ABSTRACT

This event marks a crisis point, or a dangerous opportunity, in the lives of the Taylors. It is dangerous in that the members of this family and the patterns of interaction among them may deteriorate as a result. Mrs. Taylor may begin a cycle of self-doubt and fear, which might lead to chronic insomnia, phobias, family alienation, social isolation, job loss, among other possibilities. Other family members may come to see and treat her as somehow altered, sick, or bad, and thus further reinforce a cycle of problem generation. Mr. Taylor may gradually build resentment over his wife's fears and begin to alienate himself from her through either withdrawal or gradually escalating arguments over the irrationality of her fears. He also may succumb to exhaustion, physical illness, or job loss. Their son's increasing frustration and arguments might not only lead to a reinforcement of his mother's sick role or his father's stress cycle, but also increase his alienation from his parents and contribute to generalized disputes in other areas of family life or social interaction. The crisis may, on the other hand, create the opportunity for increased marital or family cohesion, enhanced self-respect or respect for the strengths of others, or the alteration of prior problematic family patterns and the initiation of new and more flexibly adaptive ones.