Friday, December 29, 2006

The Maze of Rules Necessary for the Smooth Operation of the Dysfunctional Group

By Patricia Lefave, Labeled, D.D. (P)


If you want to be an accepted member of a highly dysfunctional group, while maintaining a façade of normality, there is a list of rules which you would be wise to understand and follow in order to keep up your standing in the group. Many of these rules are not stated overtly and a great deal of time can be wasted trying to decipher them based on group interaction. To save some people time and energy in that pursuit, I have decided to post a list of these rules here in order to offer a better chance of integration into such groups with far less confusion. Advance knowledge will do much to clear up any confusion.

1. There must be no direct admission that anything ‘bad’ or less than well intentioned has ever happened. Such events are to be ‘overlooked.’ If they are mentioned by any group member for any reason, they should be instantly denied by the other group members.


2. No emotional reacting to any kind of abusive behaviour from authority figures or those who support and enable them. That will be considered to be a sign of weakness.


3. No talking about the event outside the group. No one will be believe you anyway because the other group members are very good at wearing a façade of normality with others and are generally accepted as ‘extroverts.’

4. No talking about it INSIDE the group. No one wants to deal with it in any way other than the one already prescribed by the group as a whole.

5. No suggesting psychological help for the abuser. No telling him or her that he or she is doing something wrong. It enrages the abuser to be told that. The result of doing so may be only some ‘help for the complainant with his or her ‘perception/reaction’ problem.

6. No looking to any of the other members of the group for emotional support. They support the groupthink and will not be making any waves by hinting that anything is wrong with that.

7. No expression of negative emotions allowed. (and we all know that doesn’t include smiling, although too MUCH smiling may also be disallowed. A certain level of smiling is allowed as the abuse may be frequently defined as a ‘joke’ and if you don’t smile while be abused you may well be accused of having no sense of humour, another of your many faults.

8. There is to be no defending yourself while you are being attacked. as that is ‘being defensive’ and being defensive is a negative character trait of yours also.

9. There is no perception of yourself AS ‘being attacked’ either since the attack is NOT an ‘attack’ it is only a joke.’

10. No confronting of your abuser. It upsets them if you do that and you’re not perfect either (which will be pointed out to you) and since you are not perfect (which I am sure you will agree) you have no right to object to the way you are being treated. Only ‘perfect’ people are ‘allowed’ to object to that.

11. No awareness in general of what is being done to you. That is another of your character flaws known as being ‘too sensitive.’

12. No thinking that your feelings matter as much as anyone else’s in the group. They don’t. If you think they do, you are just being self centered. Only the other person’s feelings matter and that will be repeated to you until you either accept it or give up trying to make the point and accept that no one is interested in how you feel about this.

13. No awareness of group dysfunction is allowed in the first place. That is being ‘judgmental and disloyal’ to the group and they can’t have that.

14. No trying to stop the abuser. That will only make him or her even worse.

15. No expecting someone who appears to genuinely fail to understand what they are doing to learn to understand. It is your job to let all the negative results to you, as an effect of the group’s behaviour, to just ‘roll off your back.’ (Greasing up your back may help it slide off better if it feels like you are being stuck with a load you can’t carry.)

16. No finding fault with the authority’s behaviour or ideas. That would be like ‘blaming’ and blaming is of course, always wrong when you are the one doing it. That is especially true if it is authority figures who are the ones being blamed.

17. No expecting the abuser to be responsible of his or her own behaviour because they are ‘sick’ or unaware of it, or drunk. If they are sick, then they can’t help it. If the are unaware of it, it is a fault in you to point it out. If they are drunk, they have a ‘disease’ and again, they can’t help it. So stop your whining.

18. No questioning the rules. The rules are there because they work. ( for somebody)

19. No trying to resolve past incidents or express any feelings about them either. That would be bitching and complaining or ‘dwelling in the past’ and that is also wrong. A good correction for you would be to tell you, “You must let it go…..” (the fault is in you if you don’t. It is not in those who continue to pretend they have done nothing wrong) Once an abuser has pretended they have not done what they have done, there is a statute of limitations on you awareness of it. If that amount of time has passed, YOU will be found guilty of having unrealistic expectations.

20. No taking anything that is done or said to you ‘personally.’ (no emotional ‘histrionics’ in other words) To think of yourself as a person and expecting to be treated as a person is to display your selfishness and your ‘touchiness.’

21. No breaking of any of these rules. To attempt to break these rules will be seen as an attempt to break the group itself.

22. No being consciously aware that there is a whole system of crazy rules which you are expected to follow. You don’t see them written down anywhere in the group itself do you? If it isn’t written down then it can’t be real.

If you understand and obey all of these rules (which really don’t exist) you may become a successful card carrying member in good standing, of virtually ANY dysfunctional group. So, get to work memorizing all the rules which don’t really exist until they become automatic responses for you. After you have perfected that, throw the list away and forget there ever was a list. You will now fit into any dysfunctional society, anywhere. Congratulations of achieving normality!

1 comment:

Sissagwaad said...

You are awesome Pat
You share a meaningful slant with such amazing sarcastic/close to home humorousness......I truly had a good chuckle at some of the points you suggest....