Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Botkin Syndrome Secrets

Christians weighing in on Botkin Syndrome:
Excerpts from "Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves" by Drs. Stoop and Masteller.

From pages 64 - 68:

Family Secrets

Family secrets are the things that have happened – and may still be happening – that everyone knows about but that no one ever talks about.

As you look back at the various families we have met so far, it is easy, in most cases, to see what the family secrets were. Perhaps as you think back through your own life, you are aware of certain incidents, people, or problems, that no one ever discussed, eve though it was obvious that everyone was aware of them. Perhaps you can recognize the part you played in maintaining the conspiracy of silence.

That conspiracy was a significant factor in Richard’s family. Richard came for therapy with a great amount of reluctance. He was almost overwhelmed by the feeling that he was betraying his family members by talking about their problems to an outsider. “We were taught from an early age that family business stays in the family,” he explained...

Family secrets are like having an elephant in the parlor. You learn at a very young age that the one question you never ask is “Why do we have an elephant in the parlor? If friends or others outside ask about it, the correct answer is, “What elephant?” As the elephant grows, you put a lamp and a lace doily on it and treat it like part of the furniture. In time you have to avoid the parlor entirely. But you never ask about it or comment on it.

Family secrets are one of the main ways that family systems resist change. Everyone keeps doing what they have always done, as if nothing was wrong.

Excerpt from
Dr. David Stoop & Dr. James Masteller's
"Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves: Healing Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families"
Regal/Gospel Light, 1996 (Servant, 1991)