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Response To George's Story Called "Family?"

by Dr. DeFoore

Hello George, and thank you for telling your powerful and dynamic story on this site. Your words and the deep thought and self reflection behind them are inspiring to me. I sense a true commitment on your part to grow and change. I am glad you are already receiving some benefit from your counseling, and I agree that it will take a while before your wife will be able to begin rebuilding her trust. That is her concern, and yours is to stay true to your path of healing.

You are obviously a very intelligent man, and it is clear to me that you have a good heart. You spent a lot of years building up patterns of resentment, anger and aggression, and with good reason. That was how you survived in your family.

Your family members are not bad people, as individuals. However, the family system is highly toxic and dysfunctional. It sounds like you are the one person who has and is currently trying to leave that toxic family system. The alliance between your parents and your brother are a refection of the dysfunctional system's effort to preserve its existence. The rejection of you and your current family are also evidence of this process. I know this is pretty heady stuff, but I think you can understand it. Since you're interested in reading as part of your healing journey, I suggest that you do a search on family systems theory books by Murray Bowen, Jay Haley and others and see if that is of any interest to you.

Your forgiveness will progress more effectively when you are able to separate the individuals in your family from the toxic system of the family unit. Toxic units reject any component (you) that doesn't fit with the overall system. You can be glad for that. As you know, your brother is not better off than you are, and he is totally accepted and included in the family system.

Here are my recommendations for you at this time:

1) Start journaling daily, following the guidelines you will find on this page. That will include a full account of the trauma you have experienced (which is substantial), a daily anger journaling process, and a positive journaling process. This will be very beneficial to you.

2) When you feel ready, use the imagery processes on this page for your emotional healing from past trauma. Imagery is essential for the kind of healing and transformation you are looking for.

You seem very serious about your healing and recovery process. For that reason I wanted to mention to you that I offer telephone counseling to folks outside of the Dallas area. Please contact me if you would like to schedule a session or discuss the services I offer.

I feel a strong degree of confidence that you will succeed in your efforts to heal and transform, George, regardless of what methods you choose. Please feel free to write again or comment on this page if you like.

My very best to you,

Dr . DeFoore

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