In his truly wonderful book on communication, Marshall Rosenberg teaches a variety of techniques for improved interactions with others. He gives an example of a woman who uses these techniques to successfully diffuse a hostage situation where she was held at knife-point, but then later that week, she can’t seem to use any of these techniques while arguing with her mother! The relationships we have with our immediate family members can have such unique and deep-rooted dynamics, that even people who have accomplished significant positive changes in their lives can still be left struggling and confused.
One of the key tools for more productive relationships with family is setting appropriate boundaries – that is, what behavior from family is accepted and what is not. This comes with radical acceptance of who our parents and family really are – NOT who we wanted (and needed) them to be.
An incredible amount of emotional maturity comes with this deep level of acceptance, and can set the stage for other healthy relationships in a person’s life – romantic, platonic or professional. A trained therapist can work with you to effectively understand the traumas (and also the good things) from your past. As Jung states, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”