Conditional Relationships: I Can’t Move the Mountains Either!

Being heard and understood changes our physiology.

Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score

Some relationships are always hard, e.g. with a parent, sibling, spouse, child or other.

Sometimes it feels we can spend our lives just trying to work out why they are so hard and trying different ways to improve the connection.

Do other people experience this too?

It’s a lonely place when you can’t find anyone who can relate to the difficult relationships around you that could involve; conditional love, manipulation, expectation, emotional abuse, etc.

At holidays such as Easter, Christmas, Eid, Diwali, etc, we have an idealised and commercial day to prepare for.

The build up can last for several weeks and it is impossible to avoid the hype. If you have had positive experiences at this time of year, an abundance of family to see and the means to afford a celebration, then it’s a wonderful time.

Sadly, this isn’t the case for everyone. Seeing family can be very triggering. The very people we are led to believe that we can trust eternally, feel at home with and be loved unconditionally by, can in fact, be quite the opposite. Instead preparing for holidays can actually means armouring up.

Toxic Family doesn’t pause for the holidays.

The Princess Priya said it! ❤️

The film ‘Encanto’ illustrates perfectly how members of a ‘tight-knit’ family can be excluded, expected to behave in a certain way and put upon by elders in superhuman/impossible ways.

I love how relateable the characters are. I feel quite like Luisa at times being an oldest sibling and mum. Plus being a teacher and leader was an easy way to take on too much, as so many trauma survivors can become workaholics in order to cope.

I’ve had versions of Isabella around me in my life too and it’s insightful to see the way in which the difficulties she faces are well hidden under her beautiful exterior.

Carl Rogers

I definitely sing along (with meaning) to Mirabelle’s ‘I’m fine, I’m fine’ song which soon breaks free to the truth of the matter for her: ‘I’m NOT fine, I’m NOT fine.’

I also quite like her death stare and I may have a (secret) talent of speaking with my eyebrows (as most teachers/mums/women do!) I reckon my clients can tell when I may be speaking with my eyebrows! 😂

Bruno, YES, we SHOULD talk about Bruno. I feel extremely strongly about people being left out or feeling left out. No one should ever feel left out in my book. I understand stepping back from relationships for safety, self-care and self-preservation. To me, this is realistic and essential for real relationships to work with trauma survivors.

What I do not stand for is people feeling unseen or unheard. So much of childhood for some was spent being out of sight and out of mind, especially for 1st, 2nd even 3rd generation British Asians.

Maybe now, in adulthood, it’s your time to shine! Strut your stuff and find your tribe. Realise you’re self worth and honour you! If you need help along the way, you know where I am.


If you need help changing direction, get in touch.
Credit: Katie Abey Designs

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