I don’t see the family as a amalgam of individuals. I see it as a cast in a play. Each family member has his of her role and together – through the respective roles – they tell a story: the family story.
It is tacitly agreed that each family member is obligated to fulfill the requirements of his of her role. To do the contrary will not only destabilise the family narrative but cast into doubt the legitimacy of the other roles as well.
Children are supporting characters
The more authoritarian the family, the more rigid the roles – and the more severe the punishments for disobeying the requirements of the roles.
Most families are liberal, based on human values that come from a point of respect towards all members, including the smallest and youngest members. These families have my admiration and, I admit, envy.
In the authoritarian family children are supporting characters. An act of rebellion against the principal players, who consider themselves kings of the family (although dictators is a better word) is met with appropriate measures. In exceptional cases a subordinate member of the family does the unthinkable, and abandons the family.
This is the ultimate form of treason and mutiny, not just through the eyes of the family but society as a whole. It is a sin as unpardonable as that of the apostate. It makes sense that fundamentalist religions kill their apostates. Because their power depends on the unconditional faith and obedience of its followers.
Cooperation of the masses can only be obtained due to a multitude of broken individuals
The family member that leaves, is like the actor who abandons the performance during intermission. The actor leaves the rest of the cast in the lurch – suddenly acting with a hole in a script that doesn’t make sense anymore. The audience feels cheated. They came, expecting a recognisable and logical story, with a certain predictability but in it’s place they got chaos. Fear of anarchy arises. Shit might hit the fan.
At their turn, the power structures of this world – (EU) governments and large cooperations have only attained their almost absolute power with our permission. Wether it be tacit or overt.
Such easily gained cooperation of the masses can only be obtained due to a multitude of broken individuals that don’t dare to question, to reclaim their autonomy. Individuals that deep down don’t believe they deserve more then they have. Because that is how broken people think. They don’t ask for better, because they don’t believe they deserve any better.
And who broke them in the first place?
Society values the efficacy of the production, not the well-being of the individual
The audience is like society – it needs an ordered script, with the roles of individuals that make up the collective wether it be the family or a larger entity. If everyone began to question their roles, then not only the family will change but society would cease to function.
Society values the efficacy of the production, not the well-being of the individual cast members. This can be seen in the blaming of victims of mental abuse, as well as the “therapists” who further try to shame and marginalise scapegoats who take the brave step of going no-contact with their ‘nice to outside world’-abusers.
In the case of my family, the structure was build in a way that is often seen in authoritarian families, where some members were more understanding that others (often just another role to keep the image clean for onlookers). My role was to be ‘an example’, to be ‘grown up about things’, to ‘know better’. ‘Golden children’ however will be rejected once they fail to play this or their role or speak out of tune.
Certain cast members have now changed their roles. I am now the scapegoat, not worthy of any attention, as I have rebelled against the narrative by questioning the script.
Mindgames, passive aggression, smear campaigns and the recruitment of other family members against scapegoats is typical for an authoritarian family. To the outside world the story will make sense again. The ‘crazy ones’ have left the building, unity has been restored – or so it seems.
Just like in Kafka’s Trial, I never found out wat the complaint was
Learning where this came from, I still believed for a long time that I had the power to influence their attitude towards me and the situation as a whole. I wasn’t conscious of the script, of my new role. I kept trying, and only did harm to myself: I began to internalise the families judgement of me, not knowing what crime I had committed to ‘deserve’ this treatment (being vaguely accused of mistreatment and neglect).
I was more concerned with what my family was thinking and feeling, than I was with the needs of my own children. Just like in Kafka’s Trial, I never found out wat the complaint was. I was left to puzzle a new character together, one that would please them and satisfy them.
I decided I would no longer accept my role – or any new one. The indignation I felt upon discovering the truth filled me with the strength to make some drastic changes. I decided that I would no longer play the masochistic role that kept me from being myself.
Rejecting the role proved my suspicions, the family did not want anything to do with me anymore – since I had ‘hurt them so badly’. Once I figured this out, I discovered I did not need anyones permissions to reject this role. Instead, I can construct a happy, healthy, positive reality. This is only possible if you distance yourself completely from the pathology.
The script is written in stone
There were detours. Hope, doubt, poking the bear. But they were necessary, that way the consequences would light up in the form of more manipulation and indifference on their side. They were steady reminders of the right path I was on.
It all made me see the truth clearly: in the theater of the family – the Authoritarian Family – the script is written in stone. It will never change, only the roles will occasionally shift. It may end up destroying the actors, and it probably will, but the script, like in the dystopian novel 1984, is all powerful. The script is what matters, not the family members.
The script is so powerful that most members don’t even know it exists. They don’t know why they are unhappy or ill. The script can not be rewritten, it does not permit revisions.
Everyone has a seat somewhere in the Theater of the Authoritiarian Family. In Europe, most of us live in nation states that are no longer acknowledged as individual states by the EU. Hungary for example has been punished for being ‘undemocratic’, meaning: for being an apostate and a traitor to the authoritarian script.
The EU only has the interest of the EU itself at heart, it’s survival depends on the roles and obedience of the member states. Scapegoats must be smeared and used as a warning for other ‘individuals’, rewards for compliance given and (self) censorship established to prevent us seeing the emperors new clothes. This is necessary, because after all, the Authoritarian Family has no power in and of itself.
The analogy between small and large families en governments is striking, and tangible. The EU will end up destroying the actors if we don’t wake up to the all powerful script – and start feeling powerful again as individuals.
This piece was inspired by a Youtube video by ‘Escape from Narcissism’.
Author. Academic. Fighting nonsense. Thought junkie, creating free speech, connecting.