Family of Origin Gems

Family of Origin Gems

The following is a collection of family of origin concepts that I gathered from my professor Dr. Glen Jennings when I was a graduate student at Texas Woman’s University. I hope that you find some of these ideas helpful and impactful as I found them years ago.

Love and Relationships

Concerning relationships, it is helpful to understand that you, and only you, are responsible for yourself, and only yourself.
LOVE is gentle and comfortable. FUSION is tense and combative.
LOVE allows us to be vulnerable because we are secure within ourselves. FUSION comes out of our fears and the need to be protected.
Cut-offs often result from undue expectations for others to love and validate you.
Emotional reactiveness “poisons” committed relationships more than any other thing.
The better you become at loving and accepting you, the less you are dependent on others for love and acceptance.
When the fact that life is hard is fully accepted, life becomes a joy!
Anytime we think the problem is “out there”–that thought is actually the problem.
Emotional reactiveness is often the destroyer of family and other intimate relationships.
Self-confrontation usually leads to growth of self; other-confrontation usually keeps both people stuck!
Learn to figure out what not to pay attention to and turn that part off in your mind.


Empty people often have a high propensity to fuse with others–trying to fill themselves up.
Emptiness reflects our absence of spirituality–passion for life.
Expectations of others often reflect one’s emptiness.
Unrealistic expectations come out of our emptiness.
Children often pay for their parents’ emptiness by having their (children’s) development stunted–either emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually, academically, and socially.
Empty people often try to fill themselves up by fusing with other people or things such as drugs, work, religion, sex, alcohol, religion, cults, etc.
Our own emptiness sets us up to be manipulated by others.
Empty people are draining to love and be in relationship with.

Emotional Cut-offs

Emotional cut-offs, family secrets, unresolved grief, rigid triangles, etc. tend to close the family system.
Family cut-offs often result in less emotional maturity in succeeding generations (children & grandchildren, etc.)
Reconnection after cut-offs usually brings a sense of freedom throughout the family system.
Cut-offs often result in undue expectations for others to validate and love you.
Cut-offs add chronic anxiety to the family system.


Confrontation is an emotional reaction rather than an action.
Confrontation comes out of a one-down position.
Confrontation often reflects fusion with another person, low levels of emotional maturity, high anxiety, and poor boundaries.
Confronting of parents always puts you back in the child position.
Mature adults deal straight forward and direct with each other, i.e., non-confrontational.

Paradoxes of Life

If one wants to work on a relationship, one must work on oneself.
If one wants to work on individuality, it is best done in relationship with others.
In order to be less distant, one must develop better boundaries.
In order to be less fused, one must develop better boundaries.


Integrity = The ability to accept life on life’s terms: People die; people leave; people help one another/hurt one another; compete/cooperate; fight/love; split apart/make up; dominate one another/submit to one another; want it all/give some
If you want someone to be different with you, you must be different with them.
Work on yourself. It always pays dividends with compound interest.
The more you trust yourself, the less you have to trust others. You will take care of YOU no matter what the future holds.