Family

Sylvie Angel: "Narcissism undermines families"

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Today, in the name of individual happiness, we separate, we recompose, we divorce ... What is this new family that excludes all sharing? asks Sylvie Angel, therapist, in "Ah, what a family! "The opportunity to meet her.

Interview by Isabelle Taubes

Psychologies: Since your practice, have you noticed any significant changes in the demands of families?

Sylvie Angel: Of course. When I started, my waiting room was filled with women, mothers. Today, men are almost as numerous to consult, to wonder about their roles as husbands and fathers. I also see an evolution of the themes of concern: parents, anxious about unemployment and exclusion, are obsessed with the school results of children. But it is especially the formulation of the desires of the individuals which has changed: it is "I" above all - "I must blossom, I must build my life". Parents claim as a supreme right moments of pause, without "kids". This narcissistic requirement worries me because it tends to exclude sharing and exchange in families.

What are the effects of this narcissism?

Separations are decided impulsively and often unilaterally, without the partners realizing that a real dialogue might allow them to break their dead ends. Twenty years ago, patients consulted to take stock after a breakup. Today, many come when they are in their second or third couple, caught in a process of repetition they are not even aware of. Divorces and family breakdowns continue to be traumatic for both children and adults. Even if one has chosen separation, four or five years are needed to recover. Without wanting to play the moralists, I think it is essential to think for a long time before separating. It will not necessarily be better after, but it is never better if you do not wonder about yourself, about the reasons for the breakup.

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