Have you heard of dysfunctional families? Must have heard of dysfunctional families in movies? No? Well, then have you heard of a flawless family? Before remarking a family as impeccable, let us ask ourselves if we as individuals are perfect? The answer to that is more than apparent. No individual is faultless. Then how can we conclude a family to be perfect? When the individuals are the living embodiment of flaws. Can we expect to have a beautiful souvenir (family) of perfection?
Then, there are levels in these imperfections too. You can certainly imagine the number of defects in each stage. Thus, when these shortcomings become severe, it leads to the formation of dysfunctional families. Besides, every family is dysfunctional.
It does not matter how affluent or needy or how immensely or lowly qualified the family is, dysfunctionality is an inevitable factor of every family indifferent of your background. It is a war zone in which many people have succumbed fighting for and unknowingly against their loved ones. This lockdown, or the whole Covid-19 situation, has brought family close. Think about it, did it drew us close? Every person is dealing with a new trauma every day.
It is worthwhile to recognize that several factors may cause dysfunctionality in a family. It may be because of behavioural disorder, financial crisis, size of a family, health issues, and so.
In India, dysfunctional families are the most prominent stigma of all times. Other than the news flash of Covid-19 the news of students committing suicide, domestic violence, depression, murder, children abuse also flashed on many news channels. Yet again, Covid-19 brought families close. Is not it?
The most noticeable dysfunctional family characteristics and main causes of a dysfunctional family are:
Society disapproves of broken marriages: Here in India, we will observe that couples rarely file divorce against each other. However, that does not mean that everything is just Kushal mangal. That is because of the log kya kahenge aspect of society. But this very society will neither come between Miya-biwi ka jhagda nor will they come to rescue if one of the two is homicidal. Dangerous, is not it?
Obsession with perfection: Then comes the family, obsessed with perfection. That does not mean that the guardians will take it upon themselves to make their home a beautiful, livable haven. The guardians never stop emanating toxicity. They put the burden of their utopian expectations on the little ones and expect them to excel in everything they do. The parents believe that their children are the indices that would certify them as a perfect family, and obviously the ideal guardians. Their insensitivity turns out to be lethal for the children. The children think of their guardians as homicides. These young people often find themselves stuck between grades and pressurizing guardians. They find their wings clipped even before they know that they can spread it.
Homophobia: Besides, we also have homophobic families. What happens in this type? The family members, especially with the male child, are scared that if their kid shows his sorrow in the manner of brine rolling down his cheek, that becomes a critical matter of concern. They will make sure that the kid is aware of the socially accepted difference, between him and a girl - is that girls cry and boys do not.
Fair skin is the ideal skin type: In Indian families, we practice racism culture, knowingly or unknowingly, if not encourages the same. Browns have always been obsessed with fair skin. Their obsession is vile and undesirable and feeble children have unceasingly fallen victim of such obscenity. For older people, it is merely a matter of joke. No one is empathetic towards the little one who blames his/her skin colour for such an act against them.
Predomination of men: Patriarchy further plays a prominent role in the dysfunctionality of a family. Domestic violence, inequality in the household, marital rape case, dowry, female infanticide, discrimination against a female child or the wife and so on are the products of a patriarchal society. The wife functions on her man’s earning. The wife feels a sense of pride. However, upon the reversal of the said stereotype, the man experiences inferiority complex and his ego and ‘self-respect’ are threatened. In Indian families, females are a burden. Wives are sometimes nothing more than a sex-slave. They are utilized as punching bags to release the husband’s aggression. As the end product, the child becomes an observer and partly bearer of such brutality.
Depression is a myth: Depression, a lethal disease which has caused millions to suffer is nothing but a myth to India families. People die every day because of it, and our society claims it to be a lie. The children take the burden of expectation put on them by their guardians without realizing the aftermath. The head of the family is usually a man. The society expects the man to be strong both physically and mentally. The unfathomable pressure on the head of the household is something that most other members cannot reckon. Wives fail to satisfy their man’s brutal demands and abused both mentally and physically. Nevertheless, depression remains to be a myth.
Imbalances induced by economic disparity: Finance is another aspect of dysfunctional families. Indian society is economically imbalanced. We have impoverished families as well as affluent families. However, these are not the only two extreme conditions. We further have a mid-way, that is, the middle class. The financial aspect, especially when it is low, leads to many problems such as gambling, engagement of oneself in unwanted activities to earn money, alcoholism and these many aspects leads to many other undesirable factors in a family.
The conditions mentioned above are just a few types of dysfunctionalities in families. These issues are nothing to ashamed of because everyone is fighting their own battle. We are not to sit back and enjoy ourselves or get depressed. We are to fight for our loved ones and ourselves.
If anyone reading this feels that the abuse against you is extreme or unbearable, you can always use emergency hotline numbers such as 112, 100, 1090, 1098. Meant to support us, they offer their services 24*7.
All of the factors mentioned above do not conclude that in India, functional families do not exist. In reality, these are the families that give their heart and soul to keep their children and other members safe, to foster unconditional love, to make their homes a beautiful, livable haven. These families do not strive for perfection at the cost of their children.
Dysfunctionality within a family is a disease that is curable if you can have control over your own emotions at least. Besides, there is dysfunctional family therapy that you can seek. You can then save yourself and strive for the safety of your loved ones. If you feel it is out of your limits, then you would know how to tackle it.