Genogram - Narrative Essay Sample

Published: 2021-07-02
1211 words
5 pages
11 min to read
Harvey Mudd College
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A genogram as used in psychology a way to map out family relationship, and learn more about how family members interact with one another. Creating a genogram was not easy since I had to ask my mother a lot of questions about her family and this gave me the opportunity to discover certain things about our family which I had idea existed further the reason for the emergence of conflict. The conflict that I witnessed especially due to disagreements between family members all because of polygamy present in our home. Doing this genogram, I did not only become aware of the conflict but also the traits lineage that my family members share, which help me more to discover more about myself and explain certain things to me.

To complete this project, I informally interviewed my mother, aunt, and step- grandmother for most of the questions that I had to refer the genogram. I did this Ion these chosen members because they are the ones I know very well and interact with them on a regular basis. I talked to few people that want to tell me more about my family and the accomplishments my ancestors made. Originally, I was to include my Dads side of the household as well, but his father migrated from the Northern side half Mediterranean, Araba and settled down in West Africa from the Western Area Urban District Pujehun where my Dads grew up. My father relocated to Liberia when he was an adult. However, a majority of his family still lives in Pujehun. I have met few in his family side, and some am not close to with like my grandmother, aunt, and uncle, but for the most of I know my mothers side better, because almost everyone lives in West Africa, Sierra Leone.

When I was there, we interacted together occasionally while I was living with them and for that reason, I decided to focus the genogram on the Dixon side instead of the Kromah side. While marking this genogram, it becomes more apparent that the central conflict exists between the women in my family mainly, both of my grandmothers have problems, because they share everything and each of them has their house separately but in a big lot where two house can sit in and every property is shared equally. I believe that especially on my mothers side the women are more demanding and have a bigger say on everything because they are the first born in the family. After my grandfather had died (1929- 1979) the conflicts escalated especially between my grandmother and step grandmothers sibling about frivolous things probably stemming from the issue that caused the loss of my grandfather. After a couple of years, my grandmothers traveled to the United States to visit my mother who gave birth to the two of my siblings. She stayed for couple years and before getting and in the end resulting in her death. She was born on 1936 and passed on in 2002.

These conflicts have created a lot of tension within the family, especially because my aunt Mary and Patrica cared about my grandmother a lot and wished to have a relationship with her again. But my late grandmother, being a tough woman while she was alive had made up her mind, and for that reason, she has no desire to make peace. Marking this genogram made me think a little bit more about these issues and also get mad at both sides for letting these arguments affect their relationship so much. I understand that two women getting married to one man are difficult because children sometimes create unnecessary problems which can lead from one problem to another make it extremely hard to make peace amongst family members. I think that my late grandfather did not have the time to step into this women drama hence the increase in conflict after his death. If both women were on the same page, I do not think it will be that bad, but then again, the children they give birth can bring problems too so that it can go both ways. I know this because of the unique personalities trait each person possesses thus ending these arguments is not a simple task.

Although the genogram does not necessary show the characteristics the family has, I think the conflict lines tells a lot about these people's behavior towards each other. The field theory of personality can be described as an approach to the character. It suggests that behavior is determined by complex interactions among a person's internal psychological structure, to forces of the external environment, and the structural relationships between the individual and the environment which it does make sense in the way they group and the environmental structure can cause create issues between family (Lewin 2013). I thought about how each family member is displayed in the theory of behavior approach, and I noticed that everyone is similar but different in a way. In my family, if there is a disagreement, it will have brought up in a family meeting where everyone is present. This side of my family would rather argue their own though a conflict to be done with it than keep fighting and not talking to each other for an extended period. My late grandmother is the only exception to this, she dealt with the conflict as they arise, but will continue to hold a grudge after the conflict has been settled and the aggrieved parties reach an understanding. I believe that my grandmother and I have a similar way of dealing with problems, maybe that is why we get along so well. Aside from the traits that shape the way my family behaves, I think there is also an expectation that exists for everyone in my family to value and pursue higher education. My grandfather was the commissioner of the police department, and the love of officers has always been something everyone in my family has found inspiring. My parents have also taught us the value of education and have made a real education possible for my siblings and me. Albert Banduras theory of self-efficacy, or the learned expectation of success states that we act based on our perceptions about success (Bandura 2011). This approach applies to my familys views on education. My parents went to college because they learned that education is a way to become successful and have transferred these views to their children, shaping us to believe that earning an education is a way to be successful. Although I did not incorporate these specific traits and beliefs in the real genogram, making it helped me to realize that these ideas have shaped my familys viewpoints on many things. By outlining the specific relationships that people in my family have, it helped me to realize traits that I share with my family. It made me sad to see the relationships that have fallen apart, but I know the stubbornness that everyone shares are the main reason behind it. Outlining the traits my family shares by making a genogram was an interesting way to learn more about them and myself.


Bandura, Albert. "On the Functional Properties of Perceived Self-Efficacy Revisited." Journal of Management (2011): 0149206311410606.

Lewin, Kurt. A Dynamic Theory of personality-Selected papers. Read Books Ltd, 2013.

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