The nearly normal family is not without flaws. But it has made it through all of Erickson’s stages of life with most family members supported and happy. But then the proverbial ax descends and they can be knocked off balance. The losses sustained when older family members decline and need the care of their midlife children is similar to a decapitation’.
In cases in which care giving take up huge blocks of family members’ time, a nearly normal family member can crumble under the pressure exerted on other parts of their lives.
Sometimes this takes the form of the sandwich generation syndrome- – with midlife adult children squeezed by elderly parents on one end while the needs of their children crush them on the other.
What’s more, significant family relationships are disrupted through the illness of an aging parent. For example, if a parent crisis occurs, such as the emergency hospitalization in a distant city, siblings in a nearly normal family can be shaken to the core.