Don’t Keep it in the Family
January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
“What all unhealthy families have in common is their inability to discuss root problems. There may be other problems that are discussed, often ad nauseum, but these often cover up the underlying secrets that make the family dysfunctional. It is the degree of secrecy — the inability to talk about the problems — rather than their severity, that defines both how dysfunctional a family becomes and how severely its members are damaged.
A dysfunctional family is one in which members play rigid roles and in which communication is severely restricted to statements that fit these rolls. Members are not free to express a full range of experiences, wants, needs, feelings, but rather must limit themselves to playing that part which accommodates those played by other family members. Rolls operate in all families, but as circumstances change, the members must also change and adapt in order for the family to continue to remain healthy. […] In dysfunctional families, major aspects of reality are denied, and rolls remain rigid.
When no one can disucuss what affects every family member individually as well as the family as a whole — indeed when such discussion is forbidden implicitly (the subject is changed) or explicitly (“We don’t talk about those things!”) — we learn not to believe in our own perceptions or feelings.
Because our family denies our reality, we begin to deny it, too. And this severely impairs the develpment of our basic tools for living life and for relating to people and situations […] We become unable to discern when someone or something is not good for us.”
– Robin Norwood