If your family of origin was like many, there was a degree of unpredictability in your days. Indeed, most of us grew up quietly comparing our experience to the myth of the ‘normal family’ and wondering what we had done to screw things up.
Once you realized your family was different, maybe you invested energy trying to hide those familial ‘nasty bits’ from the outside world. Or maybe you railed against the unfairness. Maybe you left, only to learn from The Eagles in later life that “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
So, we carry our histories with us. And when we encounter echoes of it all, well, those echoes resonate powerfully and often unconsciously.
And now, here, we have family dysfunction writ large. This American presidency feels nauseatingly familiar for some of us. There’s a bully at the Bully Pulpit. And so we’re back where we started, living with a level of baseline stress that is profoundly enervating.
Daddy is nuts or drunk or maybe on some kind of drug that he puts up his nose, and a third of the people in the family are acting like there’s nothing weird going on. The adults in the room are leaving, and the institutions that are supposed to help in situations like this seem to not be functioning properly. Meanwhile, we try to carry on with our everyday lives. It’s a tough road.