[tw: abuse culture, abusive families] The whole “haha our family is so dysfunctional we’re always fighting but we love each other” thing is kind of dangerous
has anyone else noticed this?
“oh look, our family has problems. but you know! that’s just how families work. I guess we’ll have to live with it! you can’t get rid of family! You’re with them for life!”
Putting it that way, it seems very obviously dangerous. If a child in an abusive situation is taught that zie is stuck with their family and that that’s just how families are, too bad, and zie hears that same message over and over again, then their chances of wanting to escape or just look up information/ask someone about their family’s dynamics are diminished.
Not that there is anything wrong with families that are kind of quirky or “different”. There are plenty of families like that. But when this narrative has become a cultural trope and there’s little to no counter narrative that goes, “but wait! there are some things that families should never do to children”, then it is a problem. Even more so— sometimes these portrayals go as far as excusing violence or abusive or manipulative behavior (Homer Simpson choking Bart comes to mind).
Children need to be taught that these things are absolutely not acceptable. And, in fact, that your “family” is not a group of people you’re stuck with forever….some families are dangerous or toxic and no one should have to stay with them. There’s this weird undercurrent or assumed perspective that all of the people viewing this trope in films, tv shows, public conversation, etc., are all from a perfectly fine family, when the truth is that lots of us aren’t. Some things, like physical violence, neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, etc, make one’s family optional on all counts. There are some children (and adults) out there who need to know that this option is even available— the option of a different family or no family at all— in order to survive.
[tw: abuse, abuse culture]
my abusive mother used to make jokes all the time about how our family was “so dysfunctional.” she still does, occasionally. it took me over twenty years to realize that yes, our family really is dysfunctional, and it’s not a joke. but you’re right — i’ve definitely internalized the message that “every family has its problems” (and that therefore, the abuse that my family perpetrates is “normal” or “okay”).
i wonder if making it into a joke (“we’re so dysfunctional, haha”) was a defense mechanism for her, a way of protecting herself from acknowledging how unhealthy and abusive certain family dynamics/members were (and still are). if i were to tell her, in a serious manner, that yes, we are dysfunctional… i suspect she would get angry, rationalize/deny everything, and blame me for being “too sensitive” (or not being able to “take a joke” or “always [being] upset” or some shit).
My mother always said that we put the FUN in dysfunctional.
No. We did not. Ask the dents in my skull. Or any of the therapists I talked to.
tw: abuse, tw: abuse culture
I cannot tell you how many times over the course of my life I have heard that stupid fucking phrase ‘We put the FUN in dysfunctional’. I have always just wanted to say, ‘No, we put the US in abuse.’
And I just love when family turns around and everyone gets all horrified when someone suggests that people in it are abusive. Because people would rather pretend that everything is fine and that shouting and screaming and fighting and pushing and shoving and excessive drinking and all of that shit is just normal family ‘dysfunction’ that everyone deals with.
I always wanted to point out that, umm, no, I don’t hear about that shit from most of my friends. They don’t twitch every time their father walks in the door. Their pets aren’t psychologically conditioned to run into another room whenever voices get raised. Everyone wants to pretend that “oh, yah, all families have problem”, but there is a fucking point, a motherfucking LINE that gets crossed, where it goes from regular old family problems to fucking abuse, and no one in the family ever wants to admit it. My 32 and 30 year old sisters who have families of their own never want to admit that my father was abusive to every single one of us as a child. I cannot see how they can let my father anywhere NEAR their children, but they do. My oldest sister didn’t speak to my father for 4 whole years, but now my father babysits her child every saturday.
Abuse is a cycle of forgetting and wishing it would go away, but then when you’re the only one willing to point it out, you’re the one who gets told to shut up about it. My youngest sister didn’t get touched by most of it, but now she just ignores everything. Part of it is that she has a pretty non-confrontational personality, but I have a theory that part of her personality and reactions to things are because she was conditioned to just ignore whatever was going on. If she stayed quiet and in her room, she wouldn’t get involved, and she would be safe.
This has kind of been a word-vomit, but I completely know what everyone else who has posted here is talking about.
Families are not something you should be ‘stuck with’. Families are supposed to be the good thing in your life, and when they suck, you should be able to change that and not be shamed for wanting to. I constantly get shit from my sisters for saying that when I move I am never coming back. They’re like ‘But won’t you miss your FAMILY?’ and I just want to say no. No I won’t. Because you have never been a good family. And you never will. And then there are complete strangers who want so badly to convince me that I’m just going through a phase or some shit of disliking my father, and that someday I’ll want to reconnect with him, and he’ll walk me down the aisle at my wedding (umm, who said anything about me getting married. I don’t need your patriarchal, pseudo religious ceremonies and ideals being mentioned in this hypothetical discussion of a future that will never come to be). All that shit. From STRANGERS. Who have never met my family. It has to be a cultural thing. I don’t know where the above people are from, but in America, this is such a common trend in every possible social category you could imagine. Everyone has fucked up families, but everyone wants so desperately for the world not to see that, that they will ignore the worst of abuse in order to appear normal.
It fucking blows me away.
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