On Sunday, I encouraged each of us to construct a genogram. A genogram is simply a way to look at our families of origin in an attempt to swing back in order to move forward. We look at our families not to find fault but to get a realistic picture of what was healthy and unhealthy so we can grow, heal, and mature into our authentic selves in Christ.
Fill in 1-3 through the eyes of your childhood (8 to 12 years old).
- Next to each family member (parents, grandparents, siblings, and children) write down 2-3 adjectives describing them.
- On the lines between your parents, describe their marriage(s). Describe your grandparent’s marriages and then your own marriage if it applies. (in 2 to 3 words).
- Use the symbols below to depict the relationship between family members. Use the “Emotionally Relationships Legend” below and draw line symbols to connect family members.
- On the right side of your paper, note generational themes. For example, addictions, affairs, losses, abuse, divorces, depression, mental illness, abortions, children born out of wedlock, etc.)
- Beneath that, note “earthquake” events in your family history. For example, premature deaths, abuse, suicide, war, cancer, business collapse, etc.
Take a step back and consider your genogram:
- What might be one or two insights you are becoming aware of in terms of how your family or others impacted who you are today?
- What are one or two specific ways this may be impacting your roles: job, spouse, friend, sibling, etc?
- Based on the genogram, what did your family system teach you about….money, conflict, sexuality, grief and loss, expressing anger, family, relationships, attitudes toward other cultures, success, and feelings and emotions?