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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Appreciating Difficult Family Dynamics


Every family has them. Some families, however, are especially burdened. And it’s not just blended families in range here. For a full variety of reasons each member, and the unit as a whole, are pushed to ill-expected limits.


Perhaps it’s not the matter of ‘categorising’ families prone to excessive burdens.


It’s better always to shoot for the root cause of interpersonal dilemmas.


Loads Are, Generally, Always Equal


Justice and fairness are likely to be the items at the centre of dissent.


Apart from situations of outright abuse or neglect, there is likely to be issues of injustice and unfairness on both sides of familial ledgers — though not always mutually exacerbated.


What this means is a parent might flare up at the external injustice they’re dealing with outside of the family, and the unfortunate recipients of frustration or anger are the children or the other spouse. Repeated experience of this highlights an authoritarian dynamic.


The load level of any conflict situation is usually balanced.


Picture this as two people pulling ends of the same rope — with similar tension — and a balance results; conflict is the natural outcome.


Out of perceptions of imbalance, injustice and unfairness, the truth lies exposed; there is injustice and unfairness on both sides.


The Point is: Appreciation


One of the first goals of conflict resolution is empathising for the other side. If both parties are disentangled from their emotions, and able to see the overall situation better, it’s more likely there’ll be a good outcome for both.


Appreciation for the equality, within the inequalities, is the key.


Difficult family dynamics will be difficult not simply for us — the island of a person — but for everyone. Everyone’s impacted.


The point is appreciating this fact. Empathy breeds humility and vice versa.


Appreciation will make things tolerable enough to work through difficult dynamics.


It Must Begin From Somewhere


We’ve heard it before, but the essence in making difficult family dynamics more tolerable is taking the lead in the empathy stakes. There’s far more chance of someone following our loving lead into empathy in return if we issue it first.


In fact, how could we expect for someone to understand our lot in life if we don’t first venture into theirs?


Yes, the heat is on you and I.


We must be the ones willing to take the pilgrimage to another’s heart; to discover the distant lands of their thinking... to make the approach, live there a while, and determine to make regular visits back there as much welcomed guests.


© 2011 S. J. Wickham.


Graphic Credit: More4Kids.

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