I love looking at the fresh produce in the grocery store. Often I have been enticed by large, beautiful oranges and I’m disappointed to find that what I have purchased is mostly peel! You can’t eat the peel but it will serve to protect the fruit that resides inside of it. Sometimes it is juicy and nutritious. Sometimes it is small or rotten.
Each of us was raised in an environment surrounded by boundaries or peels that distinguish us from the world. I don’t actually like the word dysfunction but, if broken , it means”dys” or disease of the way that the family operates or”works”.
Whenever there are problems within the family unit such as addictions or incest, thick boundaries prevent the outside world from interfering. Those people who are within the orange are occasionally taught to not feel or discuss problems and that everything beyond the peel is the enemy. In some cultures or households, those who leave the inside are shunned.
When two people begin a new relationship, they bring what they know from their family orange with them. It is their “bat exclusionl” and often they don’t talk about things they have accepted from infancy and do not understand what went on in another person’s orange. If their experiences were happy and healthy, they may want to drag another person in their family orange. If they were unhealthy and unhappy, they might view the new relationship as an escape.
Special events such as Christmas can cause friction in households, particularly when those in the original oranges believe that new partners will need to become part of their orange. I have seen clients dread the holidays as they feel they are expected (or demanded) to attend several foods, honour traditions that are unfamiliar and meet others without question. Adults can be expected to sleep on the floor with their children rather than reserve a hotel room just because”someone” believes they need to all wake up at precisely the identical place on December 25th. Some individuals are harassed if they are unable to unwilling to drive hours and hours for a planned celebration.
Among the most difficult but important things for a brand new relationship is for them to create their own orange which honours their shared values. This requires good communications and healthful boundaries. The peel has to be thick enough to protect their relationship (and children if there are any) while being thin enough to allow interaction with the rest of the world. New traditions can be made and rather than have extended family members dictate what will happen, the couple will make joint decisions they can both stand for.
Now that we are on the brink of the Christmas season, it is time to consider all those involved. Just because you have always done things a certain way doesn’t mean that this will or should last. Would you rather have it”your way” and cause strife or will you consider that time changes things and others have should be considered?
Make sure that you draw another circle for each single adult and every partnership rather than attempting to drag them into your circle. Achieving peace on earth this Christmas begins with your efforts to honor the needs of these on the page.
If you would like to enjoy time together, try offering an invitation as opposed to making a demand due to your expectations.
Perhaps it is time for you to make some new customs.