DAD - Mike has worked at an automotive parts house for 12 years and has recently been promoted to manager. He is having some trouble with the responsibility of supervising the other employees and managing the parts house. He has recently been having angry out-bursts, at home, at small infractions of the children's reluctance to do their chores. He also has been hyper-critical of his wife. Neither of these displays is characteristic of him, he is usually quiet and withdrawn.
MOM - Betty works part-time as a waitress. The money she earns goes toward getting extra things for the children--such as new clothes for school and presents for holidays and special occasions. She suffers from migraines and sometimes has to call in sick. She married Mike because he was strong and protective but Mike has little patience with her migraines because he has never missed a day of work in his life and Betty tends to "complain about small stuff a lot anyway". When Mike took Betty to the hospital--for the birth of their first born Kelly--Mike couldn't stand the anxiety so he left and drove around alone for 4 hours. When he came back Betty had delivered but had very nearly lost the child.
CHILD - Kelly--now in high school--is getting low grades and is a discipline problem. Kelly has begun using drugs more and more and has moved into using harder drugs and has begun to mix alcohol with the drug usage. Kelly has been promised a job by a friend's father at twice minimum wage, working at typesetting in a print shop. Even though Kelly likes math and history, Kelly desperately wants to quit school, get married, and go to work. Although he knows Kelly has been involved 3 times with the police for juvenile scrapes, the owner of the print shop has faith in Kelly.
CHILD - David may be described as a "model child". Never a problem at home or at school. David gets good grades and takes part in extra activities at school. David likes arts, crafts, drama, and science and spends a lot of time at home quietly doing projects in the bedroom. David even has a small chemistry lab and likes to do special projects for extra credit at school.
THE PROBLEM - Push has finally come to shove--Kelly has been reported for being drunk in class at school. Kelly's juvenile officer has come by the house with Kelly in tow and is talking to mother when father comes home. Dad has had to fire an employee today for pilfering auto parts. Dad had to answer to the regional office manager who chewed him out for not keeping track of inventory better. Dad drove around for 2 hours after work to ease the anxiety and dull the pain.
DAD - Mike was abandoned by his alcoholic father on a regular basis. Mike had a big fight with his father at 14, left home and finished high school living at a friend's home. When Mike got his first job he proudly told his dad. His fathers only comment was "You have more on the ball than that". Two days before the birth of their first child Mike had visited his father in an attempt to build a new tie with the coming birth of a grandchild. Mike's father was drunk and told him he was not interested in any grandchildren that he would have and besides he had married a "damaged" woman who was beneath him. Mike's recent work advancement is scaring him "half-to-death." He is dyslexic, has been since childhood, only diagnosed in high school, and only then did he understand why school was so hard and unrewarding. It has always been a secret. Only his own mother knows. Mike had trouble making friends in grade school - the other kids called him "dummy" and "stupid." He can't talk to Kelly because of his shame and embarrassment about his own dyslexia. He won't help David with his studies because he still can't read well. He is alone, bonding with nobody. He is scared at work, because as the new manager, he has to "deal with people", and he has to "track the numbers" -- two major problems for a dyslexic loner.
He decided now that this has to stop. He went to his doctor and asked for help. He was referred to a reading clinic for his dyslexia, and to family therapy for the mess at home. He is afraid about what this all means but is willing to start because "anything is better than this misery."
MOM - Betty , the oldest, had to care for her brothers and sisters when her father died and her mother went to work as a waitress. After mother remarried, Betty continued to be responsible for the other children, with mother's encouragement, allowing mother to have more time with her new husband. Betty was molested by her stepfather and an uncle between 7 and 12 years of age. She married to get away from home but is still fearful of men--even though she married Mike because he is big, strong, and protective. Mike has now turned out to be cold, critical and possessive. She wants to go to junior college to study secretarial courses to better herself, but she keeps spending the money on the children to "give them what I never had". Being a waitress is OK because she is "in charge" and likes serving people, and going to school and being a student is fearful for her. Although her husband is not emotionally supportive of her and refuses to talk about his feelings, she feels that he is basically a good man and that they can get along "OK."
Betty decided to join Mike for family/couple therapy. She was told that both She and Mike need to begin talking about their feelings in a number of areas. She said that she was "shy" but agreed with Mike that the current situation must stop -- "It is too painful for the whole family."
CHILD - Kelly, angry depressed, laid awake nights worried about what life holds for her. She can't turn to her parents. Her mothers migraines make her unavailable, and her father "just won't talk to me" Kelly feels hopeless to change things. Kelly was born with a mild form of dyslexia and part of the school problem is traceable to this problem of seeing letters inverted and/or backwards. Only recently diagnosed, it has been an unknown source of frustration for Kelly. Kelly was frequently told by father that "You're dumb, stupid".
Kelly--"the one who got us here"--is still very angry, and withdrawn. She says that therapy is "dumb and stupid" (of course) and that she doesn't want any part of it -- but continues to come, without major objection -- to the family sessions.
CHILD - David is suicidal, and, unlike Kelly, David decided to "keep the nose to the grindstone" and ignore the family hassles. As the years rolled by David became better and better at hiding feelings. David now has two lives--a social facade of success, accomplishment, and sociability--and a private life internally which is preoccupied with occasional thoughts of suicide. At 15 David is having great trouble dealing with the demands of growing sexuality, and the social demands of getting along with peers but not having a decent model of how to deal with feelings. With nobody to confide in at home, David is feeling "wound up like a spring". David has a secret diary in which he has developed several methods of suicide, how he would make that happen, and how each of his family members would feel about his death.
David brightly contributed to the family therapy with what he had learned on the internet about psychology, dyslexia, family dynamics, and has several ideas how to "fix" the other members of the family. He has great difficulty answering simple, direct questions about himself: "How did you feel when your father would not help you with your homework?" After 6 months of family therapy he finally produced his suicide journal for all to see and talk about, including himself. The family stayed in various forms of therapy (individual, couple, family) for over 22 months.
now, requires Mike and herself to regularly talk about feelings,
self-esteem, and needs.
LOVE IS EFFORT OVER TIME
ENOUGH IS GOOD ENOUGH
– END EXAMPLES –
– EXERCISE BELOW –
Write down a few brief reactions to these questions.
LEVEL - (the social story)
LEVEL - (the secret story)
NOW - AFTER
THINKING ABOUT BOTH
THE SOCIAL AND PROCESS LEVEL INFORMATION
|– END EXERCISE –|