In psychotherapy with American patients who are repetitively self-destructive and self defeating, we attempt to create an emotional/historical family tree (genogram) that looks at the events and personalities in earlier generations that seemed to combine to create the ongoing dysfunctional family roles and interactions that we see in the present. These stereotypical interactions, the subjects of many of the posts in this blog, both trigger and continue to reinforce my patient’s problematic behavior. The behavior is a family role that helps to stabilize the way the family functions to a degree, at least over the short term.
Nonetheless, the adults are also exposed to the American siren song of “living with all the gusto you can,” to quote an old beer commercial. Yet they feel far less free than their children to succumb to its charms.
I only heard about this second hand, so I cannot vouch for any of the details of this story, but what I heard was that she ended up committing suicide.
After attending the APA session, which did seem to have a point of view that was similar to mine, I located two studies, [Hwang et. al., Child Psychology and Human Development 40(1), Mar. 2009; Farver et. al., Journal of Family Psychology 16(3), Sept. 2002] - one with Asian-Americans and Latinos, and the other with Asian Indian families - which support the idea that this acculturation gap does seem to create family conflict and psychological stress.