Running head: ABY’S CASE STUDY ILLUSTRATION
Aby’s Dysfunctional Family Case Study from Generation to Generation
Argosy University, Dallas
Aby’s Dysfunctional Family Case Study
Aby is a 32-year old- female of African origin, born in London, England to Jo and Nicky. Aby’s parents, Jo and Nicky migrated to England from Africa in 1974 to further their studies as a young couple. A year into their studies and new adjusted lives, Nicky became ecstatic when she discovered she was pregnant with their first child. On getting home from her evening class, she informed Jo of the good news. He was happy and looked forward to being a dad for the very first time. Few months into the pregnancy, Nicky was becoming immensely tired and that prevented her from carrying out some of her duties as an African wife. Jo noticed that the boundaries set within the family system were being compromised, and as the head of the family, he was not going to allow that to continue, but he exercised patience until Aby was born on July 4, 1975. After the birth of Aby, one would think their nuclear family was intact and at peace. No, instead, this marked the beginning of the dysfunction in the family as Jo disengaged from his wife. Nevertheless, Jo loved Aby as the first fruit of the family and spent considerable amount of quality time with her. Nicky, on the other hand, noticed Jo’s attitude towards her and realized that while she was pregnant with Aby, she somehow neglected her duty as a wife. She apologized and promised to perform her roles effectively, and Jo pardoned her. As a result, the homeostasis was intact again and all the broken parts mended as they achieved wholeness as a family. In 1977, Jo and Nicky had identical twins, Peter and Paul. During the second pregnancy, Nicky performed her duties as she had assured Jo, but with intense hatred. Nicky formed a closed system by operating without Jo, and he did not sense the wall erected by Nicky. Nicky felt she was cohabitating with Jo as the passion of love was gradually diminishing. When the twins and Aby were five and seven years old respectively, Nicky informed Jo of her true feelings that she was emotionally cutoff and needed some space to recuperate. Nicky initially took two weeks off to spend time with her best friend in Manchester, a city outside of London, leaving the children with Jo. Jo demonstrated some ego tactics claiming to be the man of the house. He neither pleaded with Nicky nor apologized for his wrong attitudes carried out while Nicky was pregnant. He summoned courage and sought assistance from his extended family, his favorite aunt Rose, who helped care for the children for those two weeks. Nicky confided in her best friend, Sharon, what she encountered with Jo while she was pregnant. Sharon, happily married for twelve years, advised Nicky that families were bound to have conflicts, which can be resolved amicably. Sharon helped reframe Jo’s attitudes during her pregnancy, but Nicky failed to see the new perspective of things. Nicky was not negentropic as she was not flexible in receiving Sharon’s new input that would have toned down the dysfunction in the family. Nicky’s overall solution to Jo’s so called ‘selfishness’ was divorce. On Nicky’s return home, she spoke to Aby and the twins, Peter and Paul, and apologized for taking off suddenly without explaining to them. The twins were too young to understand the whole concept and hugged their mum, and went off to play. However, Aby was furious with Nicky as she felt abandoned and rejected. This in turn, marked the beginning of feedback loops between Aby and her mother, Nicky. Aby was reprimanded for talking back and her mother demanded respect at once. Aby concluded in her mind that her mother had lost her role as a mother since the day she walked out on them, and Jo, her father, was all that mattered in her life. Once Nicky was done speaking with...
References: Goldenberg, I., & Goldenberg, H. (2004). Family Therapy: An Overview (6th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning.
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