What is Pseudomutuality in Narcissistic Families?
Pseudomutucality is when a family unit appear to be close, connected, understanding and unconditionally loving towards one another. However, in reality, they struggle to connect with one another and have highly harmful, toxic, and even abusive relationships they keep hidden away from others.
To the outside world they look like a unified front, but inside they are highly divided, chaotic and toxic. The family unit bonds over shared distain, dislike or hatred of another person, thing, place or experience. Usually this is the role of the scapegoat in the family unit. To carry the families distain and provide a source of bonding for family members in unit.
The purpose of pseudomutuality is to prevent family members from individuating, keep them in their place within the family unit, and maintain a façade of closeness and perfection to outsiders.
Think this might be your family? Consider these questions:
Are family members allowed to have different boundaries?
Are family members allowed to have their own needs, goals, opinions?
Are family members allowed to have relationships outside of the family unit?
How does my family act when someone expresses being hurt or upset? If my family members don’t express emotions, why is this? Is emotional expression allowed?
How does my family handle conflict? Does it get resolved? Are all parties perspectives and needs validated and considered? Does the solution involve compromise and teamwork?
Remember that in healthy relationships people
Resolve conflicts with respect and compromise.
Experience their own opinions, thoughts, ideas.
Express their emotions in healthy ways and are met with validation and respect.
Individuate and create their own lives outside of the family unit.
The family members change and grow and the family unit changes and grows with them.