Placeholder for audio
PSP families play an important role in the work of the PSP. Family members are often involved in the organization in some way and also take part in supporting the PSP outside of work. However, PSP families may feel some tension with that role as they try to take care of their own needs and wellbeing.
This tension can be ambivalence. Ambivalent feelings are contradictory feelings. Mixed emotions of pride, confusion, and uncertainty are other ways to describe ambivalence. For example, a spouse or significant other (SSO) or child may feel proud that a family member is a police officer and, at the same time, have negative feelings about that role.
Ambivalence can surface at different times over the course of a career, for different reasons, and with different intensities. PSP might be absent from an important family event due to the job, a commitment to the organization might take precedence over family responsibilities, or the PSP is unexpectedly called in for overtime. These types of disruptions can lead to feelings of ambivalence.
Being a part of a public safety organization often means that those within it are expected to behave in particular ways, enact particular roles, and support the organization’s values and practices. Loyalty to the organization can be experienced as a way of life for PSP families which can be a source of pride but also comes with pressure and expectations. When loyalty is forced, it is not always celebrated which can lead to feelings of ambivalence.
Ambivalence can also be experienced by PSP families when they are confronted with negative public perceptions. They can feel pride, and at the same time feel frustration or embarrassment if there are negative reports about a particular PSP sector in the media.