“Cycle Breaker!” Ever heard this term? As described by therapists and experts – a person who identifies toxic or dysfunctional attributes that exist in the culture of the family and chooses to toss these markers and swap them in for a better practice or for a change. In short they are someone who consciously change multi-generational family practices” So why break the cycle? There are practices, processes, and sometimes customs that are being blindly followed for generations without questioning, challenging, or reasoning. They are just being followed because our well-meaning predecessors and forerunners made those regulations. These have pushed relationships to fall apart, strained lives, and pushed people away. Unhappiness and an unhealthy atmosphere is created in families.
Is it really necessary to join the generational bandwagon? No Are those rules and traditions applicable to the current generation? No Do we need to reinforce and impose those rules now? No Can’t new methods be followed? Yes
Well, these are questions that “cycle breakers” often asks in their family while challenging the older generation. Mostly, there are never any straight answers except a line that is constantly mentioned – “our fathers and forefathers did so”. So, when you try to rationalize and find logic in these arguments, you end up getting labelled as “arrogant and rebellious”. This is not to generalize for every family. I am sure some families think differently as well.
One needs to understand that every generation is born with new ideas – own ways of solving problems, conflicts, dealing with happiness and sorrow, celebrations, ways of bringing up children and looking after the family.
A set family structure that worked for decades on matriarchy or patriarchy will not work now. In the current generation, there is a sense of equality, sharing of responsibilities, mutual respect (minus terms and conditions), and zero toxic gratitude or apologies. Rarely can we see inter or intra-generational grudges now? Nothing gets carried forward. The earlier generations would view such bonds as transactional but from another perspective, it is sans any negative energies and expectations. Nothing is blurred, vague, or assumed in such relationships. Everyone has clarity in relationships. It is thanks to unlearning and breaking old principles and ideologies and giving way to new ideas.
Youth are no longer limited to an age range. Even the “old” is in the “youth” range now because of their youthfulness and energies. Unlike older generations who had an age range set to 60+ (yes, according to government records, this is the age set for retirement too) as senior citizens and called old, the current generation or Gen Z’s way is to break the idea of “old”. If someone at 60 is energetic and bubbly, they are also considered “youth” or young at heart. That is one of the best ways to be a cycle breaker!
10 Reasons Why You Can Be A “Cycle Breaker” Too
1. Accept yourself and your ideals openly
This takes time but please do it first. If you don’t accept yourself as you are, others won’t take you seriously either. Self-love is the key. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself daily: Is this right? Am I comfortable with this?
2. Choose your path, make your blueprint
Once you accept yourself, the next step is to create your map of principles, ideas, and ideals. A mental map will do.
3. You need to heal too!
It is important to heal your wounds – childhood or present traumas. Please ensure you get professional help for it too. This will strengthen you and empower you to stand up for yourself and others who need your help. Every person has his or her timeline for healing. So, take your time.
4. Make healthy boundaries; learn to say a big loud NO
Once you complete your healing process, your relationship with yourself and others will have undergone a huge change. There will be a lot of healthy lines drawn with your family and friends. It will become easier to say “No” when you have to say so. Toxic gratitude will not be imposed on you too.
5. Create Your Circle
Healthy boundaries help create healthy relationships. So, you will attract like-minded, positive people who know the meaning of boundaries and consent. Your friends, your circle of trust you create is the one that will help you break cycles too.
6. Stand up for people close to you
Along with your tribe, you can build stronger, healthier communities where stereotypes are broken and meaningful discussions take place. There is rationality there and people can question old belief systems as well. You can support loved ones better when there is a healthy emotional quotient in families.
7. Break age-old traditions – no more generational grudges
As a cycle breaker, you can end family rivalries and inter-generational enmity to a large extent. You can take a stand and do what you feel is right. Make sure children do not carry the burden of the previous generation’s conflicts. Their bonds must remain unaffected by adult conflicts. That is where you break cycles.
8. Empower Gen Next to stand up for themselves
Cycle breakers break rules and teach the younger generation to do what they think is right. Nothing criminal or hurting people, but standing up against injustice and things they don’t like to do.
9. Question people and rules
Asking questions is equivalent to challenging family authority. So, make sure you do a lot. It will make people think about the “rules” – do we need them? Is it applicable to the current times? These take time but once cycles are broken, people will reflect and think of changing for the better. Also, rules that make families unhappy and uncomfortable must be done away with.
10. Age no bar, gender no bar – rules are the same
A grand finale argument in any house by authority figures is using the “age card”. Younger members are asked to keep quiet and respect the “age”. If there is equality maintained in the family, age will not play such a dominant role in family matters. Youngsters can be given a chance to explain themselves rationally. Fights and loud arguments can be avoided too.
Breaking conventions is important for a healthy society and a healthier generation too. If something doesn’t agree with you, you need not follow it. A clean boundary line will make people aware of your discomfort. If not, follow this adage (my own) – “Walking solo is better than jumping onto a “norms” bandwagon blindly.”
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