THE INDELIBLE FAMILY (Mel Ramon, PhD. and Patricia Raley: 1980) SUMMARY: Psychological forces affect each individual in a family, as well as the family group as a whole. Most families are unaware of these dynamic, shifting and conflicting psychological forces. The book discusses five hidden forces: power, dependency, autonomy, love and separation.
Conflict is inevitable - as we grow we are challenged as individuals and as a family group - pitted against each other and forced to resolve different goals. After understanding the nature of conflict we can avoid repeating the old patterns that have kept us from creating the kind of family we want.
Power is manifested through the decision making process. Decision making develops a sense of responsibility - the degree to which each family member participates in that process determines a sense of responsibility. For example: if only one person always makes decisions for everyone else the rest of the family will likely be very dependent and powerless - having no sense of responsibility and blame others for their problems or mistakes.
Dependency - as described in the book - is the emotional experience of needing other people. All family members need to feel that they belong to, are important to, and can help each other. This includes trusting each other to make competent decisions.
Autonomy is a critical factor in personality development. Independence, the ability to stand alone and function as an individual, cannot develop if the family itself has no autonomy.
Love comes in numerous forms...from adults with sexual and nonsexual bonds to parents & children to siblings to grandparents & grandchildren.
Separation - the theme of loss - is a powerful one in individual life as well as family life.
life is a series of separations, beginning with the baby's spearation from the mother.