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Family Dynamics: Family of Origin

Parental relationships are the first relationships that we experience in life. Even before we exit the womb, the relationship with our biological mother and even sometimes, auditorily, with our father, is significantly impactful. This relationship is an extremely important one. Even if you never knew your birth mother or father, at some point you may have wondered about this relationship. We learn things from these initial relationships that inform how we interact with the world around us. As we learn and observe these relationships, they show us how to be and also how not to be.

Our family of origin teaches us something about how the world works, should work or could work. Our family of origin includes our primary caretakers in the household—whether that be parents, step-parents, foster parents, aunts/uncles, or grandparents—others in the household including our siblings, cousins, pets—and lastly, at least one trusted adult outside of the household that has played a significant role in our upbringing. This trusted individual known as a "Charismatic Adult" does not necessarily have to be the most charismatic person or even an adult. However, their affectionate care is surely compelling and is largely impactful to our long-term development.

I mention this role, specifically, due to its significant long-term implications. While this Chatismatic Adult exists outside of the household, research shows that this individual plays a crucial role in the psychosocial development of a well-developed child. Children who lack this quality of relationship are likely to score higher on the Adverse Childhood Experiences inventory which can be correlated to poor psychosocial development and short/long-term behavioral issues. This person could be a family member, family friend, mentor, coach, or therapist. If you consider yourself a well-developed individual, you may be able to look back on your childhood and reminisce with respect to this important individual.

Our family of origin includes many dynamics which shape our concept of the world. The relationship between you and your parents or guardians is crucial. Witnessing the romantic relationship between parents/caretakers is equally crucial, and conflict between siblings teaches us how to navigate conflict outside the home. Together these experiences and skills allow us to interact in our own personal relationships autonomously.

While we do operate within these relationships autonomously, our past experiences shape the lens through which we navigate our lives. This means we may be stuck in patterns of operation that we accept as "normal" or take for granted. These patterns may cause trouble in our relationships which might conflict with our partner's perspective which comes from a different family of origin.

While partners from similar family dynamics may have more in common, it might be more difficult for these individuals to break forth from those patterns and establish newer healthier ones going forward.

Working with a licensed professional can help you identify and change these patterns, maximize your autonomy, and increase your experience of joy and satisfaction in your life and relationships.

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Sam Nabil is the founder of Naya Clinics and is a Cincinnati therapist and a Cincinnati Marriage Counselor.

Sam offers therapy in Cincinnati and Cincinnati Marriage Counseling for adults suffering from relationship challenges, life transitions and anxiety.

Sam was featured in many prestigious publications. Check out his interview with Aljazeera English And Cornell university , Yahoo News, USA Today,,

Naya Clinics is a top-rated Marriage Counseling, therapy and Life coaching practice.

Naya Clinics offers Marriage Counselors near me, individual therapy near me, and life coaching near me in various locations across the USA and the world.

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