The tensions of moving house from a Bowen Family Systems lens

The tensions of moving house from a Bowen Family Systems lens

By Alicia Falzon

We recently moved into an apartment. This move has been in progress for years and when the day finally arrived we were all so excited. This was and is the last move we shall make in our life on this earth, so it was important that we got this right.

We had also been downsizing for many years. We came from a big house on acreage, into a small rental house and then into a small rental apartment until our final move. With each move came the releasing of stuff we had accumulated over the years. This felt cathartic, but it did come with a little pain of letting go.

I knew that this move would test my patience and my reactivity. I have worked hard at being non-reactive to those closest to me when in highly anxious situations. It is something that I will need to keep practising. I have noticed that my sensitives extend to my children and work associates as well. There is something about moving that triggered my anxious reactions and judgements to my husband. My normal, well-practised, thoughtful behaviour seemingly went out the window and in its place was this person I had forgotten was still there. I found it difficult to keep my boundaries and monitor myself and not my husband. I was focusing on his bad behaviour instead of keeping my own bad behaviour in check.

This is what is called relationship fusion; a focus or attention on the other, instead of being responsible for self and managing the tension, anxiety within oneself. This fusion is always more intense with the people we are close to or have become important in our life.

This difficult process of moving extended my personal growth, communication and my desire to distance when things get difficult. The spread of irritability worked its way into other parts of our marriage. I noticed myself thinking that he was the worst culprit here and if he only pulled his head in, things would be a lot calmer.

It is my goal to let him be irritated and let me be non-reactive to his behaviour, without merging into each other’s emotional sphere. I can then have the energy to mind myself and be more responsible. This would have enabled a smoother transition of our moving process.

In the end, we have moved in and we are very happy. The wait was worth it, and yes we do love each other again.

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