Many gayers will be going home for Christmas only to discover the reason why they left. It can’t be the telly on non-stop, though it’s high on the list when it comes to irritation, nor is it the best behaviour one must endure with the rellies. Maybe it’s the silence. Yes the silence about you batting for the other side. No one mentions it.
Maybe this Party Game will help to explain why – it’s a bit like Trivial Pursuit. All you have to do each day is observe your family, tick a few boxes and decide which side of FAMILY FORTUNES they are on. Let your major focus be on your family of origin, and you may learn something about why you choose the type of GAY FAMILY around you. It may sound a bit OPRAH, but give in to the observations.
Meet the Family FUNCTIONAL : tell us what your components are – Team A.
Your functional family of origin gave you a permanent conviction of belonging. A functional family is the healthy soil out of which individuals can become mature human beings which includes a balance between autonomy and dependency with social, sexual, emotional and soul training at home. It’s a place where high esteem is taught and acknowledged as normal, where expression of feelings is supported and boundaries honoured. Each person, including parents, are given a structure which is safe enough to risk growth and individuation. Each person needs affection and recognition. Each person needs challenge and stimulation to move through each stage of development plus self-actualisation and spiritualisation. Spiritualisation involves the need to love, care for, to seek truth whilst avoiding self obsession.
Through this responsible process we safely experience emotions like FEAR, the energy of discernment, SADNESS, the energy of saying goodbye and completing instead of walking away half finished, GRIEF and sadness to create energy in completing the past and moving on with forgiveness not resentment. GUILT is the energy that forms our conscience, it’s called that because it’s a confidence trick. Functional families honour guilt but see it as con-science. Called the mafia of the mind it has no basis in fact, it’s an illusion that controls and demands pain. SHAME is the energy that lets us know we have a limit, shame can be functional because it’s feeling that we have crossed a boundary, we have made a mistake but can learn from it. JOY is the energy of freedom, our needs are fulfilled and we feel complete in our skin and whole being. It’s a natural high like THE WALTONS.
Now meet the Family DYSFUNCTIONAL : Team B
Each family member always carries the family within themselves. Your birth is your first life experience and emotional role model and your upbringing will linger longer than you think. Both will affect all future adult relationships. A dysfunctional family is riddled with secrets and what go’s on in this house, stays in this house. Codependency is the major outcome of the dysfunctional family set-up with the following defective components :
CONTROL – One must be in control of all interactions, feelings and personal behaviour at all times. This is the survival instinct. Once you control your feelings all spontaneity is lost and control gives each family member a sense of power, predictability and security. Control madness is in everyone. No wonder drugs offer a respite solution.
PERFECTIONISM is about being right in everything you do, it’s exhausting to watch and suggests superior on the outside while inferior on the inside. The need for perfectionism is the fear of rejection and abandonment coupled with approval addiction. Think Hyacinth Bucket. BLAME – rather than take responsibility for themselves dysfunctional family members will continuously blame each other, until anger and voices rise, breeding COMPETITION and RIVALRY. DENIAL is not knowing what YOUR needs are but clear about everyone else’s in the family. Think Antony in Caroline O’Hearn’s ROYLE FAMILY.
EMOTIONAL WITHHOLD figures high on the list of dysfunction. Don’t talk openly about feelings, thoughts, sexuality and fearful experiences. This means abiding by the rule of perfectionism, loyalty and misguided duty. As Eric Idle sang in Python” Always look on the bright side of life ” is the perfect ploy for shutting up about how you really feel. This is a useful distraction from the reality of emotional pain or other scarcities. Avoid upsetting anyone. Dysfunctional family members love a fight, a drama and the battle of separation encouraging INCOMPLETION. The resentment must go on for years because ” it’s FAMILY “. Plus don’t mention the row to anyone else. UNRELIABILITY is the result of dysfunction, never trust anyone and be on 24 hour guard duty for personal attack and when attack occurs REMEMBER IT. Family feuds go on for years until no one can remember what caused it. LACK OF BOUNDARIES completes the jokers pack of the dysfunctional family.
So as you munch on a mince pie, check a few things about how you feel about being home. Is alcohol controlling the proceedings? Is kitchen stress evident, with a price to pay? Are you counting the hours or do you wish you came home more often? If you do, plan it while you are at home and communicate what you miss, it’s likely parents or siblings will value that. It’s very easy for gayers to withold the truth about clubbing/drugging/city life and sauna frolics and no one is suggesting you go for full confession but often our families think we don’t care when we remain silent and if they remain silent about your sexuality then it may be because YOU are not mentioning it. Politeness can be a killer.
So as you consider whether your FAMILY is A or B think also about how you have created a gay family of choice. Does it reflect your family home with the same old stuff going on? Then it’s time to review that too. Check out who serves your needs and who takes you for granted. Who reminds you of Dad? Who never rings back? Many of my blogs refer to Family Dysfunction, Codependency and Relationship recovery so if it gets too much go online for a barrage of info over the festive period @ http://www.theswarmite.com