When Your Family of Origin Triggers You

photo by Paul Reckless, creative commons, flickr

photo by Paul Reckless, creative commons, flickr

Our family of origin is one of the most emotionally upsetting domains, and it doesn’t need to stay that way.

We can get to a place of ease and the holidays are a perfect time to “practice.” We can relax enough so that when all the triggers arise, we don’t bite. Or, when we do bite, because we probably will, we have resources, tools, and a practice to go to.

Our parents and siblings (like our kids), can help us become who we really are simply by triggering the shit out of us. Without knowing it, our families direct our attention to the places in ourselves that remain hurt, young, and fragmented.

If we are serious about getting the kind of relationship we want as adults, instead of saying fuck you to our family, we can say thank you to them for behaving in just the way they do, so that we can get to work on our unfinished business that is now activated.

Plus, it is most often our wounds with our family of origin that wreaks such havoc in our current intimate relationships. If that’s true, then our family is THE place to deal in order to have a more vibrant, less challenging intimate partnership in present time.

So, treat your holiday experience as a welcome opportunity to practice. It might just deepen your marriage.

Huge gratitude for my own family.

Oh, and if you have a resentment with one of your family members, try this.




  • Fabio

    Reply Reply December 20, 2012

    Yes, totally agree with this one.
    I would love to know about your personal experience and how you dealt with your own family of origin.

  • Deborah

    Reply Reply December 16, 2013

    The way I delt with family members who triggered me was to talk about them. We would pull up a chair and listen to one another*s differences. Not yelling, or cursing at one another. To my father who avoids, I say thank you!

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