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Wynne and his colleagues used these concepts to describe miscarried solutions to the human problem of striving both for relatedness and for identity. The predominant absorption in pseudomutual/pseudohostile relationships is to fit together (binding) at the expense of self/object differentiation of the identities (individuation) of the persons in the relationship. Pseudomutuality and pseudohostility are family myths, sustained by patterns of behavior, that deviation from fixed expectations is dangerous. The shared dread and avoidance of intrafamilial conflict or separation generates the façade of harmony of pseudomutuality; the fear of intimacy and closeness generates the persistent bickering (without genuine separation) of pseudohostility.

Definition extracted with permission from Simon, Fritz, et al, Family Process, Inc.: Language of Family Therapy: A Systemic Vocabulary and Source Book (Family Process Press Series)