The “Brady Bunch” Family Icon Illusion


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Why It’s important to Accept Forgiveness in Your Life

In the classic TV series The Brady Bunch we were introduced to a seemingly perfect family that despite the obvious trials one would expect of blending two families together, always seemed to be more than happy in life. Mrs. Brady was youthful, gentle, beautiful, well-groomed, and always smiling. Mr. Brady was youthful, handsome, well-groomed, gentle, and always smiling. And their half a dozen bright eyed, happy, beautiful children created the perfect family. Even their maid seemed happier than normal to be taking care of such a large household.

Little obstacles occurred in the Brady household, but it was nothing that a smile, hug, and thoughtful talk couldn’t solve. Life wasn’t just good at the Brady house. It was unrealistically wonderful.

I have heard many of my clients and, in general, many people complaining that they do not have or never grew up in a family like the Brady Bunch. And many times their complaint holds them stuck in a refusal to see what positive elements do exist in their life, since each life has positive elements. But they unfortunately do not see them.

They prefer to focus on the ideal images of family happiness displayed as true within a well-made TV show But the basic truth is that there is no such “perfect” family. This is because every human being is born and developed in the world through the basic principle of “trial and error”. She learns by mistakes, her own mistakes, but also those that make the people who influence her. These people may be her parents, a wider family, neighbors, the society in which she lives, governments, organizations, institutions, etc.

Errors will surely happen. Without them there is no learning nor experience nor progress in human life. And all people make mistakes, because everyone has been universally offered the privilege of learning. If, therefore, you put two non-infallible people together to set up a new family, it is very likely that their partnership will produce some inaccuracies or mistakes or inexperience, which, if treated properly, will become valuable experiences. These two people – who may be your parents – are so far away from the unmistaken perfection of the Brady family. 

And yet, just because our brain is easily tricked by visual stimuli, you may have longed for the illusion of the Brady family. And you demand it. You may compare the lofty characteristics of the TV show family with your own family. And as long as you find differences between the two, you become angry. Angry with your family.

While the best thing would be to instantly disperse the illusion and ignore it immediately, this doesn’t usually happen. You find yourself wishing for what you believe you never had, though more often than not, the family in which you grew up, though they  dealt with daily problems, was not unpleasant.

But, what if you realize that you were born into an extremely troubled family, how do you deal with it?

Many of my clients, like many people in general, have experienced an unpleasant childhood  with a variety of serious problems.

Mentally absent parents, violent, manipulative or oppressive parents, alcoholics or drug addicts, narcissistic, with undiagnosed or diagnosed psychiatric illnesses, with cold parent-child relationships, with latent homosexuality, with obvious preference in another child, stressful and conscientious, bloodthirsty, overwhelmed with their ambitious occupations, self-accusing parents. These are just some of the categories that have come to my attention both theoretically and therapeutically.

As my clients grew older, they often faced their parent’s shortcomings. These situations most likely affected many of their life choices. Often their choices did not satisfy them, so they sought specialized help.

So what can the adult that did not grow up in a Brady family do? She may continue blaming her incomplete family and remain angry and upset about it. She can dedicate all of her time and her creative energy to the misery of her past, not to be creative in the present, but to use the bad events that she has lived through in her “incomplete” family as a pretext for her current stagnation and failure.

Nonetheless, by doing that she will end up being immersed in an attitude of complete failure, self-pity, and with a complete lack of drive for progress and prosperity.

Instead, she can do something else. This is what I recommend to my clients and we work together to achieve it. She can forgive her past.

Please, do not misunderstand the forgiveness that I mention here for the usual definition of “forgiveness.” In my theory, to forgive means to maintain a clean space inside you, in order to create the high-quality life you deserve. In order to do this, you need to empty this inner space from all the accumulated negative feelings (anger, fear, anxiety, abhorrence, disgust, dissatisfaction, anger, anxiety, frustration, envy, etc.) that have been produced by the comparison between the ideal family “The Brady’s” and your own family. These negative emotions are psychological and mental weights that do not allow you to live creatively and embrace the beautiful experiences of your life.

There is no ideal family. But there is unlimited imagination and visualisation for us to achieve the goals we want, while on our creative path in life. These can be accomplished by activating our own intention, will, and our mental and cognitive potential.

Y.K. Let me underline that the Brady family is simply a symbol and is not intended to defame or degrade a well-known TV series.

Last modified: April 8, 2021

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