Alice Chein Communication 289 MW 8-9:20 14 October 2013 Theory: The Interactional View (Watzlawick) Word Count: 1820 Paul Watzlawick describes a family as a system in The Interactional View. According to the family system, the behavior of a single family member affects the entire family system, and communication interchanges among family members shape individual and family welfare…
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When she revoked the permission, I was so mad at her that I did not talk to her for a month, while I also blamed my father for enabling my mother’s domination over my life. By not talking, it means that I did not communicate with her closely like I used to. The Interactional View helps me understand the impact of family relationships on family communication exchanges and individual behaviors. The Interactional View sees the family as a system of units that influence one another. Indeed, in my situation, my mother’s behavior affected my behavior, while I further connected my behavior to my father’s lack of action on the matter. In the context of a game, the rules are the following: 1) If my mother decides on something, my father implicitly supports it by not questioning her decisions, and 2) Children must obey their parents because they know what is best for the former. These rules do not mean that my father is underneath the power of my mother, but I can see that he wants to avoid conflict with her. The result of the rules of the game in our family is that I lose my agency or control over my life. My parents can change the rules as they wish, but I cannot do anything about it. As a dutiful daughter, I am bound by these rules. I may resent them, but I continue to follow them because I believe in respecting my family’s decisions. Apart from seeing the family as a system governed by the rules of game, The Interactional View asserts the existence of axioms of interpersonal communications. Family homeostasis is central to these axioms because it refers to the unspoken complicity of family members in preserving the status quo. The rules of the game, no matter how dysfunctional, can result to a sense of family homeostasis, though the homeostasis may not be good for the family as a whole or for specific family members. In my case, my parents and I contribute to the family homeostasis because no one directly questions or opposes the rules of the game. I follow my parents’ decisions, even if I do not always agree with them, because saving their face and family values are more important to me than my autonomy. My father also implicitly supports our family homeostasis because he does not conflict with my mother’s decisions. My mother also supports father’s decisions, though when it comes to their children, she is more vocal than my father. The first axiom of The Interactional View states that communication is so constant that to not communicate is a form of communication in itself. Watzlawick explains the concept of symptom strategy, where a person explains the cause of silence as something external, and so verbal communication does not occur. The person makes it look like he/she cannot control his/her silence. One time, my mother asked me why I was not responding to her text messages. I told her that I was busy in the library, which was my symptom strategy. By not saying anything through not answering her text messages, I justified my action through a symptom strategy. In reality, I was mad at her because my best friend and I made numerous plans for the weekend, and I was quite excited to spend two whole days with her. All of those plans
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