RevGals Friday Five: Family Norms

Jan over at RevGals offers this family vacation Friday Five:

***Jan may not have anticipated opening up this can of worms***

1. Formal rules in family of origin Oh my. My mother was raised in a chaotic alcoholic family. She was broken at a young age. A woman who could have been brilliant, creative, and funny (and she was), who implanted deeply into her family strong liberal political views, was also Borderline – or with those tendency at the very least. That said – rules in my family of origin: mother is always right. affirm mothers world view, even if it is a distortion of reality, because then all will be calm in the house. How’s that for a strong family rule. Of course, well, it was often impossible to actually do that.

2. Unwritten and unspoken rules in family of origin I think what I have already said sheds light on this one. Mother is always right.

3. Formal rules in current family or workplace We always let one another know where we are. If we go out to one place and then go to another we call at least one person and let them know. I call my husband, he calls me, the kids call one of us. But also: rinse your dishes and PUT THEM IN THE DISHWASHER. Turn off lights when leaving a room. (And for my husband, if only he could really learn this – turn OFF the TV when you leave one room because you will just turn it on in the next…). Let the dogs outside frequently and make sure all the animals have water.

I can’t go into the rules at work, I’d be writing all day and, well, I do actually have to show up there sometime this morning….

4. Unwritten rules in current family or workplace Unwritten rule at work: I am clearly the “daughter” who will not behave herself and do what they want. It matters not that I was hired to be the leader…

At home: We must have ice cream in the house at all times. Coffee, too!

5. When was a time that you became aware of different rules in different places/families than your own? As kids do, I understood early on that my family of origin was not “normal” – I mean how many kids have mothers who sleep all day and night? For two years? (Ok, she was depressed and the dr. gave her Valium, and then she got addicted. Life got better when she realized she was addicted and stopped taking it…) – So, I became an expert in the study of others. I learned a lot about normal from spending lots of time with my friends. Well, that and many many years of therapy. Since then I have learned from my husband’s family – good learning for me. And I continue to learn from friends. Now my children have been able to say to me: wow, our family is so normal….do you know goes on at “so and so’s” house?….living proof of the effectiveness of therapy, love (husband), and faith.


About Terri C Pilarski

I am an Episcopal priest serving a delightfully progressive, interesting, creative congregation. I have been married more than half my life to the same man. We have two grown children, plus two dogs and two cats, although the number of four legged household members changes from time to time. I love to garden, knit, read, and play on Facebook or with my blog. I have been a practitioner of daily meditation since I was nineteen. I practice yoga five days a week and walk every where I am able too.
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9 Responses to RevGals Friday Five: Family Norms

  1. yep. being truly, truly loved by someone makes all the difference in the world… and faith (duh!) i mean what kinda pastor would i be if i didn't agree with that???(the kind that's only had 1/4 cup of coffee and it's pushing ten in the morning kind… uhm and is the shower close?)

  2. Jennifer says:

    I want to say that you were not only hired…but called by God…to serve the Church. You are a leader. I belive that.

  3. Jan says:

    We grew up in somewhat similar families. Guess the "can of worms" analogy was truer than I thought in the early morning.I'm saddened by your role as "daughter" at your church, but that must be just the tip of the iceberg.

  4. altar ego says:

    It is wonderful that you have created a home of "normality" for your children (and for you!). It's not easy to come from the kind of home that was your beginnings and implement that kind of positive change. Well done!

  5. Reading this post struck a chord with me. My family rules were somewhat similar to yours. Everything had to revolve around Mom's bottomless emotional need.Like you, marriage to a good man and therapy have made a lot of difference.

  6. Evelyn says:

    Your post gives me hope! So, friends, faith, and therapy will continue to be my priorities! That, and a good sense of humor. My family growing up was anything but "normal", and yes, my stepmother HAD to be right. Your blog is amazing…… I'm intrigued by the alphabet of gratitude!

  7. Rev SS says:

    So happy for you and your current family! And, praying for strength and wisdom as you deal with the "stuff" #4 aludes to!

  8. Barbara B. says:

    Yes, what Rev SS said! I admire your courage.And I like having both ice cream and coffee in the house too 🙂

  9. Ice Cream ALWAY in the house??? How can you do it?

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