Lyrics to George Michael’s Freedom
In 1990 George Michael say, “I think there’s something you should know (I think it’s time I told you so) There’s something deep inside of me (There’s someone else I’ve got to be) Take back your picture in a frame (Take back you’re singing in the rain) I just hope you understand, sometimes the clothes do not make the man.”
He was talking about breaking away from the images and assumptions the world had about him, the constraints placed on him by the expectations and needs of others. He was a worldwide sex symbol and a closeted gay man.
The frustration and need he talks about are universal though. So many of the folks I work with are constrained by their family’s perceptions and needs and the roles they have been given in the family. Sometimes that role might be the Golden Child and sometimes it is the Scapegoat, but either way it does not allow for the full exploration or expression of who they are.
Even when clients come to me already knowing their family was toxic, dysfunctional or abusive, this doesn’t always translate to them knowing that the role they were given is false or constricting. Unfortunately, the things people learn about themselves in these unhealthy environments started long before the child had words or could understand that their family was problematic.
That is why it can continue to be so hard to change the way they see themselves. It is not because they are inherently bad or wrong, but that the learning is deep. AND, it can still be changed. They are not hopelessly lost or stuck, even when it feels that way. It’s a matter of helping them to see that their “clothes” can be changed.