Ep. 2: A ruptured relationship between adult siblings

In this episode, Jenny addresses the following question: “How do I deal with my distant adult brother, who cuts off from our family at the first hint of any tension?” Jenny notes how helpful it is to see the perspective over time– that is the backdrop of the current challenge. This family has a history of significant loss and adversity. Jenny locates the challenge within relationship triangles and explores ways to operate more from themself as a sister than from their alliance with their mother.


About the Managing Challenging Relationships series:

In this Podcast series, Dr Jenny Brown responds to written requests to share her thinking about a tricky relationship challenge. She draws from her understanding of Bowen family systems theory to shed light on especially challenging relationship situations. She provides some ideas to make sense of the issue and draws from her clinical experience to describe a real-life example of dealing with a similar dynamic.

Note: Some details of questions have been changed for protecting privacy. 

Ep. 1: Should I cut off from my narcissistic mother?

In this episode, Jenny addresses the following question:

Can you possibly address how efforts at Growing Yourself Up are the same or different when facing a narcissistic individual? In my case, my own mother. Many sources I’ve read on narcissism suggest that often the best course of action is “no contact” (which is obviously in direct opposition to suggestions in your book). I’d be really interested in hearing anything about this unique facet of growing yourself up.


About the Managing Challenging Relationships series:

In this Podcast series, Dr Jenny Brown responds to written requests to share her thinking about a tricky relationship challenge. She draws from her understanding of Bowen family systems theory to shed light on especially challenging relationship situations. She provides some ideas to make sense of the issue and draws from her clinical experience to describe a real-life example of dealing with a similar dynamic.

Note: Some details of questions have been changed for protecting privacy. 

New weekly podcast!

STAYING STEADY IN THESE ANXIOUS TIMES

In this weekly 10 min podcast, Dr. Jenny Brown will reflect on ways to manage ourselves and our relationships in the face of the current tsunami of change and uncertainty. Each week will look at a different topic relevant to ourselves or our key relationships. Drawing from family systems thinking and her clinical experiences, Jenny will consider ways to navigate patterns of stress that we can observe in our lives, our marriages and our parenting.

Week 1 = When social distancing can become emotional

Week 2 = When the unfolding COVID-19 ‘Reality TV-like Drama’ moves into the territory of obsession.

Week 3 = Couples living in lock-down. How to stay connected and not suffocated.

Week 4 = Parents and children in constant view. How to resist the pull to be over-monitoring.

Week 5 = Couples in close proximity. How to understand and reduce an escalation in conflict.

Week 6 = Parents supervising children’s schoolwork. What is and isn’t effective?

Week 7 = Staying connected to extended family. How is this helpful to couples, parents, and children?

Week 8 = Becoming more mature in the face of challenges. How can this season be an opportunity for developing goals that have substance?

When social distancing can become emotional hibernation.

Withdrawing is a natural response to stress. What happens when it is socially mandated? What do we need to watch out for in following societal obligations while watching that we don’t inadvertently contribute to vulnerability to mood symptoms?

Stay tuned for the weekly series:

 Week 2 = When the unfolding COVID-19 ‘Reality TV-like Drama’ moves into the territory of obsession.

Week 3 = Couples living in lock-down. How to stay connected and not suffocated.

Week 4 = Parents and children in constant view. How to resist the pull to be over-monitoring.

Week 5 = Couples in close proximity. How to understand and reduce an escalation in conflict.

Week 6 = Parents supervising children’s schoolwork. What is and isn’t effective?

Week 7 = Staying connected to extended family. How is this helpful to couples, parents, and children?

Week 8 = Becoming more mature in the face of challenges. How can this season be an opportunity for developing goals that have substance?

Our support services remain available as telehealth during this time. Contact the Family Systems Practice on 02 9904 5600 contact@thefsp.com.au

For those who want to understand how family system therapy provides a map for navigating stress in self and relationships see the online seminars at the Family Systems Institute: www.thefsi.com.au

Old Age and facing death in our family

“Our family could have been a more supportive resource if individuals were able to balance their efforts to keep going with time to talk with each other about our struggles in the midst of grief.” –

J Brown, Growing Yourself Up, Chapter 15 Old Age and facing Death : Denial or honest preparation.

In this pod cast I reflect on the lessons learned from death in my family of origin, applied to a more recent death in my family system. What does it take to contribute to a more open system of relationships during the painful, anxious time of preparing for a death? How much are we able to communicate our thoughts, feelings and imaginings to another and allow them to reciprocate? How does the dying person do this and how do other family members ask good open questions and share their own experiences?

Aging and Grandparenting

This pod cast tells of the story of a disillusioned grandparent Helen and how she shifted her efforts away from her expectations of access to her grandchildren and towards her relationship with her adult son:

“Helen’s efforts went onto shifting her focus away from her grandson and back to her own son. She could see how much she’d assumed about her role as grandmother without asking Aaron what he thought. Helen also could see that she had put too many relationship eggs into one basket and needed to invest some energy in her broader network of friends and family.” [for Growing Yourself Up 2nd edition. Chap 14: Ageing well: Retirement, the empty nest, relating to a third generation. p 204

Midlife – crisis or growth opportunity?

In this pod cast Jenny reflects a family systems view of the challenges and opportunities of adjustments in the middle years of the life cycle.

Even if you are not in this stage of life it may be worthwhile to reflect on : How did your parents respond to this life stage? Is anyone in your important relationship network grappling with midlife issues?

‘Is there really such a thing as a midlife crisis? Why is it that some seem comfortable to accept that their youth is behind them while others seem to experience their ageing as a catastrophe?

Midlife is a bit like the half-time break in a football game: it provides the opportunity to step back and look at how you are playing the game and whether some adjustments in approach can to be made.’ From Growing Yourself Up 2017 p 189 & 194.