“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

Friday, August 21, 2009

RevGals Friday Five: Family Norms


Jan over at RevGals offers this family vacation Friday Five:

***Jan may not have anticipated opening up this can of worms***

1. Formal rules in family of origin Oh my. My mother was raised in a chaotic alcoholic family. She was broken at a young age. A woman who could have been brilliant, creative, and funny (and she was), who implanted deeply into her family strong liberal political views, was also Borderline - or with those tendency at the very least. That said - rules in my family of origin: mother is always right. affirm mothers world view, even if it is a distortion of reality, because then all will be calm in the house. How's that for a strong family rule. Of course, well, it was often impossible to actually do that.

2. Unwritten and unspoken rules in family of origin I think what I have already said sheds light on this one. Mother is always right.

3. Formal rules in current family or workplace We always let one another know where we are. If we go out to one place and then go to another we call at least one person and let them know. I call my husband, he calls me, the kids call one of us. But also: rinse your dishes and PUT THEM IN THE DISHWASHER. Turn off lights when leaving a room. (And for my husband, if only he could really learn this - turn OFF the TV when you leave one room because you will just turn it on in the next...). Let the dogs outside frequently and make sure all the animals have water.

I can't go into the rules at work, I'd be writing all day and, well, I do actually have to show up there sometime this morning....

4. Unwritten rules in current family or workplace Unwritten rule at work: I am clearly the "daughter" who will not behave herself and do what they want. It matters not that I was hired to be the leader...

At home: We must have ice cream in the house at all times. Coffee, too!


5. When was a time that you became aware of different rules in different places/families than your own? As kids do, I understood early on that my family of origin was not "normal" - I mean how many kids have mothers who sleep all day and night? For two years? (Ok, she was depressed and the dr. gave her Valium, and then she got addicted. Life got better when she realized she was addicted and stopped taking it...) - So, I became an expert in the study of others. I learned a lot about normal from spending lots of time with my friends. Well, that and many many years of therapy. Since then I have learned from my husband's family - good learning for me. And I continue to learn from friends. Now my children have been able to say to me: wow, our family is so normal....do you know goes on at "so and so's" house?....living proof of the effectiveness of therapy, love (husband), and faith.