One of the my purposes for writing Jungle Pack: Therapy Workbook and Journal, had to do with a passion (still with me) to illuminate the subtle way we humans tend to step in each other’s toes. I wanted to help people reduce the number of times spent dealing with their family member’s personal rules. We all have things that get on our nerves. Most adults don’t like seeing an abandoned dirty plate on the living room table. Each of us have different reactions or responses to this, but none of us wants to have to think about it.
The mind of a preoccupied and busy parent (quite a few of us): If you do something I don’t like, you will be on my radar. Mess with my energy, and somehow I’m going to mess with yours.
It’s a matter of the human condition. Everyone has a way to deal with stress (stuff we don’t like), and not every way is healthy. Passive family members tend to let the stressful situation get bigger and bigger. When the argument comes it is much more heated and intense because an ignored mess tends to grow.
More direct family members will pull you into arguments again and again, sometimes for unreasonable amounts of time and with unreasonable consequences, unless there is a clear structure in place.
Either way, the more energy you have to invest in dealing with violation of someone else’s personal rules, the less you have towards time and things that are important to yourself.
There are times where each of us has to deliberately go against the grain and stand up for what is right and important. We need our energy for this. But if all our energy is spend on a bunch of preventable arguments and conflicts, there is not much left for when it counts the most.
Harmony is in place when each of us family members are paying attention to other likes and dislikes. I cannot control my father’s dislike of a messy living room, but I can control my choice in whether to go ahead and clean up my mess.