to find your way to work or back home again. It’s the same process for everything you do in life. And not just what you do, but what you think and feel as well.

From your observations of those significant others in your life, which in the first instance are generally your parents, you learn how to respond to certain things that happen in your lives and then behave in exactly that way until something happens to get you to rethink those responses and to try something different.

This then becomes your ‘script’ for life, and has all of the details in it about how to be a girl or a boy, a parent or a son or daughter, a man or a woman, or even a husband or wife.

This ‘script’ for life holds all of your values, beliefs and attitudes which overlay your needs. If it is, that in those very early years of your life, your basic needs are recognized and satisfied, you will grow up to be a confident adult, with a healthy ‘script’. You are able to care for yourself and ask for the care of others and to know that you will get that care as you need it.

If, on the other hand, those five basic needs are not recognized or satisfied in you as a young child, then you run the risk of developing an unhealthy ‘script’. You will grow up seeking to have those needs fulfilled, often in inappropriate ways, and often to your disadvantage. The ways you seek to have those needs fulfilled will also reflect how your parents and/or other significant people in your life demonstrated that for you.