The Communication of Emotion in Families

Authored by: Julie Fitness

The Routledge Handbook of Family Communication

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415881982
eBook ISBN: 9780203848166
Adobe ISBN: 9781136946370


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The family is the fundamental social group to which humans belong from birth, and it plays a critical role in shaping who we are and how we live, and love, throughout the course of our lives. If we are fortunate, our family provides emotional sustenance and support, a “haven in a heartless world.” For those less fortunate, the family may be a crucible of painful emotions that drive family members to suicide, homicide, or at least, permanent estrangement from one another. For most of us, family life is constituted by a rich and complex array of feelings and emotions, including love, pride, anger, and even at times, hate; it can be the source of our greatest joys and sorrows. Every family member is a potentially powerful source of emotion for every other family member, and every family member's expression of emotion has a more or less powerful impact on other family members. Emotions, then, are the currency of family relationships, imbuing them with meaning and importance.

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