Mystification in Families
Name of Concept
Cognitive binding; Communication deviance; Disconfirmation; Double-bind (see distinctions in “Description”); Fusion; Pseudo-mutuality
The practice and experience of mystification is a process by which a member of a family system exerts significant influence over another, functionally defining that individual’s sense of identity, his or her understanding and experience of emotional and cognitive states, and sense of reality in order to serve his/her own need.
Theoretical Context for the Concept
Psychiatrist and early family theorist R.D. Laing is credited with coining the term “mystification,” borrowing it from a concept originally conceived as a macro-sociopolitical concept by Karl Marx in 1867. Marx used the term to describe the obfuscation used by upper socioeconomic classes to suppress lower classes. Narratives originated by the power class meant to perpetuate the myth that their mistreatment and disempowerment was in fact charity...
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