The 3HO Dysfunctional Family - How I Figured It Out

Pit of Rage, Keeping Up, Talking about Mom and Dad's Problem


Pit of Rage

There is nothing more shocking in 3HO [the Assembly] (especially to other co-dependents) than watching some formerly model 3Hoer [saint] access their rage. You start to hear rumors, "So and so is negative." [They are struggling, they are bitter, they have been divisive] and you know that this person is on her or his way out of the dharma [fellowship]. Meanwhile we make every effort to avoid this person because we fear that "negativity" [divisiveness, sin, or bitterness] is contagious.

Many people in 3HO [Assembly] have spent years being good Sikhs [saints or Christians], or at least trying very hard to be good Sikhs [saints or Christians]. They have sacrificed, they have served, and they have done the practice to the best of their abilities. I actually know 3Hoers [saints] who have never had a marital dispute because they have called in Yogi Bhajan [George or Betty Geftakys or a leading brother]to mediate every conflict.

Though most of us haven't gone to such extremes, we have all put 3HO [the Assembly] first; freely letting Yogi Bhajan [George Geftakys or Betty Geftakys or both of them via the leading brothers and workers] dictate our diets, our sex lives, our clothes, our choice of partners, our children and our livelihoods. [That is the story of my life and I have seen it be the story of so many lives around me as I grew up.]

For most heroes and co-dependent [the leading brothers, workers, and Betty Geftakys] there eventually comes a day when they simply get tired. Having given of themselves so much over the years, they come to realize that they gave away everything and they are no longer who they want to be. All the dogma, philosophy, as wells as the lies and fantasies, turn to dust in their mouths.

For co-dependents [the leading brothers, workers, and Betty Geftakys] the burden of keeping everything under control, the burden of constantly soothing and serving the addict(s) in their lives and for some, the growing guilt over the less-than-righteous means that they may have employed to manipulate others, becomes just too heavy a burden to carry anymore. Instead of feeling liberated, they begin to feel used, conned and betrayed and these feelings access their rage.

It is this dynamic that we see when we watch former pillars of 3HO [Assembly] become, seemingly overnight, enemies of 3HO. [Steve and Margaret Irons, Tom Maddux, the Mathias's, Kevin Healy, the Gariseks, Kirk and Linda C., Brent and Suzie T., the list goes on and on.] Whether we like it or not, feel comfortable with it or not, 3HO [the Assembly] has many heroes and co-dependents [the leading brothers, workers, and Betty Geftakys] in its ranks and when they begin to awaken to reality and heal, the covert rage within them is going to become overt rage. So hang on--it is going to be a bumpy ride.

Keeping Up

Though grief and rage are both very painful emotions and can be equally destructive and redemptive, the main emotional taboo within a dysfunction family or organization is expressing rage. This is not so surprising when we observe that raging people usually break not just the taboo against being angry, but every other one on our list as well, and they do it loudly.

It is just too much for the family or organization to handle the role change, the demanding questions, and the threat to the addict/co-dependent bond, all at once. So angry people in 3HO [Assembly] get shunned. [How often have you avoided a person even before they left "fellowship" because of the negative comments about them as they began to question and stand against abuses]

Addicts and scapegoats getting in touch with their grief usually get shamed and ridiculed instead and they disappear too, going off to tend their wounds. [Remember the addicts and scapegoats usually have rage, not grief, so when they access their grief it has the same effect as the heroes and co-dependants accessing their rage.]

Talking About Mom and Dad's Problem

One evening when I was about twelve or thirteen, I announced at the dinner table that I had figured out how we should solve the family problems that were tearing us apart.

"Mom should stop drinking, Dad should stop smoking and we all should enter therapy!" I exclaimed with all the enthusiasm of a kid who has pondered long and hard over a brainteaser and who has had the ANSWER come in the middle of the night on the back of a bolt of lightening.

Needless, to say, my great revelation bombed with my family, or maybe I should say that it bombed my family--starting a full scale war rather than providing a healing solution. I had, of course, broken the most threatening and highly defended against taboo in a dysfunctional family--don't talk about Mom and Dad's problem. Or worded a bit differently- Keep It Secret!

Breaking this taboo is in theory very easy. All you need to do is tell the truth, or like we Sikhs like to say, SAT NAM! [Or, as we saints like to say, "Walk in the light."] When we decide not to tell the truth, however, (a decision that we all make daily for many different reasons, some righteous, some not) we enter the twilight zone of secrets.

[Read Brent T.'s article about the Code of Silence for an in-depth treatment of this don't-talk principle.]


Next: 3HO - Denial 


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