The Addams Family – Family Dysfunction
As their offspring, should you be in distress, they will find a way to make it all about themselves, discrediting your feelings and experiences.
My foray into the brilliance of Tim Burton continues! This week, I’m diving into The Addams Family: Family Values. Technically, this is not a Tim Burton movie but his reinvention of the Addams in his adaptation of Wednesday got me diving into all things Addams! A special shout out to Christina Ricci, the Wednesday who stole our hearts. While we’re on the subject be sure to watch Wednesday. Jenna Ortega’s take on this timeless role is to die for!
But I digress. Watching the Addams family, I was struck by the dysfunctional nature of their dynamics. Self-involved parents who barely engage with their children, siblings thrown into distress at the arrival of a new baby and a stifling bond that borders on the occult. Sounds out of this world, right? Yet this is the norm for most families.
Self-involved parents are a dime a dozen yet they inflict a multitude of wounds that take life times to repair. In some instances, they are narcissistic and everything outside of them is merely an extension of their existence. As their offspring, should you be in distress, they will find a way to make it all about themselves, discrediting your feelings and experiences.
At it’s best, this teaches their unfortunate spawn to suppress their needs and ensure they don’t take up too much space lest they’re rewarded with gas lighting and shaming. At worst, this leads to a twisted diade where the roles are reversed and the child becomes the care-giver while the parent becomes a leech, depleting the child’s reserves.
This rather tragic turn of events instils the unfounded value that in order to be loved, you need to be of use to those around you. It leaves you more susceptible to abusive relationships because firstly they will feel familiar and comfortable. Secondly, if your own parents couldn’t love you, why should anyone else?
The concept of having to earn love, then bleeds into sibling rivalry. Wednesday and Pugsley feel Pubert, the new baby, is more deserving of their parents’ love. When you have to earn your parents’ love, siblings are seen as rivals you must fight as opposed to brothers in arms.
Children who are not able to garner their parents’ love, in light of their siblings’ efforts, grow up lonely, lacking self-worth and feeling inadequate. More often than not, they exhibit deviant traits and behaviours in a bid to gain any acknowledgement. For example, Wednesday and Pugsley resort to trying to kill their brother Pubert.
Fester, an adult and the finished product of the family dysfunction, falls prey to a wily temptress Debby. Although she has ulterior motives, her plan hinges on Fester’s loneliness and desperate need for affection. Jealous of Gomez and Morticia, he falls into the clutches of someone who seeks only to manipulate and use him.
The sad reality is our greatest foes are those closest to us. More often than not, the wounds inflicted by our families are wounds they themselves were victims of. Yet like all generational curses, it takes one brave soul to break the chain and end the vicious cycle.
Re-parenting is a vital step on this journey. It is defined as catering to the needs of your inner child and being the parent you needed. Most notably, self-awareness and self-care are fundamental to re-parenting.
In essence, my message is simple. You could have grown up in the Addams, the Jetsons or the Flinstones but we all have childhood trauma. Instead of lamenting your woes, stand up and do something about it. No, don’t go into a homicidal rage and annihilate your family. Rather choose to improve yourself and create a brighter future for you, by you!
Stay sweet, parakeet.