A couple of days ago I wrote a post on dysfunctional family behaviors. Today I want to expound on family rules in a dysfunctional family.
There are always family rules in a dysfunctional family regardless if they are spoken or not. They just are. There is an underlying current of what to do and what not to do. Usually no words are required to pass these rules along.
It’s weird how this works, rules being passed down from generation to generation, without the knowledge of anyone. And typically when one person is from a dysfunctional family, their unconscious shame-based radar is at work when picking a partner and they are able to pick up on another shame-based person from their own dysfunctional family; two products of dysfunctional families joining together to make another dysfunctional family unit with their own unique family system of dysfunction combined.
What a pretty picture that conjures up!
Is it any wonder our society is so messed up? Is it such a surprise that so many marriages fail, and so much abuse takes place in our culture?
There are typically (unspoken) rules in a dysfunctional family, and most members of a dysfunctional family are shame-based in their beliefs about themselves, though they are unaware of this belief system or it’s origins.
The shame based family rules consist of rules about celebrating and socializing; rules about touching and sexuality; rules about sickness and health, rules about vacations and jobs or working; rules about household things and money issues. The most important rules are about feelings, parenting and communication, or lack thereof.
Toxic shame, the base of the belief system in a dysfunctional family, is successfully transferred from generation to generation by means of shaming rules. No one is conscious of these rules, or even that the rules are riddled with shame. It just is what it is and is accepted as such. It’s generally not until the kids are grown and gone that they begin to question the rules and the way the family related or conducted the business of living.
Many of us remain unaware of the rules in our families of origin and the roles we played. Oftentimes it takes a traumatic event or situation for us to begin to question these things and start the journey of getting out of the cycle with hopes of a better way to live.
And those are the lucky ones.
It’s all too common and far too easy to stay in the comfort zone of the familiar.
Come back tomorrow for the rules and roles of a dysfunctional family.