You are in your living room with your spouse and two kids feeling like an outsider. Your spouse just connects with the kids more. Even more now that they are adults. You feel like a fourth wheel on a tripod motorcycle. You carry in some dinner to the dining room hoping that your dish will gain you some attention or connection, its their favorite. They barely eat and you begin to argue over some random topic, upsetting you to the point of anger or frustration, you are not sure witch.
The family thinks you are overly sensitive, but what is really underneath?
Raising your family, becoming an empty-nester and finding yourself alone again with your spouse has been no easy task. You guys were married young, before either of you had the opportunity to discover yourselves. Now here you are, feeling on the outside. An adult. You always thought adults had it together, but you’ve learned the nasty truth, most don’t.
You don’t know yet, but you’ve always have felt like an outsider.
Your awareness hasn’t formed enough yet to know you have been feeling like a third or fourth wheel your whole life. After getting married, an attempt to feel in place, the difficulties of raising two kids distracted you. Not to mention, one was a serious challenge. Your mind has been shifted away for twenty years and now it’s back.
You can’t stand the constant emptiness, and you seek a therapist to help out since your friends just don’t get it.
After a few months you begin to understand your inner workings and have a plan of action to get you feeling good about yourself. All sorts of new connections are being made about your birth order, how a special family member’s death affected you and the impact of the structure of your family life as a child.
It all becomes clear and this new awareness helps create change.
You are a financial advisor, so you wonder why you never thought of examining all the variables within yourself that have produced the outcomes in life you have been experiencing. That’s how your job works at it’s most basic level. Your therapist remind you not to judge your past and look forward, so you are thankful for the insight and the connections you have made and move forward some more.
After about 6 months you feel like you can function more confidently and move from weekly sessions to bi-weekly check-in appointments with your counselor to maintain goals you have set for yourself. When you are at home you start to feel more confident in your place and role in the family. It has become clear to you how much those past experiences were impacting your functioning. Because you feel differently, your perspective changes and the connection with your spouse and children increases in strength. They begin to make you feel more included and your overall well being increases.
You realize how much you have grown and that the capacity for learning and growth never stops.
Was it them that changed or you? Maybe the changes in you changed them. We are all so interconnected, who knows!
What you do know is your troubles were never about what you were arguing about. They were all stemming from the feelings you kept buried about feeling important and belonging somewhere.
The biggest lesson you take away is to look under the context of situations that arise and look what lies beneath with yourself, your family and even clients.