If you feel that your relationship with your family is not going well, or that someone in your family is having problems, it is important to review the “family system” to see if there are any distortions. Based on the concept of “systems approach”, I will explain the points to notice the distortion of the family system.
How to deal with family stress
Family stress is often caused by family relationships and communication problems. I would like to introduce some examples of problems and representative approaches to solve them.
Distortion of the “family system” may be behind family problems
When someone in the family has a problem, trying to fix the problem alone does not solve the problem and often makes it worse.
For example, forcing a withdrawn child to go to school, or prying into the reason for school refusal, can make the child even more withdrawn and lose motivation to go to school.
Also, for example, if a family member who wastes too much money is simply scolded and taken away from their credit cards and smartphones, the family member will try to obtain money illegally or find another dependent. Sometimes just trying will leave the problem unresolved.
As mentioned above, when someone in the family has a problem, the cause of the problem is not only the person himself/herself, but may be caused by a distortion of the “family system.” Therefore, even if you try to cure only the person, it will not be solved easily. It is necessary to look back to see if there is any distortion in the relationship of the whole family.
Double Bind Creates Distrust in Family
In addition, there is a “double bind” (double restraint) in communication that destabilizes family ties. A double bind is when you say “yes” when you really mean “no”.
For example, when a child asks, “Can I go out with my friends?”, say yes, but add words that imply no, such as, “Do you really think it’s okay to go out?” When children receive these two contradictory messages at the same time, they become confused and distrustful of their parents.
Also, even though my partner says “I love you”, I always feel uneasy when I am left alone on holidays. When I tell them how I feel, they say things like, “If you love me, you should be able to believe that we’re connected even when we’re apart. Why don’t you believe me?” In such a case, you cannot understand your partner’s true feelings, and you want to believe in their love, but you can’t believe it, and you can easily become mentally unstable.
Home problems are in the “system”
If someone in the “family” is suffering, trying to treat just the suffering person may not work. In that case, the cause of the problem is often a problem with the “family system”.
Instead of one-sidedly blaming the family member who caused the problem, taking the time to listen to what they have to say and discuss it thoroughly will make it easier to notice the distortions in the family system and solve the problem at its root.
In this way, the method of solving problems by reviewing the entire family system and changing the system is called the “systems approach.”
Family members are important people for life. That is why it is necessary to maintain a good relationship while discussing everything so that the family system is not distorted.