Sometimes your family’s values or characteristics are so different from your own; you may feel as if you don’t belong. Instead of being embraced in their love, you find yourself drawing away from them. What do you do when this happens? Do you dump your family or survive it? Ã‚Â MWERETI KANJO finds out.
Feelings of living with the wrong family can begin as early as childhood. They are a common theme in puberty, escapism, moving into college, years when one seeks self-awareness and considers their true belonging. This feeling affects much of what you do in life, especially as it comes into focus with time. So what do you do?
Eric Umar, a psychologist, says the overarching reason for this is a conscious or unconscious sense of not fitting in. Closely related to this, is social anxiety, where an individual feels uncomfortable belonging or being recognised or associated with a specific group and what that association entails.
He says the feeling of being born in a wrong family could be that an individual sees themselves different from the rest of the family; this could be because they have better talents, are more intelligent or more attractive than the rest of the family members. It can also be where one sees themselves as intellectually superior or indeed it can be the vice versa of all these.
Umar points out that, because this is an emotionally charged situation, the first thing you should do is to come to terms with the fact that you are, or you feel as if you are alienated from your family. The second phase involves an exploration to discover the elements that contribute to the formation of those feelings.
He says, for this one, there is need to be very honest with yourself, realise and accept the root of your situation irrespective of how embarrassing it is.
“After you admit this, it is important to embrace these feelings. The elements that would assist to recover include accepting the fact that individuals are endowed with different competences and that so many factors account for some people being successful or not,” says Umar.
Is there a way of reconnecting once this happens? According to Umar, yes there is.
“The basics include really working with your cognitions. Thus the way you perceive things (life) and think about things and making sure that you change the faulty cognitions. It requires real commitment and sustained effort to change them, where as an individual you need to constantly check out for all negative thoughts and perceptions and realign them with what you believe should be the appropriate thoughts,” says Umar.
Family counsellor Regina Phanga feels that love is the most important aspect in holding a family together. Ã‚Â She says it does not matter what the conditions for feeling like an outsider are; whether you are more prayerful than your family is or vice versa. When there is love among family members, nothing can tear them apart and with love, it is easy to learn from one another.
“To begin with, the person should love their family. We were all created in the image of God and nothing should be more powerful than that. With love, people listen to each other. Love is the answer to everything. God loves us despite our flaws and we must learn to love others as well,” advise Phanga.
When you fail as an individual, it is always advised to seek support from other people who could be other family members and ultimately seeking professional support.