The Science and Soul of Living Well

Family dynamics: Moving from habit to choice

April 18, 2021

In this episode, I highlight different dynamics in our families of origin and ways they contribute to the development of certain patterns that help us survive and/or get our needs met, yet also can cause problems in our lives in adulthood (e.g., in terms of relationships, sense of self, responses to our emotions and ways of expressing them, etc.). Specifically, I focus on specific patterns and tendencies that can emerge from our family’s style of conflict resolution, use of criticism, values related to emotions and their expression, level of nurturance or caregiving, grief and stress, family secrets and elements of betrayal, and the amount of crisis, chaos, and disorganization present.  

For each pattern, I share important functions it may serve as well as ways in which it can be unhelpful, in order to help increase our awareness of the impacts of these patterns so that we can be living from a place of intentional choice rather than out of habit or from an autopilot mode based on our prior conditioning and learning. In addition, I offer some key questions and considerations that can serve as journal prompts or self-reflection questions to help you consider more deeply how these patterns might operate in your life and to foster curiosity about ways in which they do and don’t serve you. This process of self-inquiry can promote self-compassionate understanding of the origins of these patterns as well as support us in identifying what we might want to shift in our lives and how to begin or continue the process of letting go of what no longer serves us.

To connect more with Dr. Foynes:

  1. Check out the free 4-part video series on building resilience: https://melissafoynes.com/free-series

  2. 1:1 Coaching Program: https://melissafoynes.com/1-1-program

  3. Follow @drfoynes on Instagram.

Please note that the information provided in this episode does not constitute professional advice or therapy, mental health services, or health care services, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional advice or services. If you are struggling with a mental health crisis or need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

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