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The Interpersonal Theory of Relativity

How do you define “normal” in your personal relationships?

Why do you define “normal” that way?

What if the environment you grew up in was toxic to your well-being? How would you know it wasn’t healthy?

I will put it another way. If you grew up blind, would you have any understanding of what it would be like to live with sight?

You wouldn’t really know. If you’d been blessed with a healthy role model with a consistent presence and influence in your life during the formative years, despite dysfunctional family dynamics, you might clue in to behaviors that work, versus ones that don’t. But it is still unlikely that you would be immune to the poisonous influences of your primary caregivers.

No parent is perfect, no child is perfect, no household is perfect, and life has its trials and tribulations, even in the best of scenarios. The point is that what we go through in our past shapes how we view and navigate the world going forward, especially the things that happen to us in our early childhood.

Our lives are a series of repeating patterns, if you look closely enough. If you look into the things that seem to happen to you over and over, then begin to peel back the layers (the circumstances, the thought patterns, the emotions, the choices, etc.), then look for similar patterns going back further and further in your life, eventually you may find the genesis of a certain pattern. Every person in your life also has his or her own patterns, which intersect with yours at times, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively.

But once one is aware of a certain pattern, the pattern can be consciously changed – that’s not to say it’s an easy thing to do. Sometimes changes to your own patterns impact only you, but they can also have a ripple effect and influence the patterns of those around you. Like the old patterns, the new patterns intersect with others’ patterns. Some may choose to change their patterns to be in harmony with yours, some may remain the same or move into conflicting patterns. But changes in patterns can alter the way life unfolds going forward for better or worse, so it’s a good idea to examine your life for what works and what doesn’t, and tweak accordingly.


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