Identify your family of origin and how it affects you | BetterHelp (2023)

Content Warning: Please note that the following article deals with topics such as family trauma, abuse,dysfunctional FAMILYRelationships and other potentially incendiary materials. Read with discretion.

Your family of origin is often defined as a family unitwhere you grew up. This term should not be confused with "biological family". A biological family may have little to do with your evolution if you do not come from it. A biological family may consist of people to whom you are genetically related, but you may not consider them your family. The term "family of origin" refers to the entity that cared for you as a child, that is, the people with whom you had family experiences as a child.

For example, you may have grown up with a grandparent, aunt or uncle, family friend, or your parents. Families of origin may also include siblings, cousins ​​or other family members who live with you. Your family of origin is your first social group and can influence the way you think and behave, especially when it comes to relationships.

Work with family problems

Talk to a licensed therapist

Family of origin and its effects

Your family of origin can have a significant impact on your development, as your early experiences can shape you as an adult. Many studies show that your family of origin shapes your worldview and determines how you treat and treat usOthersand can affect your mental and physical health. How your caregivers respond to your needs can affect youattachment style as an adult.

These influences can affect more than your childhood. The complex effects of your upbringing can affect your present and future. For this reason, it can be valuable to consider family dynamics and history when working with mental health issues.

Common problems with family of origin

You may find that you carry hurts and traumas from infancy into adulthood, and you may need to explore these feelings in order to move forward. Because children depend entirely on their families for safety and belonging, how your family treats you can have a lasting impact on your emotional well-being. A child's addiction can leave them helpless in the face of abuse, neglect, and generational issues such as addictions, addictions, mental disorders, and unhealthy family dynamics. When children feel helpless, they can develop harmful beliefs later in life.

If you come from a healthy family, you may feel able to connect and socialize with others to a significant degree without much difficulty. A healthy family background can help you develop confidence and determination. If your goals and personality were supported as a child, you may feel more comfortable as an adult.

On the other hand, if your childhood was marked by trauma or turbulent relationships, you may find it difficult to socialize with other people. For example, a family with addiction problems can stunt the child's development. To cope with the addict's unpredictable behavior, family members may adoptFamily roles in addiction. An unhealthy family background can cause anxiety, depression, or other mood or personality disorders. The cyclical nature of this development can be observed over generations if family circumstances do not change.

In addition, you may experience low self-esteem that is difficult to manage without help. Many people experiencephysical health problemsbecause of their families of origin. Some endoscopy or treatment may be required to resolve these problems.

healthy parenting relationships

Healthy families of origin can include marriage. However, some don't, those who aresingle parentsIt can also enable your loved ones to have a healthy childhood. Family structure does not necessarily indicate a positive or negative family of origin. A caregiver's ability to be kind and respectful to romantic partners can be of the utmost importance. When parents or guardians teach their children how to have respectful romantic relationships, they can pave the way for their loved ones to achieve marital success.

On the other hand, unhealthy romantic relationships can perpetuate generational conflicts and problematic romantic encounters. If you don't have a healthy role model for these types of relationships, it can be difficult to navigate. If you only see unhealthy or unproductive relationships as a child, you may adopt the same patterns in your romantic encounters as you grow older, and it may be difficult to set appropriate boundaries.


Just like romantic relationships, your workplace relationships, friendships, and many other interactions can be influenced by your family of origin, and your family members play a role in how you interact with others. If your family has worked with others to maintain close friendships and relationships, you can do the same.

However, if your family treats other people with suspicion or discomfort, you may be reluctant to form new relationships or keep others at a distance.

Self esteem

Supportive families of origin can create an environment in whichSelf esteemcan flourish. Families that support each other's dreams and nurture each other's strengths and talents can help create healthy, well-adjusted children.

On the other hand, families who often resort to criticism, often pointing out the flaws in their loved ones' dreams, desires, and personality, can make it difficult for children and adults to make independent decisions. These children may struggle to develop independence and lead a healthy life in this condition.

lifestyle habits

Children often pick up habits from their family of origin. For example, if your family rarely exercises, you can also make it a habit. If your family values ​​the environment and conservation, you might value these things too. The lifestyle of your family of origin will likely form the basis of your later lifestyle choices.

What is the job of the family of origin?

While many adults recognize or are aware of unhealthy behaviors, some problematic behaviors and patterns may go unnoticed, and understanding these patterns can be difficult. Problems with family of origin may initially manifest as symptoms or mental illness. However, if you don't see a problem, you can try to solve it.

If this resonates with you, know that you are not alone and that awareness can help you on your way forward. Many people are not treatedfamily traumathat they need to work to improve their mental health and the root of this trauma is not always apparent. Talk therapy can be a valuable tool in uncovering unconscious behaviors, thoughts, or biases that may originate in your family.

Some people may have internalized misogyny, racism, or classism from their upbringing, while others may have chronically low self-esteem. Others have adopted unwanted habits from their families, such as B. Procrastination or eating unhealthy foods. All of these challenges fall under what is known as "family of origin work," but the exact work can vary greatly from person to person.

Work with family problems

Talk to a licensed therapist

Career advice from family of origin

To grow, you must learn to recognize your biases and where they come from. Introspection can be very helpful in learning more about your thoughts and behaviors. You may want to challenge your beliefs to move beyond unhealthy relationships, ideas, or belief systems. Asking yourself, "Do I really believe this?" it can lead you down the path of self-discovery.

Exposure to a new culture, idea and relationship can also help you resolve issues that may exist in your family of origin. Everyone can benefit from letting go of their assumptions and learning to see the world differently. For many, this means talking to a counselor.

If you are "too busy" for a consultation or unsure of how to get started, online therapy could be an affordable and affordable option for you. An online therapist can help you identify underlying family issues or discuss any feelings that come up as you reminisce. They can also help you measureperceived health statusin your family of origin.

Through an online platform likeBetterHelp, you can resolve any issues with an advisor of your choice via online chat, video or phone call. Additionally, studies show that online counseling is just as importantEffectiveas presence therapy. Individuals or clients seeking family therapy can also find a family therapist who can offer their services online.


Understanding and dealing with wounds from the family of origin can be difficult. Because they may stem from your formative years and are tied to your family, worldview, and lifelong beliefs, these wounds and patterns can feel too big to handle on your own.

With the help and patience of a psychologist, you can identify and improve difficulties related to your family of origin. Consider contacting a counselor to get started.


How do you answer family origin? ›

The term "family of origin" refers to the unit that cared for you as a child. For example, you might have been raised by grandparents, an aunt or uncle, a family friend, or your parents. Families of origin can also include siblings, cousins, or anyone else who lives with you.

How do you think your family affects you as a person? ›

Family relationships, between mother and child, father and child, and siblings are the first relationships we form in our lives. Positive relationships with parents and siblings help a child grow mentally, emotionally, and physically, whereas negative family relationships can have detrimental effects later in life.

What are examples of family of origin issues? ›

Family of origin issues can also include emotional abuse, neglect and domestic violence. How you communicate with others, hold your emotions, get your needs met, the way you see yourself and how you experience the world are all learnt from growing up in your family.

What are family of origin factors? ›

Culture, gender, sexual identity, race and many other factors shape families of origin. These factors often provide messages and shape interactions in families. They can proscribe roles that certain people should take on or behaviors that a person should do.

What is family of origin identity? ›

One's family of origin—the family one grew up in, as opposed to the people one currently lives with—is the place that people typically learn to become who they are. From the family of origin a person learns how to communicate, process emotions, and get needs met.

How do you describe your family? ›

Brief facts about your family (how many people, a large or small family) The names of each family member and how they are related to you. Appearance and personality. What kind of relationship you have with each family member (for example, common interests or hobbies)

How parents affect who you are? ›

As a parent, you influence your child's basic values, like religious values, and issues related to their future, like educational choices. And the stronger your relationship with your child, the more influence you'll have, because your child will be more likely to seek your guidance and value your opinion and support.

How does your parents influence you? ›

Common knowledge, parents influence their children's development and personality. Whether we want to admit it or not, parents are a child's most influential role model. As parents, we spend more time with our children than any other adult. We model to our children our values, as well as our likes/dislikes.

How does family impact you as a social person? ›

Family social relationships influence a person's motivation for social conformity or deviance, as well. Family can be a source of stress to which a person might respond with substance use, or a source of resilience and protective factors that reduce the probability of engaging in substance misuse.

How do you write a family of origin paper? ›

Start by writing in first person about your childhood experience and then support why your chosen theories explain your history with evidence from the text and class. You may wish to switch to a more formal writing voice when explaining others' work to support your writing.

What are at least 3 common family issues? ›

Some common challenges families face in addition to managing chronic pain include things like moving house, separation or divorce, parenting issues, pressure at work or school, unemployment and financial problems, illness or disability of a family member, death of a family member, drug, alcohol, gambling addiction, and ...

What is the family of origin assessment? ›

The Family-of-Origin Scale (FOS) is a 40-item rating scale in which respondents provide a retrospective assessment of the family in which they were raised. While the FOS was found to be psychometrically sound, there has been a history of controversy about the scale's factor structure.

What are the effects of the family of origin? ›

What we learned while growing up in our family of origin can carry over into our adult lives. Some of these things can create issues for us. This can include emotional problems, mental health issues, unhealthy relationship dynamics, beliefs that negatively impact us, abuse or neglect, and low self-esteem.

What is the importance of family origins? ›

Learning the history of our ancestors helps us gain a greater understanding of the challenges they faced, and it often inspires greater love and compassion for their flaws and mistakes. This compassion can easily translate to our relationships with the living, within our families and outside them.

What is family of origin and roles? ›

Family of origin refers to the significant others that a person grows up with such as caretakers, siblings, adoptive family, etc. Our first relational experiences impact how we interact with ourselves, others and the world around us. Different people play different roles in a family.

What is the origin definition of family? ›

The word family came into English in the fifteenth century. Its root lies in the Latin word famulus, “servant”. The first meaning in English was close to our modern word “household” — a group of individuals living under one roof that included blood relations and servants.

How would you describe your family sample answer? ›

I am belongs to a nuclear family. My father is a farmer and my mother is a house wife and I have two elder brothers and one younger sister. We are 4 members in family. My father is wilder, my mother work in petrol bunk, my brother studying 2puc .

How do you describe your family in an essay example? ›

My family is my power that keeps pushing me to achieve newer heights. In short, I will forever be indebted to my family for all they have done for me. I cannot imagine my life without them. They are my first teachers and my first friends.

Do your parents have an impact on your personality? ›

We found that parent personalities have a significant impact on a child's life, even after taking the child's personality into account. A child's personality matters, of course, but parents have a special and important impact on their kids. For example, kids with extroverted parents tended to have lower grades.

How does your family and culture affect yourself? ›

Family culture influences the way each family member thinks, feels, and acts on a daily basis. Your family culture influences things like your moral compass, beliefs, values, and traditions. You might choose a career based on your family culture by picking something you know your family values.

How did your family affect your likes and dislikes? ›

Our family influences our likes and dislikes and helps them develop in many ways. Interaction with family members moulds our likes and dislikes. Their habits and opinions have an effect on us. ... My likes and dislikes are similar to my family members but they are different from my friends.

What are different family types? ›

Family life
  • Nuclear family - a family unit consisting of two adults and any number of children living together. ...
  • Extended family - grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, either all living nearby or within the same household. ...
  • Reconstituted family - also known as a blended family or step family.

How do you set boundaries with family of origin? ›

11 Tips for Setting Boundaries with Your Family
  1. Talk to a therapist before you talk to your family. ...
  2. Practice. ...
  3. Accept that your needs are important. ...
  4. Be realistic. ...
  5. You can be both firm and kind. ...
  6. Be direct. ...
  7. Walk away when you need to. ...
  8. Remember that you're in charge.
Feb 4, 2022

How does family affect happiness? ›

Some advantages of having a family are increased happiness and satisfaction. Studies have shown that spending time with family can help reduce stress and anxiety, lead to a healthier lifestyle and lengthen your life. Family gives you motivation to be the best version of yourself.

How family issues affect mental health? ›

Repeated trauma and resulting mental health issues can arise from the actions and words of their parents, as well as inter-family relationships. Victimised parents can take out their inner anger, frustration and confusion on their family, making it difficult to maintain their relationships.

What is family of origin or orientation? ›

Family of origin refers to people who are related by blood or legal bonds and may include parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Family of orientation refers to people who share the same home and are connected to each other by blood, legal bond or commitment.

What does it mean to leave your family of origin? ›

What It Means to “Leave” In terms of your parents and family of origin, separation means that you leave the dependence, comfort, and security of your parents' authority. You are literally breaking apart the old parent-child relationship. You are also separating from your siblings and extended family.

What is the difference between family of choice and family of origin? ›

Unlike a "family of origin" (the biological family or that in which one is raised), a family of choice is based on chosen bonds, not biological ones.

What is the origin of first family? ›

The use of the term "first family" to refer to the family of the President of the United States only came into widespread use during the Kennedy administration with the tremendous popularity of Vaughn Meader's 1962 comedy album, The First Family.

What role does family play in your life? ›

As basic and essential building blocks of societies, families have a crucial role in social development. They bear the primary responsibility for the education and socialization of children as well as instilling values of citizenship and belonging in the society.

What is important role in the family? ›

It socializes children, it provides emotional and practical support for its members, it helps regulate sexual activity and sexual reproduction, and it provides its members with a social identity.

What does the origin word family mean? ›

the family in which an individual was raised, which may or may not be the individual's biological family.

What is an example of family? ›

At its most basic, then, a family consists of an adult and his or her offspring. Most commonly, it consists of two married adults, usually a man and a woman (almost always from different lineages and not related by blood) along with their offspring, usually living in a private and separate dwelling.

What is the full meaning of origin? ›

: the point at which something begins or rises or from which it derives.

How do you find the origin of a word? ›

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, for native and near-native speakers of American English, includes full etymologies (or word origins), as well as dates of first written usage. To find the Collegiate etymologies, go to, look up the base form of nearly any word, and scroll down to Origins.

What is the origin of the family name parent? ›

The surname Parent was first found in Picardy (French: Picardie) in northern France, where they held a family seat.

What is an example of a family status? ›

Events that would fall under a family status change include getting married, having a child, getting divorced, going through the death of a family member or having a spouse who has lost his or her job and no longer receives separate benefits.

What is the family of origin activity? ›

Family of origin work is the process of removing the obstacles that block you emotionally and/or in your relationships. By understanding your relational history, you are better able to understand the narrative you created about yourself, others and the world around you.

Why you should know your family of origin? ›

It gives you a sense of identity

Discovering more about your ancestors, celebrating family traditions, embracing your culture, and understanding where you came from can open your eyes to how beautiful and unique you are. It can also give your sense of self-worth and belonging a boost.

What does your place of origin mean? ›

: the place where something is made or created.


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