Famly Roles – the Reasonable One

    Watching OWN television often triggers reflective moods for me.  This past weekend, I was thinking about what gives meaning to the daily routines of life.  I think it boils down to an emotional connection to the people, places and situations involved.
    I often feel disconnected and I think that happened gradually over my childhood, culminating in high school.  From all accounts, I was a very emotional and affectionate child.  I wore my heart on my sleeve.  As I remember this, I realized that getting what I wanted sometimes meant pretending that I didn't.  Next I realized that, if people knew what I cared about, they could hurt me.  Finally, I realized that people would try to manipulate me by manipulating my emotions.
    After that, certain people and situations were "safe" for me, but I purposefully worked on controlling my emotional reactions and how I displayed them.  I analyzed and planned and began to excel at problem solving.  Even when I couldn't control anything else, I could control how I reacted.  I became the "voice of reason" within my family.  I fixed things and acted as the negotiator.  I could be trusted to remain objective.
    I think this trajectory is the direct cause of my suicidal thoughts growing up and my restlessness and depression as an adult.  I think it is also the reason that I don't get much emotional support from my family or other people.  My sister calls me guarded and hard to get to know.  I have learned over time to factor my emotions back into my life, but I think my childhood realizations remain valid.  And my family continues to reinforce my role as the objective, reasonable fixer.
    I believe this family role explains why my sister was so uncomfortable with me having an emotional reaction to the events surrounding my 50th birthday.  She gave me "reasons" why my "feelings" weren't valid.  In essence, if I accepted the reasons, I couldn't be upset.  Since I am the reasonable one in the family, problem solved!

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