“Family of origin” is just a fancy way of talking about the family that you grew up in. For a large portion of us, a “family of origin” means our biological mother, father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and the like. If you will indulge me for a moment, I would like for you to take a moment and reflect on your family of origin. When I reflect on mine, I have memories of my dad’s humor, my mother’s cooking, family traditions, fighting with my brothers, feeling scared, feeling happy, feeling loved, feeling lonely, and the list goes on.
David really wanted to be a good father, and provide for his family in all the ways his own father had not. Unfortunately, having experienced trauma growing up, David had mental health issues he didn’t know how to deal with and he turned to alcohol as a means to cope. When his two children, Molly and Manny, were very young, David’s struggles with alcoholism affected his ability to provide them a stable home and impacted his relationship with their mother, Ana, in very unhealthy ways. On all fronts, David and his family were in crisis.
Let us imagine for a moment, that your lifelong dream has been to help medically fragile children. You earned an advanced degree and you were lucky enough to get a job at a specialized Children’s Hospital. The pay was decent and the work, while challenging, was very rewarding. After several years, you were keenly aware of two things: one, you never receive a pay increase, and two, the needs of the children being served were becoming much greater. However, you continue steadfastly because of your heartfelt dedication to young lives in need of healing.