Breaking family patterns - how to not become your own parents and rock your indiviuality

You've heard it before – "You're turning into your mother (or father)!" While it might have been a joke, there's a lot of truth to it. As we age, we tend to adopt our parents' mannerisms, habits, and even their voices. But fear not, my fellow millennials and Gen X-ers, there's a way to break free from this cycle and embrace your individuality. Let's dive into what you need to do now in order to become - or stay - your own person. So buckle up, and let's embark courageously on this journey towards self-discovery! We’re in on it together! 

The Science Behind turning into Your Inner Parent

  1. Genetics: It's All in the Family

Like it or not, those pesky genes have a lot to answer for. Our appearance, disposition, and even the way we laugh (yes, that one too) are all part of the genetic package deal. So, when people say you're the spitting image of your mom or dad, they're not kidding! Researchers have found that genetics play a significant role in determining our personality traits, which means you might just be predisposed to adopt some of your parents' quirks and habits.


  1. Social Learning: Monkey See, Monkey Do

From our earliest moments, we're basically tiny copycats. We watch our parents like hawks and then mimic their every move. As we grow, their values and beliefs seep into our very being, making it harder to tell where their influence ends and our own fabulousness begins.


According to the famous psychologist Albert Bandura, we learn through a process called observational learning. This means that we're constantly watching and learning from the people around us, especially our parents. So, if your mom always made her bed in the morning or your dad had a habit of telling terrible dad jokes, there's a good chance you'll adopt those habits too.


  1. Nostalgia: The Comfort of Yesteryear

There's something undeniably cozy about the familiar, and as we age, we tend to cling to the memories and habits of our youth. Emulating our parents is like wrapping ourselves in a warm, fuzzy blanket of nostalgia – who wouldn't want to snuggle up?


Research shows that nostalgia can have a positive impact on our mental health, as it provides a sense of continuity and connection to our past. So, when you catch yourself humming that same tune your dad always used to sing or find comfort in the same old family recipes, it's not just because you're turning into your parents – it's also because you're connecting with a part of yourself that brings you joy and comfort.

Strutting Your Parental Vibes with Style

Alright, so you're turning into your parents. But guess what? You can totally rock it. Here's how:


  1. Know Thyself

It's time to take a graceful step back and delve deep into understanding the most important person in your life: yourself. Now, tell me something: what quirky trait, irresistible passion, or undeniably unique habit is yours and yours alone? Ever pondered the origin of your love affair with tea? Or that peculiar quirk that leaves every partner both puzzled and charmed?


Is this gem of a trait authentically yours, or did you perhaps pick it up from your family's treasure trove of idiosyncrasies?


Let's be honest here. As children, we naturally mimic our parents. But as we enter our teenage years, we often embrace rebellion and defiance. Surprisingly, this pattern of "oppositing" continues as we navigate through adulthood.


Now, the question is: is this fierce defiance a true expression of your inner self, or is it an intricate dance that ties you ever closer to your life-givers? You may not be morphing into their spitting image, but your thoughts, actions, and essence are inextricably linked to their ways. So much for that grand illusion of freedom, right?


In my practice, I've seen time and again how understanding this delicate facet of one's personality can bring a sense of clarity and harmony. Knowing thyself, my dear, is the ultimate game-changer. Embrace it, and watch your life transform into a masterpiece of self-awareness and authenticity. You can start now - with a discovery session. 


2. The good ones into the pot - decide for yourself

Which parts of your parental heritage make you beam with pride, and which bits would you rather kick to the curb? Embrace the fabulous, work on the not-so-fab, and always remember you're a one-of-a-kind cocktail of nature and nurture. Ready to dive headfirst into self-discovery? Book a coaching session with me and I'll guide you through the intricate tango between your parents' legacy and your individual dazzle.


Start by creating a list of traits you absolutely adore in your parents, and those you'd prefer to leave behind. Consider the values and beliefs you want to rock, and the habits you'd like to kick. By being real with yourself and acknowledging both the positive and negative aspects of your parents' influence, you'll be better equipped to strike the perfect balance between their legacy and your own fierce identity.

Case Study : Overcoming the Inner Struggle

Sabine, a 30-year-old millennial, was taken aback when her boyfriend casually mentioned that she was turning into her mother. At first, she felt insulted and brushed off the comment, but as time went on, she started to notice the similarities in her own behavior. Sabine caught herself nagging her boyfriend over trivial matters, just as her mother used to do with her father. She realized that she was also overly critical of herself and others, mirroring her mother's perfectionist tendencies.


Feeling devastated and desperate to change, Sabine started to question her identity and struggled with the realization that she had, indeed, adopted many of her mother's traits. This inner turmoil affected her relationships and self-esteem, as she grappled with the idea of being a mere reflection of her mother rather than her own person.


Determined to make a change, Sabine sought my help and discovered body therapy. Through this approach, she was able to reconnect with her body and emotions, enabling her to release pent-up stress and become more self-aware. As Sabine continued her body therapy journey, she gradually transformed her behavior and learned to embrace the positive aspects of her mother's influence while letting go of all the negative traits.

3. Set Those Boundaries


As you blossom into your fabulous, parent-adjacent self, remember to set some healthy boundaries with your dear folks. Give yourself room to twirl and flourish, even if it means sashaying away from the path they envisioned for you. Establishing boundaries may feel like a challenge, but it's absolutely crucial for your personal growth and mental well-being, darling.


This might involve having open and honest heart-to-hearts with your parents about your needs, desires, and dreams. By setting those limits and communicating your expectations, you'll create a fabulous environment where both you and your parents can truly shine.


I know this can be a tough one. Especially when “permission to speak freely” wasn’t granted a lot in your childhood. It might take an extra ounce of courage and inner stability. It probably will feel more like a confrontation than a loving conversation between adults. Don’t worry, I have your back! Whenever you decide to open up the channels of communication with your folks, I can help you prepare to. Just pop me an email! 


Case Study: Boundary Setting - Chris Finds His Balance


Chris, a 40-year-old Gen X-er, was struggling to break free from his father's gravitational pull. He felt suffocated by the pressure to follow in his father's footsteps, both professionally and personally. But Chris indeed was ready to shine on his own terms! After 10 years of inner fight, he realized the importance of setting boundaries and communicating with his father. Chris took the plunge, asked for my help, and guess what? He found his balance, pursued a career he loved, and even was able to establish a healthy relationship with his father. 

  1. Learn from the Masters

Your parents have been around the block (and then some), so why not soak up their wisdom and use their trials and triumphs as inspiration? Leverage their hard-earned experience as a launchpad for your own decisions, and you might just find yourself strutting one step ahead of the game.


Take the time to truly listen to their stories, ask - not for their advice especially, but for their idea about how to handle a certain situation. Ponder the lessons they've learned throughout their rollercoaster lives. Remember: You don't have to nod in agreement with every word they utter! But being open to their unique experiences can offer you priceless insights and help you dodge the same pitfalls they faced.


Be curious, ask questions, and engage in meaningful conversations. As you do, you'll not only deepen your understanding of the world but also strengthen that fierce individuality of yours as you sashay along your own path to greatness.

Case Study: Learning from the Masters - Sophia's Growth Through Mentorship


Sophia, a 28-year-old millennial, felt conflicted about the influence of her parents on her life choices. While she appreciated their wisdom, she also wanted to forge her own path. Sophia began actively seeking her parents' guidance while also connecting with mentors in her field of interest. This approach allowed her to learn valuable lessons from both her parents and her mentors. Taking those learnings into her body therapy helped her cross-check with her own personality and what was truly dear to her own heart. That’s how Sophia learned to get a well-rounded, unique perspective on her career and personal life.

  1. Find Your Tribe

Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share your values and support your growth. Your social circle plays a significant role in shaping your identity, and having a strong network of friends and mentors can help you navigate the complexities of your parental transformation.


Connect with people who inspire and challenge you, and you'll find that the influence of your parents is just one piece of the puzzle that makes up your unique self. Together, you and your tribe can redefine what it means to "turn into your parents" and turn it into a positive force for growth and self-improvement.

If you want me to be part of that tribe for a while, let's chat! 


The Benefits of Breaking Family Patterns and Embracing Your Individuality

By breaking free from your parents' influence and embracing your individuality, you'll start to notice some life-changing benefits. Let’s explore!

Improved Self-Confidence: As you shed the layers of your parents' influence, you'll begin to trust your instincts and intuition more. This self-assuredness will sizzle in your personal and professional life, boosting your confidence in your own fabulous abilities.


Healthier Relationships: Living your truth allows you to forge genuine connections based on mutual understanding and respect. Say goodbye to unhealthy patterns, and hello to stronger, more fulfilling relationships with those who matter.


Enhanced Creativity: Embracing your individuality allows you to tap into your unique creative potential. By following your passions and interests, you can explore new ideas, solve problems in innovative ways, and express yourself more freely. So go ahead! 


Greater Resilience: When you understand and accept your true self, you become more resilient to life's challenges. You'll be better equipped to handle stress and bounce back from setbacks because you're more in tune with your inner resources.


Increased Happiness: Living authentically leads to greater satisfaction and happiness. By embracing your individuality, you're more likely to chase goals that align with your values and passions, paving the way for a life that's oh-so-fulfilling.


Turning into your parents might be a fact of life, but it doesn't have to cramp your style. With self-awareness, boundary-setting, and a focus on personal growth, you can take the best of your parents' legacy and make it your own. So go ahead, strut your parental vibes with pride, and if you need a little extra help along the way, I’m here for you. Embrace the journey and you might just find that it's a powerful catalyst for personal growth, self-discovery, and building a life that's uniquely yours.


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© Karin Klein