Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How Goes The Battle?

I found this in an article on military families in relation to child abuse statistics, but it sounded equally applicable to some missionary families - not in the category of abuse but in another area:

Geographic Mobility and Isolation

The frequency of moves has a significant effect on the family and the personality of its members. They may develop a sense of restless transiency and superficial relationships with a tendency to avoid deeply felt extrafamilial attachments to lessen the hurt of separation. Furthermore, frequent moves disrupt ties to the extended family structure. This requires increased dependency on the nuclear family which itself is often confronted with periodic splitting because of temporary assignments and isolated tours of the father. Sorokin (1959) noted a definite relationship between pathology, alienation, and geographic mobility. Other studies (Gabower,l960; Hi11,1958; Pedersen and Sullivan,1964) also imply a detrimental effect of mobility. [Emphasis added].

Hm. Y'think this might shed any light on someone's fear of intimacy or commitment?

Of course, since this was just a study, there were no helpful tips on how to overcome any negative effects of the geographic mobility and/or isolation, but this is just a point along the path.


Lynn said...

"Y'think this might shed any light on someone's fear of intimacy or commitment?"

It certainly could. If the family in question was not abusive, the main element could be the soldier/parent not seeming reliable to the small child. That can teach a little one to expect abandonment and grow up afraid to make connections. If the more permanent caretaker was emotionally available and reliable for the child, that would help the child quite a bit.

If the family in question had child abuse issues in the home, they would not have some of the societal pressures to keep things in check and even greater damage could be done to the child.

I was an Army brat. However, in my case, I don't think that in itself damaged me. I do think the damage done was worse and easier for my family to hide because of the isolation factor.

lawyerchik said...

Thanks, Lynn. I've thought about this issue for a while, given that my family moved around so much as we went from the U.S. to Argentina to Brazil to Venezuela back to the U.S., and then moves all over the country as my dad worked on his education.

My parents were both from fairly geographically stable families, so they had the foundation of a degree of permanence when they were growing up, but it always bothered me that they never saw the value of that kind of life for their kids.

It's funny that both my sister and I are single, and I think it has as much to do with the fact that we both were old enough to know what we were missing by the time we left. My sister went into the Army, and I went to law school - she chose the transiency of military life, and I chose the ostensible stability of a "profession." Hm. Go figure, huh? :)

My brothers are both married, but they both married women whose families are still living in the same communities where my sisters-in-law grew up, which I think is kind of nice.

And you're right - when the family is never in the same place for very long, it makes it easier for abuse to occur because by the time the family moves again, they may not even have gotten out of the "getting to know you" phase - there is little time in which to develop bonds of trust that what you tell people will be taken seriously.

Interesting stuff.....