Today I want to talk about the dysfunctional family. Don’t worry, all families have some dysfunction. No family is totally healthy or unhealthy. “Dysfunctional” is such a buzz word and has been for quite a few years. What is a dysfunctional family?
Dysfunctional family behaviors can happen because of any condition that interferes with a healthy way of relating. Oftentimes the dysfunction happens because of a life-event such as a death or long-term illness. Roles become mixed up and often reversed during these difficult times, but a healthy family tends to return to normal functionality after the situation has had time to be processed and grieved properly. In a dysfunctional family, however, problems are chronic and children do not get their needs met on a consistent basis. Negative parenting habits become the norm and that’s where many problems begin.
Problems and circumstances like alcoholism, mental illness, child abuse or neglect or rigid family rules can effect children long after they are grown and have children of their own. It’s not about finding fault assigning blame, but simply to discover, acknowledge, validate and educate so that family dysfunction won’t continue in future generations.
What goes wrong to cause a family to become dysfunctional? Oftentimes it is because of deficient parenting, where the hurt done to children is more by omission than commission. Due to circumstance out of our control, or by an addiction of any kind, the child steps into the role of adult and takes on more responsibility than they can emotionally or physically handle. They do handle them of course, more often than most people know, because the human spirit is very resilient, however, this leaves the adult child of whatever the cause, in a very unfulfilled and empty life, void of true intimacy in most, if not all, relationships they attempt to have.
But don’t despair! There is hope for the person who grew up in dysfunctional family behavior patterns. It usually takes a lot of work, with the help of professionals and a good support team, but with a gratitude for all experiences incurred, and the desire to live a healthier life, the possibilities are endless.
Dysfunctional family systems is very complex. I’ve just barely scratched the surface with this post. Keep coming back to learn more about dysfunctional family behaviors and healthier ways to live.