One of those often quoted observations: Dysfunctional families repeat the same pattern of problems without learning. Functional families progress through a series of different problems as they mature. I thought this was one one of the most depressing truths when I first encountered it. Might as well stick with the problem you know
I see it a bit more positively now. In my interactions with people, I understand people's motivations better, and this helps me not repeat my mistakes, I can go on to new ones.
There is this oft attributed witticism to Einstein (whether he really said it or not I haven't been able to determine)
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
Yes, miles, that is a pretty depressing prospect. When you are determined to break cycles, like I have been as an adult, it is very destructive to marry into a family that is also dysfunctional and members are in denial that change needs to occur in their own. I started the whole therapy process because I didn't want to repeat the depression-alcohol-suicide combination that seemed to exist in one branch of my family. Unfortunately, substance abuse is part of my story...due to a kind of the "If you can't beat them, join them." philosophy and result of hanging around with a specific person who was and still is in denial of their family patterns. Fortunately, I found a program that set me on a healthier, much happier path.
Einstein...maybe...perhaps he wasn't completely flawed, after all. Dunno.
Thank you for the pat on the shoulder, Mare. Look for a PM from me -- triggers.
Don, to sort of answer your question: If I'd known then what I know now, I wouldn't have my kids.
Terra, I have thought about this myself. I like to think that if I'd have known then what I know now, I would still have my kids, they might not look the same. I put a lot of time teaching my kids how to be a good people. I have kids who are passionate about what they believe, who love music and film, who are there for their friends in times of need and sadness, who are kind to animals and love to enjoy life without hurting others. They are intelligent and not afraid to speak up about injustice and prejudice. They call me on my own shit. I am very proud of these people. I love them dearly.
Now, triggers-not just Roy Rogers' horse. I started to let my boss know when he says something or does something that reminds me of my ex, this year. In the past, I have gone quiet, while the feelings boil and roil within me. Late in the season, I said I was going to make a list of things not to say to me. It helps my productivity and attitude not to hear those things. He understood. I started saying "Add that to the list of things not to say to me." Hopefully, I will never actually have to make that list. Trigger was beautiful! It grosses me out that Trigger was stuffed and put into Rogers' museum.
I wanted to be Roy Rogers when I grew up. I insisted his name was Joy Rogers...my early days of being very wrong about some things and insistent that I was right. Oy vey.