What is the Family?

Kate in a Corner

Leo Tolstoy opened his novel Anna Karenina with the now-famous line: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” a statement that rings true in the light of those who struggle with both predictable and unpredictable stressors.   While it is true that unhappiness is a unique experience for each family, pain is the great equalizer.  All families hurt.  How they hurt is the distinctive chord, but knowing how to respond to that hurt is what will help unhappy families to remain family to one another.

From the work of Cynthia A. Lietz (2011), who explored the role of empathy in resilient families, it can be determined that every family copes with difficulties, but the resilient ones are those which find happiness.

Happiness comes from the ability to live a meaningful life, and meaning is applied based on the level of empathy attributed to…

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