If visiting your parents is challenging and you want to know how to stop regressing around your family, read on for some helpful insights and tips.
It doesn’t matter how successful and self-confident you are as an adult, or how many children of your own you have, most people find themselves regressing when they go back to visit their parents and siblings.
This type of behavior is often surprising not only to ourselves – but also to our partners. They see us turn into completely different people. And not always for the better.
So, do you just give in to the fact that your family are always going to treat you the same way – and feel lots of stress and discomfort. Or do you make changes and try and redefine your adult relationships?
First, let’s explore what it means to regress around family – the good and the bad of it.
It’s not always a negative to revert to the roles you had as kids.
It can help you reconnect with your siblings to re-hash and reminisce old memories and friendly rivalries. Plus it is sometimes fun to re-explore the ol’ scrabble cheat – to try and beat that one brother or sister who won every game.
As long as you aren’t falling into unhealthy behavior patterns – that result in resentment or bullying – then see if you can relax and just enjoy falling back into that familiar zone of behavior.
It’s sometimes the case that no matter how old you are, you are perpetual children to your parents. And they can treat you as such.
This treatment can manifest itself in controlling behavior. Or your parents can simply not take your feelings and opinions into account.
For example… If you have kids, they may insist on trying to discipline them. Or they might disregard your own wishes as to how you raise your children. It can leave you feeling very stressed.
This regression isn’t always one way. Many of us find ourselves falling into old patterns around family. Perhaps you were always considered the whiney younger child – or the eldest child who is expected to take on a lot of family responsibility. We can often find ourselves reacting in this exact same way.
If the time you’re spending with your family is full of conflict and leaves you feeling resentful, then this isn’t the way to continue. It will only lead to a simmering resentment and avoidance of future family events.
Instead, think about what you could do to change your own behavior when you’re around family. Try to maintain your own sense of self, the person that you are now, not who you were then.
When it comes to dealing with your parents, how you deal with this depends on the behavior they’re exhibiting. Perhaps they don’t realize they’re doing it. In which case a tactful conversation might make them aware of what they’ve been doing. They may even be shocked to find they’ve been acting this way.
It won’t always be this easy though. You may need to be firmer in your conversations with them – especially when it comes to raising your own children. They need to know that while you value their input, they do not make the rules.
Regressing when we’re around family can make us feel less confident and angry with ourselves and our family. It’s important that you nip this behavior in the bud early so that you can evolve the relationships you have with them and enjoy them for the rest of your life.