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The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

My quest for the eternal lightness

People are pretty forgiving when it comes to other people’s family. The only family that ever horrifies you is your own.

-Douglas Coupland, All Families Are Psychotic 

At least for Douglas Coupland, ‘dysfunctional’ is an understatement. Talking about dysfunctional families, I am intrigued by what my friend said over our conversation at the wine table. ‘Who does not come from a dysfunctional family?’?! she protested. Of course, one protests likewise when every defect and defunct is conveniently traced to  the dysfunction-ness of one’s ‘family’.

Why not? Afterall, once you clearly identify the root to one’s behavior you can quickly diagnose and prescribe and offer a post-mortem analyses to any crisis. Neat way to tug away intolerable behaviors, at least explain them away  🙂

I am in the mood to read up more. Counseling professionals identified four kinds of dysfunctional family systems; alcholic and chemically dependent, emotionally or psychologically disturbed, physically or sexually abusive and fundamentalistic or rigidly dogmatic. (My eyebrows are mischievously raised at the fourth). When families (to me, not necessarily just referring to biological families that we become part of) become dysfunctional, people become perfectionists, rigid, less able to express themselves, unable to play, have fun and be spontaneous, need approval, give double messages, are inconsistent, need to control, fear failure, loses identity and are self-destructive. Now that’s a pretty good checklist for us, isn’t it?

Perhaps we need to be more apologetic? Unashamedly asserting to model an accepting, kindered community, could we be reeling down the  slope of becoming psychotic ourselves? Dysfunctional what, again? Who?


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