Defining a “happy” family is not that simple. A family who is happy 75% of the time? Nobody is happy all the time. Is a happy family one without conflict? I don’t think that exists either. Minimal conflict?
I can’t tell you how many people have come to my office with a description of their “perfect” family or their “ideal” childhood. It never takes very long for obvious holes appear in this fantasy.
One of the most blatant contradictions I recall is:
“I had the perfect childhood. My mother beat my ass everyday.”
The point is, “happy” doesn’t describe the complexity of a family or childhood experience. Someone might seemingly have many positives in their life, and also experience some significant dysfunction.
Depression is also multi-determined, meaning it is determined by multiple factors, with the immediate family being a major one.
Some others are:
- Temperament / emotional disposition
- Goodness of fit between caretakers and child
- Relationship dynamic between siblings
- Extended family relationships
- Societal factors
- Societal racism and prejudice
- Religious beliefs
- Financial factors
- Physical health
So while a family might seem generally happy, there is always room for things to be amiss, and certainly the potential for depression.
To find out more about my services click here: Therapy for Depression