Every family, as a group of intense interaction, creates a complex and deeply interwoven web of action and consequence. Many families have been together for hundreds of years, deepening and intensifying their suffering from life to life, and occasionally sacrificing for each other in beautiful ways.
Families share a common psychological link. Every family is designed by the cause and effect stream of each family member, who collectively have a strong psychological affinity. Although many families embrace their idiosyncrasy as “unique” or “special,” it is actually just karma, cause and effect. Thus we see families who are proud, arrogant, ashamed, or insensitive, lustful, addictive, intellectual, artistic, mechanically-oriented, etc.
In family karma, the roles often switch: it is common to return as one’s own grandchild. Usually, this is due to strong recurrence in the family. The cruel father is born as the child of his own child, in order to have done to him what he had done to others. If the new parent expresses his own resentment through brutality and cruelty, the cycle will invert and repeat again. Thus we can understand those families that are torn by murder, rape, and other horrible crimes.