At the base will be thethat the family has to offer. It shows up in families as: dominating-submissive attitudes, hierarchical authority, and battles for control.
Domination and control in a family, between spouses and between parents and children, focus on everyday matters like… the timing and content of meals, bedtimes, tidiness and cleanliness, use of common possessions, doing household chores, choice of friends, consumption of alcohol, performance of ritual activities.
Where these battles get out of hand, every tiny decision becomes a battle-field. This can escalate, much as in society: i.e. to violence—child abuse or spouse battering.
It starts in infancy—there are few things experienced as more controlling than a screaming baby or a demanding toddler. Parents must exert control over children. Ideally this should occur with tenderness and firmness. Control becomes a problem in the family, as in wider society, with the use of coercion and violence e.g. swaddling and rocking infants endlessly, intimidating by shouting, or beating the child.
In society, there is always a veneer of maturity and rationality associated with the expression of group power, even when that expression is harmful to some or self-destructive to society. In the family, however, we are dealing with basic instinctual-emotional states intrinsic to human biology. The helpless infant, screaming for relief from hunger or pain, seems to have nothing but controlling urges at its disposal: and they work. Something similar is seen in animals.
The family emerges in a cultural environment that specifies unambiguously how a family ought to be run. The, sometimes mixed with serve as the family equivalent to . are often called «commandments» to make the power-element unmistakable.
Family members may feel able to determine some of their own customs, but these will be ultimately derived from their culture. Alteringis far more difficult than altering the law. are handed down as traditions embedded in habits and modes of thinking.
The force ofis intense: to ensure support, religious organizations usually run with local customs even if these run counter to their own ethical doctrines and rituals.
Not only do socialized elders in the extended family exert great pressure on family members in the name of custom, but neighbours, and even a religious police or the government, may intrude and intervene to enforce custom.
Whereas the great religions contain ennobling and enlightening ethical doctrines, the customs that encrust around these religions and are authorized by orthodox leaders are contaminated by deep and dangerous power urges that ramify into family life fromand .
So customs may well permit brutality, maltreatment and injustice amongst family members e.g. given that men are physically stronger, followers of this inquiry will not be surprised that men dominate women in many cultures. As well as physical beatings to assert their dominance, men block their education, deny a right to vote, prevent disposal or inheritance of wealth, remove decisions about personal matters like driving or choice of clothing, and more.
The initial two Levels are almost pure power…
These Centres have little direct focus on the family’s efforts to survive and thrive in an environment that may be difficult or dangerous: e.g. family members often feel entitled to murder other family members.
While Levels are essential to focus on the specifics of surviving and thriving.may be oriented to benefit family life and may offer useful guidelines about intimate relationships and domestic life, the higher
The higher two( ) emerge from the need for the family to do work in order to survive and thrive.
Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 12 June 2014.