Mechanisms for family integration
Social and functional mechanisms of family integration E. G. Eidemiller and V. V. Justitsky (1990) call a set of psychological processes that cover family members and their relationships, leading to the formation and development of Pro – family motives (that is, motives that determine a positive attitude to the family, the desire to remain a member, the desire to strengthen it), which contribute to the removal of negative, frustrating experiences-anxiety, stress, and resolution of internal and interpersonal conflicts.
The effect of these mechanisms is manifested in how a particular family reacts to difficulties and frustrations. If these mechanisms do not work in the family or are violated, then difficulties act as a factor that destroys the family, weakening its strength.
When the described social and functional mechanisms work effectively, the same difficulties become a source of further integration of the family and even greater cohesion. E. G. Eidemiller and V. V. Justitsky distinguish two mechanisms of family integration: the mechanism of “common destiny” and “emotional identification with the family”.
Socio-psychological mechanism of ” community of fate»
The functioning of this mechanism is provided by the following relations.
1. Family members form an idea, a skill, a habit of family (not individual) satisfaction of their needs. In the minds of family members, family life seems to be the most natural, convenient, and familiar way to meet life’s needs: material, sexual, understanding, communication, and respect.
2. Strengthening the family is perceived by members of such a family as the most convenient way to meet their own needs. Taking care of the family as a whole is perceived as taking care of yourself.
3. The development of a “family trust”. It manifests itself in the fact that in such a family, contradictions are mitigated or processed through mutual concessions, or a voluntary concession by one of the parties. The basis of a concession is not self-sacrifice, but trust. The conceding person is confident that, first, his concessions will ultimately be useful to him in the longer term; secondly, that other family members will do the same at other times and in another situation; and thirdly, that his compliance will not be abused and will be received with a sense of gratitude.
The system of relationships in such families is somewhat similar to the relationship of a good crew of a ship on a long voyage. Everyone understands that while taking care of the ship and crew, they also take care of themselves. Members of such families themselves grew up in close-knit families.
4. High level of mutual empathy. The ability to represent each other’s inner world well is highly developed. Family members, as a rule, can easily and correctly predict each other’s actions in a variety of situations.
Families in which the described integration mechanism is not developed or violated (families with mutually independent relationships) have the following characteristics:
There is a tendency to meet a wide range of needs outside the family and independently of it. As far as possible, the family tries not to acquire an economy, the traditions of separate recreation are expressed, each family member has a separate circle of friends and acquaintances. In the family budget, a significant role is played by the funds spent by each family member at their own discretion.
Family members are very restrained in creating and implementing common plans and Affairs (often the family “pulls” with getting children).
In a family with mutually independent relationships, mutual trust is much less expressed “on credit”, that is, in the case of a contradiction, a member of such a family does not feel that what he does for another, he does for himself. A family with an undeveloped mechanism of “common destiny” is not necessarily unstable, but stability is achieved at the expense of some other moments. Sources of underdevelopment of this mechanism can be very different-first of all, family-wide: the presence of a long-term serious conflict in the family. The negative experience of family relationships from another family or parent family is also hindered. There is a “phobia of the family”, which manifests itself in the fear of entering into a strong family relationship, characterized by “community of fate”, people tend to maintain their independence from the family for as long as possible. From the point of view of family psychotherapy, a family with a weakened mechanism of family integration has a reduced immunity to a wide range of disorders. This type of family is very sensitive to living conditions. The relationship in it is “good as long as everything is good”.
Socio-psychological mechanism of ” emotional identification with the family»
The leading role in the functioning of this mechanism of family integration is played by emotional relations of sympathy between family members.
Relationships of sympathy play a diverse role in the life of the family. First, they satisfy the extremely important need of family members for emotional communication and sympathy. Second, these relationships play a major role in strengthening Pro-family motives and weakening anti-family ones. Sympathy relationships to a certain extent neutralize the States of frustration that arise in interpersonal relationships, including in the family. A person who is nice, and especially who is loved, is forgiven a lot. It is easier to adapt to the frustrating features of his character. There is an effect of “dissolving frustration”.
Thus, sympathy relationships perform a diverse integrating function in the family: they relieve and mitigate frustrations, reduce the mutual aggressiveness of family members, and create more favorable conditions for resolving interpersonal conflicts and forming mutual understanding in the family. Due to these circumstances, the development of sympathy relations also means the strengthening of family cohesion, its ability to resist a wide range of negative and destructive factors (Eidemiller E. G., Justitsky V. V., 1990, pp. 69-78).