Cutting Loose: An Adult’s Guide to Coming to Terms with Your Parents” Howard M. Halpern calls the interactions that develop between the inner child in us and the inner child in our parents “songs and dances” because, he explains, they have a “repetitious, almost rhythmic, pattern. The same words, the same music and the same dance steps are performed over and over again.” Writes Halpern:
There is no underestimating the difficulty in modifying the song and dance routines you have developed with your parents, but as you become aware of just what the song and dance is that you and your parents perform so ritualistically, then you can begin to change the tune. Recognizing the nuances of interactions so habitual as to be almost beyond self-observation is no easy matter, but once you see the dance you can begin to change the words, the music, and the steps.
I’m in the process right now of having to choreograph a whole new dance. And with no training as a choreographer, that’s a little tough.