Grave Incongruence – The Fourth Reality by Susan Jackson

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step 12 magazine jacksonGrave Incongruence is the fourth reality of the family scrimmage. Grave Incongruence is the extreme distance between our emotional, spiritual and cognitive selves. In the addictive family, grave incongruence is experienced like a grave illness which contributes to the family’s mental (cognitive) and physical pains as a result of the rough and vigorous struggle which progressively annihilates the whole family system. Now that may sound harsh, however it does describe the powerful heartbreaking daily existence within the family. The progression has many highs and lows. The addictive family vacillates between those highs and lows which is brought on by the stress of the disease as they agonize over the addicted family member. It is during the fluctuation of the highs and lows when incongruence is initiated.

Incongruent mental (cognitive), spiritual, and emotional aspects of each family member erodes to a somber state due to incongruence. When the congruent transforms into incongruence as a result of the addiction, serious personal issues may manifest. As the distance between the emotional, spiritual and the cognitive grows farther and farther apart the individual often experiences anguish of the soul. This distorts the cognitive process and creates despair on the emotional well-being of the individual.

Grave incongruence contributes to the increase of the first realty, Pathos. It is Grave Incongruence which is always accompanied by anxiety and depression. The addictive family endures this incongruence to the extreme. Unfortunately the littlest members of the family are the most impacted by this incongruence. Children are often medicated in early childhood for symptoms of depression, anxiety or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder), when a less invasive intervention may be all that is warranted. A close examination of the symptoms developed from Grave Incongruence will verify a need to resolve specific factors contributing to the negative behaviors often associated with children from addictive homes. Children suffering from depression, anxiety or ADHD as a result of living in an addictive family would greatly benefit from the identification of the realities that addictive environments produce.

Counselors, therapists, or doctors can educate and assist in resolving the first reality of Pathos, and exposing the second reality of Abstruse, which may eliminate the need for medication. Often medicating a child too soon can exacerbate the Pathos (emotional suffering) condition and force the Abstruse (the secrets, secret) to remain active. I am not suggesting the abolishment of medication interventions. I am only suggesting examining, exploring, and resolving the Pathos experience that was provided by an addictive family system before considering medication. For the addictive family, working diligently to resolve the family Pathos and making congruent all that is incongruent is of vital importance.

Family members have a strong tendency to get lost in each other’s incongruence. Poor boundaries and mixed messages cause intensified emotional and spiritual suffering leading to cognitive confusion, distorted thinking, shame and degradation.

It has been my experience that the addictive family is extremely resilient. This resiliency is a strong indicator that each member of the family can heal. They can recover from the serious realities of the family scrimmage. The family must accept that they need to make dramatic changes in their lives. If change does not happen, each individual will remain trapped in a debilitating addictive environment. Staying in the complicated havoc of the scrimmage will eventually lead to the fifth reality; the Wrath Experience. Next time we will explore the several stages of the Wrath Experience. Until then, may serenity absorb you.

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