Our Shifting Family Roles – Relationship as Crucible

The holidays are a time when are roles in our families are thrown into prominence.

This can be a challenging time for us as women at midlife. We may be feeling a dissonance between the role that is expected of us and the woman we are becoming.

Many grown children feel a comfort in the sameness of things when they come home for the holidays – or at least we think they do. We may put a lot of pressure on ourselves to uphold family traditions and create the perfect holiday for everyone. What can get forgotten is creating a beautiful, easeful holiday for ourselves. We can end up feeling trapped in a role that no longer fits, which leaves us stressed and resentful.

If you are longing to shift your role within your family, it’s time to get honest. First of all, with yourself. Can you visualize exactly how you would like your role to change? How would you like to do things differently? What do you need your family to know about the changes you are going through? Start with small changes and small confidences and see how things shift. This could be a beautiful time to show your heart and share your new vision of yourself with the people closest to you. You’re wearing the crown of the wise woman now and your family deserves to know that! You have an amazing opportunity to model positive menopause for younger generations!!

Yep, it might feel uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable for everybody when things change. But it’s also liberating. You are modelling being true to yourself, and there is nothing better than that.

How do you feel your role shifting this holiday season?

Relationship as Crucible

{The following is an excerpt from Week Five of our Eight Week Menopause Journey, in which we deeply explore how our relationships are shifting as we enter the Wise Woman years. Our next Eight Week Journey begins in February. Join our mailing list to be notified of details when registration opens.}

Our relationships, including the relationship to the Self, are our crucibles for transformation. Our relationships are our primary vehicles for learning the lessons we are here on Earth to learn. We are social animals, and our health depends on the strength and vibrancy of our relationships. Having healthy relationships and social ties is a significant predictor of mental and physical health and longevity.

We have distinctly different sets of relationships, each of which brings us and different lessons. I think of a set of concentric circles, with the relationship with Self forming the centre of the circle. For many of us the big challenge here is learning self-love.

Next are our most intimate relationships, usually with our life partners and sometimes with a best friend. Family relationships are the next circle out; our children, and, for better or worse, our parents and family of origin: the relationships that formed us. Next are our social relationships, our important friendships. Next out is our relationship with our community or communities – not just the places we live, but the tribes we choose to be members of. At the outer edge of the circle, encompassing all our relationships, is our relationship to the whole human family and with the earth itself; how we perceive our place in the world. Some of us (including myself) would add yet another all encompassing outer circle to hold our relationship with the divine, and with those who have passed.

An interesting modern twist on this is our membership in the tribes and communities we form online. This is a new pattern for relationships, and one we are all still figuring out! I am still surprised by the influential power and intimacy that is possible in our online tribes and relationships, but I have embraced it wholeheartedly and it is now a big part of my world and my livelihood!

As we enter the menopausal years, our relationships begin to shift. We are changing and growing into our power, and this can be difficult for those around us, even (or especially) for those who love us the most.

Hormonally, emotionally, and spiritually, we are shifting. We are heading out of the phase of life where intimate bonding and service defined most of our relationships. We have birthed and raised our children, explored our sexuality and worked on our marriages, we have given so much of our bodies, our energy, and our service and attention to others. And this has served us to varying degrees. For some women, this has been a deeply fulfilling journey, one which we find hard to let go as our children leave home and our marriages shift. For other women, we have been drained by years of service, and face the prospect of more freedom with a bittersweet relief. Most of us will relate a bit to both of these scenarios.

Maybe you haven’t though a lot about your own needs in relationship, or how those needs have begun to shift.

It is worth asking yourself now – what do I need? How close do I want to be to my children? Am I comfortable in my marriage, and if not, what would make me more comfortable? OR Am I comfortable being single, and what do I want in my dating/romantic life? How have my sexual needs changed? Am I fulfilled sexually and emotionally? Do I have enough time and space to develop my relationship with myself? Some journaling time might reveal that your needs and desires have changes a lot since the last time you checked in with yourself.



About Bronwyn

I'm a visual artist, writer, mother, community builder, priestess, dancer, visionary, and master of reinvention. The unifying thread in a life of constant creative change has been my work with women. Vivid Menopause, created with Annagrace Kaye, is a labor of love and the culmination of decades of intimate circle work with women. It has been my privilege to spend my life so far mentoring women as we reclaim the power of our own stories, our own bodies, our own beauty.

2 comments on “Our Shifting Family Roles – Relationship as Crucible

  1. Your words are making me cry. So grateful to hear insight which is relevant to my time of life. You write beautifully and insightfully. A wise women indeed.

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