Disorders and Treatment
- Mental Illness
- Bipolar Disorder
- Mood Disorders
- Borderline Personality
- Mental Health Diagnosis
- Mental Health Treatments
- Alternative Meds
- Case Studies
As with all counter-strategies, maintaining empathy for the Other and persistence are key.
In metacommunication, fatalism is most commonly invoked in order to resist and discourage further attempts at solving family problems whenever somebody tries. When one family member wants to bring up a highly emotionally salient past event that has led to unresolved feelings, for example, a second family member protests, "Why are you bringing this up again? You cannot change the past."
Well of course you cannot change the past. At least not as far as we know, anyway. The past seems to be rather fixed, does it not? No one denies that. Perhaps there is an alternate universe out there somewhere, but if so, we have no access to it.
The fallacy here, however, is the implication that the past is no longer having any effect on the present, nor will it have any continuing effect on the future. It implies that people are not affected by memories in the here and now, and that they do not use past events in order to predict future ones. It almost seems to be arguing that every moment in the present is entirely independent and disconnected from every previous moment.
Another accusation based on a belief in fatalism is the charge that patients who are known to be in therapy are inappropriately trying to be psychiatrists themselves. "Quit trying to analyze everything!" is a frequent family rallying cry.
Why shouldn't they try to analyze a situation? Understanding a problem is beneficial for figuring out a way to solve it. People in the family may disagree, but only because they feel helpless about changing their future. These feelings of helplessness often stem from past experiences or catastrophes that befell their forefathers. That anxiety has been passed down from one generation to the next, often with the source of the original anxiety becoming lost. Times have changed for the better, but the family continues to act as if these somewhat ancient horrors are still in operation.
In response to the accusation that they are dwelling on the past, individuals can point out how those past situations are continuing to affect the family's present situation. They can say that they are bringing them up because they want to have better relationships with the family. The old problems are creating distance, and they want to be closer.
In response to the charge that they are being troublemakers and creating dissonance in the family, individuals can reply that the dissonance already exists, and they are trying to reduce it by discussing its causes. They can add that if the bad feelings can be reduced, then the whole family will wind up feeling happier and warmer with one another.
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