Sunday, June 7, 2009

Did you grow up in a “crazy-making” world?

Most women tell me that they felt confused in their homes. They received mixed messages and had trouble making sense of the world around them. You may have heard the expression “There’s an elephant in the living room.” This means that many issues in the family, which may have seemed obvious to the child or young woman, were never acknowledged or addressed. People pretend that all is fine when underneath the façade they are not fine at all. This occurs all too frequently.

Crazy-making messages are common elements in many families. Parents may not know how to confront difficult situations and may lack the communication skills necessary to do so. They may be held back by fear (of upsetting someone else, of incurring another’s anger, being abandoned, or being invalidated once again). So, many family members play the roles they have been assigned in the family and act as they imagine they are supposed to but, all the while, feel confused and disconnected – their true experiences and feelings hidden away from each other.

This breeds self-doubt and confusion. It is hard to feel confident and good about yourself when the world around you is not making sense. It is easier to play along (and eat to dull your feelings) than to risk disrupting the family system. Does this sound familiar? Have you been emotionally eating to suppress your real thoughts and true feelings? The time to stop that is now!

My Best, Dr. Denise

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