“This is us” – Analysis of a family history

I am watching a TV show called “This is us”. The story shows the life of a family, from the couple’s young years up until its older days. Each episode shows both scenes from the past and present time. Both scenes bring up the feelings related to the ocurring situation as well as how those imprintings affect their soul, memories, behavior, choices, and ways in their adulthood.

How is this family? Rebeca, the wife, intends to become a singer. Jack, the husband, intends to have a good family, be a good husband and father. They had triplets 2 boys and a girl, but one of them did not survive. On the same day they were born, a black baby was abandoned at the hospital. They adopted this baby and called it Randal, and the other two Kevin and Kate. They call them The big three.

Well, the story is about the personal memories of those characters and the feelings about the family’s relationship. The first episode begins with the 36th birthday of the kids. Although Randal is not their biological brother, the three have the typical relationship of twins: close bond, keen awareness of one another, similar soul sensations and a close relationship. The memories and feelings come up to each of them whenever a sensation related to a childhood’s experience emerges.

In the extent to which the story develops we can clearly see how emotions are atemporal; the way our childhood experiences mark our soul; how we get stuck in them, most of the time without even knowing or realizing it; how they bring us pain, suffering and difficulty in our adulthood’s relationships.

The characters Rebeca and Jack, the parents, develop their memories about their own childhood, just like the triplets do. Also, we can clearly see the reactions and behaviors developed from these “prisons”. This is the plot of the story, but it also addresses transversal subjects such as: the kids trying to be perfect to their parents, binge eating disorder, alcoholism, sexuality, unresolved mourning, profound influence of the father in their lives, in their choices (Jack died when they were 17), love and affectivity, conflicts, ethics, family and social relationship, family values and challenges of life.
In a psychological view over this family, we can realize that they wish the kids would be perfect and more united; that is why the nickname “the big three” that refers to it. Whenever one of the kids has a problem, he or she asks the other for help, even as adults. Spouses and others often remain as second plan by the request of one of the siblings. They have different inner conflicts.

The way that each of them deal with their repressed emotions affects their behavior, their bodies, and relationships. Jack was a hard-working man, provider and loving to his wife and kids. He had a strong presence in the family. Jack’s father was an alcoholic and always disqualified him. Since childhood we could see his caring sense; first over his brother, later with the family. Rebecca’s father disapproves of the marriage because he was poor and without perspective of giving a good life to his “princess”. They were married for 22 years. Rebecca was a singer and intended to follow this career when she met Jack. She is also strong, protective of their kids and follows everything that is going on with them. Jack and Rebecca are loving and respectful to each other. Kate was a chubby girl who took refuge in food. After her dad’s death she increasingly began to eat, got obese and with inferiority complex because she blames herself for her father’s death. Kevin was a kid that had no limits in some behaviors. He developed a seductive way to get what he wanted to have pleasure. This behavior triggered an early sexuality and an irresponsible behavior of his relationships. He has an insatiable quest for self-assertion, to be recognized and to be admired. He was constantly looking for fame and seducing women. He could not keep a stable relationship like his parents did. Randall developed breathing disorder when he could not do something perfectly or did something wrong. Jack constantly says that he was special, smart and important. He plans all things, schedules his tasks and wishes to change the world. He is afraid of failing.

As they deal with repressed feelings, their behavior changes and they begin to cope better with situations. The body does not delete the records, it just transforms them. The memories are ghosts that roam alive within the soul. They seek exits to their ghosts but as they cannot find a gateway, they end up becoming symptoms.

Our emotional memories are in our body, distributed in our cells, tissues, muscles and viscera. The brain named the emotions and gave us their names but the emotion’s energy walks in our body. William Reich, father of body psychotherapy, shows us where they are, where they manifest themselves. He divided the body in 7 segments, each emotion and all organs group, tissues in functional contacts. In his perspective, the soma influences the psyche, just as the psyche conditions the soma. Psyche and soma are a functional unit, and they need to be in energetic balance for real health. In each segment all tissues and organs are involved.

The segments are:

Eye segment – eyes, ear and nose
Emotion – Alarm, fear, panic

Oral segment – mouth
Emotion – dependence, disgusted, angry, aggressiveness

Cervical segment – neck
Emotion – fear of falling, of dying, control, proud

Thoracic segment – thorax
Emotion – sadness, nostalgia, anger, anguish, love-hate

Diaphragmatic segment – diaphragm
Emotion – anxiety, hostility, serenity

Abdominal segment – abdomen
Emotion – cholera, pain, despair

Pelvic segment – pelvis
Emotion – excitement, pleasure, potence, moralism, destructiveness

Returning to the psychological look of this family, we can see feelings in each of them with dysfunctional behaviors, unresolved pains, some secrets between them that appears in the means of anger, anxiety, compulsions, fear, panic, control and struggles in their relationships. As each one of them work on their pains, their functioning becomes lighter and healthier. It is important to recognize our feelings, pains and our behaviors to cover the pain. Just like that the ghost goes out.

Léa Marcondes

Terapeuta especialista em Transição Cultural. Ajuda pessoas e famílias a se prepararem emocionalmente para uma mudança de país, ajustando o seu projeto de vida aos novos desafios. Também as acompanha para que enfrentem de forma mais saudável as adaptações na nova cultura, evitando que fiquem confusas, perdidas ou em depressão neste momento tão importante de suas vidas.

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