Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Leigh A. Ford

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Wong

Third Advisor

Dr. Autumn Edwards

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


This study explored the renegotiation of family relationships in the ambiguous context of divorce. Specifically, a subsystem of my siblings was used as a unit for analysis in evaluating the way narratives contribute to the understanding of communicative processes in a postmarital family system. In particular, I was interested in the shared sensemaking among my siblings, and the creation of a concurrent shadow reality through interaction. This study focused on the analysis of shadow realities and the systemic management of postmarital transitioning through sibling interactions influenced by family relationships and experiences of uncertainty. In writing this autoethnography, I identified the ways in which a shadow reality influenced interactions in my family and the ensuing family identity shared by its members. This autoethnographic analysis allowed me to make a conceptual connection between the transitions following divorce, the desire for communicating a shared reality, and the subconscious formation of an underlying shadow reality that influenced not only my sibling relationships, but also my identity. This study demonstrated how new knowledge can emerge from awareness as a family system continues to transform through interaction.

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