Being a cycle breaker is often exhausting because it takes energy to stand up and do something different to what has always been done in the family. You might notice ‘looks’ being passed between members, or eye rolling as you express things that are against the grain, or things as you see them.
There are often comments, which when boiled down, ask “why can’t you just be more like us?” When cycle breakers emerge, the resistance is usually overt AND covert. Overt in the things that are said to you, and covert in the things that are said behind your back. Both forms of resistance are exhausting for the cycle breaker, the overt form requires constant explanations; they hear you, but they don’t agree with you, so you get into a head lock. The covert form of resistance can be in the form of gossiping or recruiting other family members to be on their side behind your back, causing further isolation, that is not helpful.
There are many subtle ways the cycle breaker is shamed in the family; I hope the list above is helpful in spotting some of the behaviours. A big thank you to my Instagram community for adding to this list.
As a cycle breaker, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get support from people outside of the family. If you have a supportive friendship group, that is wonderful, another option is to work with a therapist who can help you establish and maintain clear boundaries and unpack the family dynamics with you.
To all the cycle breakers going through this right now…I see you. You got this. Wishing you all the best on your healing journey