So, how old are you really?

So, how old are you really?

So, how old are you really?

1 Comment on So, how old are you really?

The Guardian

In a characteristically serene post at Zen Habits, Leo Babauta points out that holiday family gatherings can be “the ultimate mindfulness training ground”: if you can remain centred and calm in the middle of Christmas dinner, you can presumably do so anywhere.

True, I’m sure. But for any of us heading back to childhood homes in the next few days – or, for that matter, reuniting elsewhere with the people we spent our childhoods with – there’s one huge challenge to be overcome. I’m talking, of course, about the ferocious black hole that sucks adult children, and their parents, back into family roles from years or even decades ago, the moment they’ve reassembled under one roof.

Holiday regression is an experience so universal that even therapists who specialize in this sort of stuff tend to counsel Just Dealing With It. “Expect to regress,” writes one. “Regression can be sweet,” ventures another. Forget all the progress you thought you’d made towards becoming a well-functioning and responsible member of society. For a week or so, you might as well be 13 again.

And, I would add, there’s just as many parental units of various sorts who find it equally annoying that their kids come home and act like they are an angry, depressed and aggressive version of 13 as well…

Are therapists of every sort exempt from it? Hardly. Therapists tend to be some of the most empathic, most emotional, most-impacted-by-others of anyone on the planet. Generally, the stories we hear from other counsellors tend, along with our own, to be as bad or worse…

Are there things you can do? You can remain connected with your heart and your spouse. You can talk through reactions in advance. You can meditate. You can strategically plan time outs, switch events and limit exposures. You can do disruptive things like asking emotionally loaded questions to keep certain individuals off balance or take risks of sharing in ways that break the family rules of, “Don’t talk, don’t think and whatever you do, DON’T FEEL!!!”

Will that fix it? Nope.

Mostly, it’s a question of learning to find the relational-life and enjoy it whenever you can…

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