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The product of an estranged family as opposed to that of a normal one: A brief sociological take

Rajkumar Panthoiren *



Most of the children born and brought up in structurally and functionally faulty families normally end up abnormal vis-à-vis the social equations, the imposed anomaly lasting throughout their lives. What is then the optimum structure of a normal family in social terms? That family which functions in tandem with generally espoused internal as well as external ‘earned-turned-ascribed’ social image in whole or in major parts is a normal family.

Also by family, as in the preceding sentence, it is implied the centre of exercise of power due to the fact that a family’s social responsibility of upholding its lasting, all-pervading image is on the power-holders, i.e. the head(s) of the family. Such a family possesses a fixed, exclusive geographical boundary (owned or rented residential property) denoting an independent existence and also, it has, more importantly, as its backbone a strong and deterring while at the same time not dauntingly or crassly repulsive emotional boundary.

This family partakes without fail in the socio-religious gatherings and related cultural congregations that take place in the community. This projects a sphere of in-group solidarity and influence in the sense of reaffirming the capability of the family to uphold its validity in the community. The participation bit is a proof of its ability to hold fruitful social interactions with fellow citizens, which may or may not carry any substantial meaning for intellectual growth.

The fruitful nature only qualifies as something that gives fuel for the extension of future interactions with the major purpose of “maintaining” the corpus of social relationships already established; small talks or an intensive emotional or intellectual exchange is included under the purview of fruitful. Another distinct feature is that such a family has a very smooth intra-unit communication of likes, dislikes, avoidance and acceptance principles in relation to both internal and external relational entities, common/uniform familial norms of daily usage which are mostly implied, etc.

The children brought up and conditioned in the environment of such a family matures early on and learns to deal with known and unknown exigencies, and gets along well with the other normal population of the community and also, beyond the familiar exposure of known contexts. This in itself rules out the development of conflict-seeking and building dispositions which are most commonly found in children from conflicted/abnormal families.

By abnormal, it is defined that any family which has failed to produce normal children capable of earning ready social acceptance in and beyond the community almost wholly due to irreversible faults in the power-holders of the family. In such a family, there will be utter failure of intra-unit communication, verbal as well as non-verbal, the moral fibre is shared but not prominently defined, and there is disconnect in the tussle between the inner and the outer self of the members as a result of suppression of one of them or both.

Expressiveness is found highly wanting. There is one-way interaction at the most, thus leaving the young, vulnerable voices of the family under wraps resulting in a cycle of reinforcement being ensured. There is also a wanton lack of positive validation and expressive, intimate critiquing amongst the members. That is why, such families fail to find the “warmth” and “glow” required to hold together the individual strands cohesively.

In such a conflict laden environment, the members naturally develop a negative, opposing tendency leading to conflict-seeking, building and identification disposition instead of diplomatic and practical tact. This inadvertently leads to the children from such families getting isolated socially and emotionally from the mainstream thus leading to the formation of strong opinions on most matters as a defence mechanism, even nearing the brinks of radicalism in several cases.

On the other hand, the products of traumatic and dysfunctional families hinge on systematic de-radicalization of the previously held abnormalities to even resemble a faint shade of healing. But for it to happen, several concurring factors are needed which often do not come to be due to lacks in professional facilitative interventions and general consciousness of the more often than not imposed anomaly. Most observers resort to judgemental victim-blaming rather than empathetic consideration, thus further aggravating the problem.

But the big question here is: who do we need more? The ones who feed on conflict and in the process, succeed to highlight and mitigate the grave injustices of the present world as a result of their incessant drive for their own conflict resolution; or, the ones who have been so well brought up that they turn their heads around every time a conflict situation which carries an undesirable potential to disturb their self-interests comes up?

What about the arts because essentially, isn’t every great art a study of the innumerable vortex of human as well as natural conflicts? What will happen to our creative grandness and beauty if everybody was to be tactful and practical and docile? Greatness, it seems, always has to be achieved by compromising on the many normalities of an ordinary life.

In the conclusion, it can only be said casually (but not superficially) by deduction, due to the lack of any reference of concrete empirical backing, that it is not really necessary always for the family to produce a product either from the binaries of normal and abnormal children strictly according to its prevalent normality or abnormality; the product doesn’t always have to correspond to the conditions prescribed.

Sometimes, the individual’s innately strong sense of internal direction acts as the only deciding factor required to forge a unique identity, not borne through the family’s systems at all. Such individuals exist despite the family and not because of it. But again, they are the rare breeds genetically and thus, socially. In addition to the individual disposition, the early environmental stimuli to which the individual has been exposed to can decide the lasting aspects of the final product.

For instance, Che Guevara was not a born radical; he became one in his youth when during the course of his extensive tours across Latin America, he underwent cognitive dissonance upon exposure to mass poverty and exploitation of his fellow humans at the hands of the then imperialist policies of the USA. Out of an estranged family can come the most tactful person; out of a normal family can also come a highly radical person. In equal fairness.


* Rajkumar Panthoiren wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at panthoirk94(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on June 04, 2017.


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