I enjoy looking at the fresh produce at the grocery store. Frequently I have been enticed by large, beautiful oranges and I’m disappointed to find that what I’ve bought is mostly peel! You can’t eat the peel but it does serve to protect the fruit that resides inside of it. Sometimes it is juicy and nutritious. Sometimes it’s small or rotten.
Each of us was raised in an environment surrounded by boundaries or peels that separate us in the world. Often, the thicker the peel, the more dysfunction in the family unit. I don’t actually like the term dysfunction but, if broken , it means”dys” or disorder of the way in which the household operates or”functions”.
Whenever there are problems within the family unit such as addictions or incest, thick boundaries prevent the external world from interfering. Those people who are within the orange are occasionally taught not to feel or talk about problems and that everything outside the peel is your enemy. In some cultures or households, those who leave the inside are shunned.
When two people begin a new connection, they bring what they know from their family orange with them. It is their”normal” and frequently they don’t speak about things that they have accepted from infancy and do not understand what went on in another person’s orange. If their experiences were healthy and happy, they may want to drag another person into their family orange. If they were unhealthy and miserable, they might see the new relationship as an escape.
Special events such as Christmas can lead to friction in households, particularly when those in the original oranges think that new partners will need to become part of their orange. I’ve seen clients dread the holidays as they feel they are expected (or demanded) to attend several meals, honor traditions that are unfamiliar and meet others without question. Adults can be expected to sleep on the ground with their children instead of book a hotel room just because”someone” thinks they want to all wake up at the same location on December 25th.
One of the toughest but important things for a brand new relationship is for them to create their own orange that honours their shared values. This requires good communications and healthy boundaries. New traditions can be made and rather than have extended family members dictate what is going to occur, the couple will make joint decisions that they can both stand for.
Now that we’re on the brink of this Christmas season, it is time to consider all those involved. Just because you have always done things a certain way does not mean that this will or should continue. Would you rather have it”your way” and cause strife or will you believe that time changes things and others have should be considered?
Be certain that you draw another circle for every single adult and each partnership rather than attempting to drag them into your circle. Achieving peace in the world this Christmas begins with your attempts to honour the needs of these on the removal of raccoons.
If you want to enjoy time together, consider offering an invitation as opposed to making a demand due to your expectations.
Perhaps it’s time for you to make some new traditions. It is all part of the Christmas preparation!