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“I never ask for help.”

If loving attention can be thought of as a form of currency within a family, then it can be said that the wealth distribution can be dramatically skewed in families where a parent or child has a disability.

The natural response is for the family member in need to receive the most attention and support. What’s less understood are the roles surrounding family members assume in response and the lasting effects of these roles.

What happened?

“I grew up with a brother who needed a lot of attention due to disability.”

What’s happening?

“I play the role of being a helper with nearly everyone around me. It’s gotten to the point where everyone just expects me to do things for them at the drop of a hat. I’m completely overwhelmed.”

The Healing Movement

“In the beginning I had to become intimately connected to the word ‘no.’ And it wasn’t as simple as just saying the word. It turned out that for me, it was really about what was on the other side of that ‘no.’ Which was essentially fear.

Would the other person lash out at me? Would they be disappointed, offended, or break ties with me?

That’s what helped me. Processing a fear that had lived in my nervous system. From there I tested the waters, redrawing the boundaries with several people that would always ask way too much from me.

Now I’m tuned into my honest capacity for being there for other people. When I hit my limit, I’m more willing to take the risk to ask for what I need. It’s not just about speaking up when I’ve done all I’m willing to do. Just as important is reaching out to others and asking for help when I need support myself.

Where I really see the difference is in my energy in other areas of my life. When I’m not getting drained by certain friends or coworkers I’m freed up in unexpected ways.

Closing Thoughts

Many siblings of family members with disabilities earned their place in the family through minimizing their own needs. To be needy might have overwhelmed parents that already had their hands full. In fact, to have needs at all might have made them the target of anger, judgement or even abuse.

In these situations, belonging in the family can come with an enormous pressure to be completely selfless. Unlearning this selflessness and developing a sense of what healthy boundaries look like can create a whole host of benefits.

#selflessness #peoplepleasing #perfectionism #selfreliance #shame #familyconstellations

This brand of selflessness takes on many forms. Some examples include, total self-reliance, perfectionism, imbalance of give and take in relationships,

Coupled with

in their famWhen a parent or sibling requires an extraordinary amount of attention within the family, the other family members must make due with whatever’s available.