491: Family of Origin

What topics do you / did you avoid around your family of origin?


Full episode script

Last week, we ended the week talking about how we interact with family on our social networks. Based on a lot of the conversations that arose out of that, I wanted to ask this as an add-on.

First, a family of origin. This is a term that seems to have arisen around the 1990s as a way of referring to a family that is the one you grew up with or around. It’s more inclusive than nuclear family or biological family, because it’s based on experiences, rather than on outside connections.

That long history that comes from growing up with a group of people, though, can create a lot of tension around or with certain topics. They could be topics that you know will cause controversy, that touch a particular nerve, or increase the tension level.

There’s lots of research out there that says connecting with people close to us about topics important to us can be exceptionally important. Telling those stories and opening up about how things impact us is one of the most effective ways to understanding.

But there is NO reason at all to force yourself to do more than you can handle. As Todd VanDerWulff wrote for Vox:

The important thing is to reach out to your friends and family who feel differently from you and remind yourself that you’re all human beings. If that means, at this moment in time, letting a few snide quips slide, because you’re just not ready to talk about it, let that happen.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.