When I was a young chap, there was no order. My birthmother was 23 when she had me, her 7th child (She would go on to have 2 more). She started having babies while she was still a teenager and never was able to grow up. She also never had a husband, only donors. This resulted in a childhood that was challenging to say the least.
I had many opportunities to improve on my generational chain as I became a parent. Out of them all, the one that seemed to resonate most was being there for my children. Sports, school events, birthday parties, etc. I wanted to be present as a parent because that is probably what I missed the most as a child.
I followed through on my promise to myself and coached all of their teams, went to all of their school and sports functions, and supported them in everything they did and made sure they knew that I loved them. It was quite healing for me and I can honestly say that I broke the dysfunctional chain that was my experience, at least with this one dysfunction. While my children are still becoming adults, they display wonderful attributes that are the fruit of my labor.
Upon reflecting on this accomplishment, I wondered what the percentage is for success on breaking the generational chain for major dysfunctions in families? Whether that be poverty, abuse, alcoholism, etc. I wonder what the percentage is for those who succeed in breaking the chain vs those who go on to repeat the behavior?
Out of my siblings, 4 broke the generational chain, 2 repeated the behaviors (3 passed away at an early age). So for our family (counting only 6) it was 66% that broke the generational change, 33% repeated the behavior. I would be curious to hear about your experiences with this. Feel free to report in the comments!
How did you do it? My dad was in mental hospitals and I never knew him. My sister who was two years older than me at age 64 took her life in early September. We got six kids and some of them don’t talk to each other. One daughter is headed towards a custody battle and my 87 year old mom is very sick so life is quite stressful. I want to break the generational chains that are trying to tear us apart.
Thank you for sharing and I am sorry for all of the challenges you are navigating. I’m sending you a big hug! If I were in your shoes, I would try to focus on things that were in my control and not stress out about what you have no control over. Lead by example and show your family that there is a choice. You cannot control them and their choices but you can model behaviors that show them that there is an alternative. This could manifest itself in empathy and care for your mother, support of your daughter, and forgiveness. One last thing, forgive yourself. Do not beat yourself up over not having the perfect family. Focus on one thing and make that one thing better. Set yourself up for success. Sending you lots of prayers, love, and empathy.