Understanding Family of Origin

At the mention of the word “family”, people naturally understand that they are those who share blood or genetic ties with you. Every individual is part of a family. You cannot really choose those whom you’re related to by birth but these days, the word has taken on a broader meaning and used more loosely. Family can mean those whom we share affection for, and not necessarily indicate that there is blood tie involved. Basically, the term “family of origin” can take on two meanings. Firstly, it refers to the family or caretaker you grew up with and they may be your biological or adoptive family. Secondly, it refers to the first social group that you belong to. The members within a unit sharing blood or genetic ties are called relatives.

In general, what is family of origin? Basically, it refers to the people you grew up with and those who shaped your childhood. They are also known as birth family and they are your first social group because you interact with them before you do with anyone else. The people you grew up with played an important role in molding you into who you are today. Many emotional and psychological developments take place during childhood years and it is within your family that you learn to be whom you are, for better or for worse. It is through birth family that you learn how to communicate, deal with emotions, and adapt different values. Though no single family is perfect, you acquire a strong sense of self if you are loved and given adequate sense of security. Any lack in these areas tends to lead to a weak sense of self and identity.

As family of origin may impact you in very significant ways, it helps to be aware of the level of influence and work towards overcoming any negative dynamics you’ve experienced over the years. Some people may have experienced household abuse and there is need to break free from that mentality by seeking help (i.e. counseling).

Therefore, is someone asks you, “what is family of origin?” you’ll know how to give an appropriate answer to that question.

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