But whether good, bad, indifferent or confusing, we don’t have to inherit the roles established through youth or circumstance… we can choose to rethink the roles we want to play within our family.
And ‘family’ can refer to the people you choose to surround yourself with, not just your biological relatives, despite the oft-quoted adage that “you can choose your friends but not your family”. So what are these family roles we adopt, and why would we want to change them?
What are family roles?
I think of them as any physical, emotional or relational tie that we have to our family as a whole, or to individual members. They can be labels we take on, behaviours we repeat or feelings we associate with our family.
An example of some of the roles I’ve inherited are: black sheep, big sister, rule-breaker/boundary-stretcher, courageous (if a little crazy), rebellious daughter, golden granddaughter and international jet-setter. There are many more, and you would perhaps get a different list if you asked my family members to provide it instead, but these are roles that have affected my relationships with all of my family and that I accepted as part of my identity.
It is the last of these – international jet-setter – that has caused me to rethink my family roles recently in my 12th year of living overseas.
Understanding & Changing Them
I realised that part of me had assumed that ‘international’ also meant ‘distant’ Continue reading