Instructions: Read the scenario given below and answer the subsequent questions.
The alarm rang at 6:00 AM. Carol’s mother shouted, “Carol, do as I say and get out of bed. You never get up on time and you are always late for everything!” Carol pulled herself out from under the covers and mumbled to herself, “You are such a nag and a liar!”
As she dragged herself to the bathroom, her older brother Jim was also on his way into it. He shouted, “Get out of my way—you always hog the bathroom and I’m sick of you.” Carol decided not to try to fight with her brother but rather go downstairs to get some breakfast.
Her father was already at the kitchen table drinking his coffee. He said, “Carol, I hope you are not planning to skip breakfast. You know you will only pig out at lunch and dinner, and you are already too fat.” Carol sat down and ate her cereal in silence.
When she saw her brother race down from the bathroom, she left the table to go upstairs. On the way, she tripped on a stair, which caused her to moan in pain. She could hear her brother say to her father, “What a clumsy fool she is.” Her father said nothing in response to the remarks.
By now it was all Carol could do to get herself ready for the day. She looked at herself in the bathroom mirror and sighed with dissatisfaction at her looks. She felt ugly, fat, sloppy, and worthless.
As she left the house to catch the bus for school, she ran into a classmate, Sara. Carol tried to tell Sara about how she was feeling about herself. Sara laughed and replied, “Oh Carol, don’t be so hung up on yourself. You overreact to everything.”
The school bell rang and Carol managed to get herself to her first-period English class. When the teacher saw her, she called Carol to her desk. In front of the class she told her she received the lowest grade on a grammar test last week. She stated, “What is wrong with you, Carol? I know you are lazy and are not studying. I had your brother two years ago and his grades were never like this.” Carol shrugged and walked back to her seat.
That afternoon Carol was found sitting behind the high school building unconscious from an overdose of barbiturate pills. Her family, friends, and teachers couldn’t understand how a girl who had “everything” could do such a thing to herself.
1.How did each person who interacted with Carol communicate in ways that negatively affected her self-worth? Mother? Father? Brother? Teacher? Friend?
2. According to symbolic interaction theory, how did the family contribute to Carol’s self-concept?
3. Which negative family power behaviors were used toward Carol?
4. Did Carol deny or confront conflict? What behaviors did Carol display to support your answer?
5. What did the people in Carol’s life fail to do for her in their communications that would have built up her self-worth instead of tear it down?