Our Family of Origin sets the foundation for our people and shapes our personal community, connections, and friendships throughout our lives. From our living environment to the communities we associate with, the people we choose to be around, and even our values and beliefs, our Family of Origin sets the foundation for these elements. Depending on how active you get in cultivating your social wellness, your family of origin might completely set the tone for you own “Your People Framework” for the rest of your life.
Why does this matter? Your support system is the foundation you build for the rest of your life. Having supportive people in your life impacts your willingness to take risks, make connections, follow your passions, take care of your health, and many other important life factors. In this article, we will delve into the significance of Family of Origin within the Your People Framework and explore how it influences our overall social wellness.
PODCAST EPISODE! Listen to my story… and why I believe so firmly that building yourself a support system is the ultimate self care. Listen here.
The Your People Framework
The Your People Framework encompasses the individuals who form your personal community. Read about the Your People Framework here. As a quick refresher that shape your social network include:
- Family of origin
- Formal community
- Familiar friends
- Defined friends
- Present friends
- Historic friends
- Family of choice
- Past friends and connections
All these people, despite their varying connections to you, form an interconnected web of relationships that make up your overall support system. While they may not know each other personally, they are linked through shared stories or memories that you have shared with them. They collectively are the people who will hold you through the various parts of your life.
Constantly Evolving Relationships
The relationships within Your People Framework are dynamic and ever-changing, for some people their family of origin also falls in this fluid and changing category. Listen to Episode 19 of the Friendship IRL Podcast to hear Alex’s first-hand account of what it’s like to grow up with out a supportive family of origin. [ Take me straight to the episode]
BTW – Interested in learning more about the concept of Family Privilege. Listen to Diana Adam’s TED Talk, “Why US Laws Must Expand Beyond the Nuclear Family” here.
Overall, your community is unique to your current stage of life, comprising a diverse array of individuals who collectively create your support system. People are multidimensional, and it’s possible for one person to fulfill multiple roles within this framework. These roles and relationships can evolve over time, making the Your People Framework an ever-fluctuating entity.
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Understanding Diverse Experiences
It’s important to acknowledge that everyone’s experience with their Family of Origin is different. While some individuals may have an amazing Family of Origin, others may not include them on their Family of Choice list. It’s crucial to be open-minded and recognize that for some people, their chosen family constitutes their sole support system.
Family of Origin
Your Family of Origin consists of the individuals you grew up with in your household—your parents, siblings, and possibly extended family members. Even if they didn’t reside in the same household as you, you may include extended family such as grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles in this category.
(Note: Your partner and children fall under the category of Family of Choice, as they were individuals you actively chose to include in your life.)
Your Family of Origin represents the people with whom you share a fundamental “we are family” bond, encompassing both blood-related and legally-related relatives.
Expectations and Societal Messages
Family of Origin carries deep-rooted expectations, as the concept of “we are family” comes with numerous societal messages. Some of these messages include:
- “Family will always love us.”
- “You have to hug your family members.”
- “Family will always be there for you.”
- “You should spend the holidays with your family.”
- “Family acts in your best interest.”
However, each person and family decide which expectations they choose to uphold. While some individuals find that the expectations align with the actions of their Family of Origin, others may feel a disconnect between their expectations and their family members’ behaviors. This disparity might lead to someone wanting to seek out support in their life beyond their family or origin – whether that is community, friendships, and/or family of choice.
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Development of Family of Origin Roots
Family of Origin relationships develops through various roots, including:
- Shared Experience Roots: Most Family of Origin members share extensive experiences, such as traditions, holidays, group chats, email chains, and shared photo streams. Over time, you also discover common interests with your Family of Origin.
- Emotional Intimacy Roots: Growing up in the same household fosters emotional intimacy within the Family of Origin. These individuals have witnessed our triumphs, struggles, and vulnerabilities. This emotional connection can create a sense of safety and understanding, providing a unique level of support.
- Story Roots: Our Family of Origin often contains strong story roots, whether or not we choose them or if they are present due to societal expectations. These stories contribute to our sense of identity and shape our understanding of family dynamics.
PODCAST EPISODE! Listen to the Three Types of Roots here.
As we delve deeper into understanding the Your People Framework, it becomes evident how our Family of Origin has impacted our relationships throughout our lives. It serves as a significant influence on our social wellness and contributes to our overall well-being.
Ready to explore the other types of friends and individuals in the “Your People Framework”? Dive deeper into understanding your personal community and expand your support system. Read more about the different roles and relationships within the framework and how they contribute to your overall social wellness. Click here to continue reading about the Your People Framework.