Post 12…January 2023…The Dysfunctional Family

Thursday, January 12, 2023

I want to say this first off…dysfunctional families have been around since Adam and Eve.  They never stopped and all families have quirks to them. 

However, there are some pretty normal families out there.  What is normal anyway?  In whose opinion is it normal? 

We all want to have a “normal family”, but again, by whose definition of normal?

The ones close to being a normal functional family have a lot of love to give and feel secure in that family.  However, the dysfunctional family has so much going on most times they are unhappy and many don’t even know why or what is going on.  So let’s discuss some of this today.

What about you thinking that you are a normal family, but is it possible that you are blind because things are just a little off or different?  Do you deny the truth as to what is going on in your family, but sometimes you just can’t point to something specific? 

So, let’s discuss some things that might tell you that something is going on in your family.

Are your parents happy and content with each other?  Do they work on their marriage or just exist together?  Do they do things together and make things fun or go somewhere and ignore each other?  Do they even like each other? 

When parents are unhappy with each other, self, and what is going on in their life…do they take it out on everyone else by being in a “grumpy” mood a lot of the time?  Do they place blame for everything on someone else and trash each other even in subtle ways? Do your parents try to draw you into their drama?  Do parents try to get you to take “their” side? 

Do your parents try to guilt trip you and blame you somehow because you were born and if it weren’t for you things would be a lot better?  Do they ever say that if it weren’t for you that they could go places, and have things?  Much guilt forms here in this one.

What about at mealtimes?  Do you communicate and talk about each person’s day and what is important in each of your days and life?  Is there a lot of frustration going on at mealtime…anger, criticism, name-calling, and a myriad of other topics that hover over that meal?

What about the awkward time’s people just don’t talk?  Uncomfortable, isn’t it?  Silence is not always golden! Nothing gets fixed when no one talks about what is going on.

What about the small talk?  Maybe you talk about the big issues of the day, but not about the little things in your life that you need to talk about.  Do you, yourself, want distractions so that you don’t have to discuss things?

What about holidays and birthdays etc.?  Are they fun or do you dread them coming for you know that misery will be there?  Are you disappointed when the family all gets together…even if they do?

What about family pictures being taken?  Are the pictures real and wanted…or do you just dread the fake pictures?  Is picture time awkward?  What do pictures represent in your mind to you?  Family fun or family dread?

What about doing things for others in your family?  Do you do it with a good heart and intentions expecting nothing in return, or do you do something because you feel obligated to do something? 

What about when you have to introduce your family to someone?  Do you do it proudly or feel like you just want to hide?

What about a family who always makes you feel intimidated?  They invalidate what is important to you while making themselves even look good. They don’t mind hurting your feelings or making you cry even…because they want to be the center of attention even at the cost of you and your feelings? Do they want you to feel like it is you that is the problem and that you are just downright ungrateful?

What about if you are having mental issues such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression and the like…do they make you feel like something is wrong with you, or make you feel like why can’t you be like so and so?  Instead of trying to get help for a loved one all they do is try to shame you and make you feel guilty.

What about them demanding you respect them and what they want while all they do is disrespect you?  They want to control even your feelings/emotions and use just about any line to get you to. 

What about the parent is just down-right overbearing?  They just want to give orders and even watch a child squirm to keep them in line in their view). 

What about them never wanting to hear your opinion/view on something but they want you to accept theirs even if theirs is wrong and could be proven wrong.  They just have to be right and you wrong? 

What about them being angry and having tantrums that are unreasonable?  They want you to feel guilty.  It is like you forgot something…then you must not love them or care for them, but if they forget something…it’s oh well.

What if you don’t like your family because of all the things they do, say, or the very way they treat you?  We all want to be loved and needed in life.  When one doesn’t feel they are loved or valuable in a family it hurts them deeply.  If these people were not your family would you want to be associated with them?

What about having a love-hate relationship with members of your family?  Maybe for a time things are going good and people seem to be getting along until…wham!  Something said or done causes it to start all over again,

What about even your own family who trashes you not only to others but to your own family?  This not only can be hurtful, but this is your family who are supposed to have your back.

What about being afraid of your own family.  You try to be a good person but they are not so nice, not so honest, and maybe something they do is not so legal either.  Maybe they are abusive physically if you don’t do what they want you to do.  Words hurt and words from those that should love us hurt even more.

What about parents who are anything but a parent in your life.  They don’t parent you.  They are not involved in your life, or give you time to help you, or even show up at school functions.  They just are never proud of anything you do.

What if they are addicted to something?  Can be drugs, alcohol, gambling, groups, or just about anything that keeps them from being good parents.  What caused them to do these things or act in this way? What are they trying to escape from?

What about them being an enabler?  Are they an enabler so that the dynamic continues?  Do they love you unconditionally or are there conditions if you want to feel loved?

What about the fact the family doesn’t laugh together, have fun together, do family things together, or when they do everyone feels miserable.

What about people just not being there for each other in the hard times, the fun times, or whatever the times are?  No one is a team player. 

What about role reversal?  This happens a lot. The child becomes the parent and the parent becomes the child.  The parent doesn’t look after your siblings, let’s say, you must take on that role, or cooking and cleaning while they do “whatever they do”.  They are irresponsible and because they are you are tossed into becoming an adult.

What if they want to keep you near them even if they treat you bad and put you down all the time.  They don’t want you to have a life so they do whatever they can to stop you from doing things you want to do to grow up and become a good human being.  What if they are really clingy?  They guilt you all the time just about everything. 

 about if they sabotage your relationships?  They don’t want to see you happy so they might plant seeds of doubt to the other person.  They really want you to break up but at the same time say they love you and want the best for you.

What about the time comes for you to leave home and grow up out there?  Maybe to you it’s an escape because of all that has gone on, or maybe it just to live without the drama.  Most likely they won’t like you to have freedom from them.

What about if you feel that somehow you must prove something to them.  Maybe you want to be something that means something to you but they diss that.  You want to show them that you can do it, become something good, and that you are valuable.  They don’t want to see that.  They want you to feel that you are not valuable and not able to make something of yourself.  Instead of helping you succeed they really don’t want you to. 

What if they show favoritism?  Sometimes parents really don’t think they are or even believe they are.  However, to others it is apparent and you can’t ever measure up

What about them demanding you give them your attention immediately?   Phone calls, come running, and texts.  Dropping whatever you are doing even if important to go take care of something from them.

What about them demanding your affection and attention?  They want to feel loved and needed but don’t want you to feel the same way   

What about them always making a promise (of any type) and they never keep them). Children’s trust and breaking promises is a big no-no.

What about when your opinion doesn’t line up with theirs and vice-versa?  In this day and age, there is a lot of this going on like to do with politicians, wokeness, gender stuff, masks, covid, abortions, homeless, the border,  elections, schools and what is taught there transgenders, gays, and the list goes on.  Everyone can have a different opinion on just about anything, but when yours is different than theirs is…they don’t want you to have your own opinion.  That doesn’t mean you are right or wrong.

What about not only their high expectation of you, but your high expectation of them as well.  You want them to be an involved parent that wants to be part of your life, go to school events, treat you well, care what you are doing.  They might expect you to excel in areas in your life that you just are not interested in. (sports, music, or whatever. 

What about no one respecting the privacy of the other?  Parents do have a right to know what you are doing, with whom you are doing it, whom you are talking to online and so on to protect you, but I am talking here about privacy in even the small things.  Maybe they are a person who constantly goes through your things, reads your texts, listen in on phone calls, and it can be so many other things. 

What about them having control issues?  They don’t want you to make any of your own decisions.  They want to make them for you.  They want to be in control of everything. 

What about keeping lots of secrets from you?  When you ask something about family or anything they just don’t tell you.  Maybe they will act upset when you ask about something they just don’t want to answer. Maybe you ask a question about where someone is or why don’t they come around any longer.

What about always feeling you are walking on eggshells and if you ask anything, say something, or do something there will be a pain to pay for it? 

What about someone suffering from codependency?  The person who dedicates all of their life to someone: spouse, kids, etc…but it is not healthy to do so.  It causes possessiveness and instability.  They depend on you so much for everything that it can destroy a relationship. 

What about when relatives or friends stop visiting and you have no idea why.  Others can see it but you don’t.  Maybe the person/s that used to come over saw something in your house or relationships, and they didn’t like what they saw, or maybe they confronted bad behavior within the home that should not be there. 

What about constantly feeling like you might become like your parent?  Some kids want to be good like a parent of theirs, while the person being abused doesn’t want to be anything like them.  Some children decide even young because of how they are treated that they never want to have kids.  They don’t want to have them and maybe go over the scenario that what if they end up like their own parent and/or treat their child the same.  What if they have a child/ren, and they don’t feel they can ever be a good parent because they really don’t know what a good parent looks like?

What about they are always getting offended if you express your own feelings?  In a dysfunctional family expressing any negative feelings shows discontent and outright hate.  They do not want to know how you feel and will be little you for having feelings they don’t like.  They will make you feel you are a horrible person and ungrateful for all they do for you. 

What if they make you feel like you are in a cult or some strange whatever you want to call it.  They act weird and you know something is wrong but you don’t know what to do about it. 

 What about envying other families that look like a good family, where they do things together and the other kids thrive and like being in that family?  You don’t know “real normal” but you see happy families and you just want yours to be like that. 

What about in your family no one wants to do good, be good, or change for the better.  No one is perfect but you just want to have a good and normal life where people can get along and enjoy one another and you never see that.  You have a lot of tension and stress in your family. 

What about always feeling like you are suffocating?  You want to spend time away from them because when you are home with them…things just are not right and you never know when you will cross that line in their view and they will go off on you.

What about you having to keep up appearances so others don’t find out what is going on in your life and in your home? 

What about just daily wishing that somehow someone would come along and rescue you and you would get to have a so-called normal childhood?

Some kids make it through life, even in a dysfunctional family pretty good, while others grow up and don’t know how to deal with life when they get away from that environment.  They lived in a toxic environment.  They lived through trauma and always hurting and not knowing how to fix their life or blaming themselves somehow for the treatment they got at home.    

Dysfunctional families can leave severe scars in the life of the child who lived there.  They take their pain out into the world and because they didn’t have a normal relationship at home…they don’t know what to do if a good relationship comes along.  Anything can set them off now where they feel the pain all over again. 

All kids want a family they feel loved and safe in.  A lot of kids never get that, and it is a shame.  They want to feel loved and when they don’t they can shut down inside and it change them greatly over time. 

I saw a stat that says that 8 out of 10 kids are living in some type of dysfunctional family environment.  I think it is more.  Since people can’t see into every family, they don’t see all the ways in which someone is living to know if there is even a small amount of dysfunction going on. 

Understanding the true meaning of what a dysfunctional family is is a great place for you to set off on this journey of discovering yourself. Being brought up in an unhealthy family environment is a tough reality to identify and acknowledge. However, remember to treat yourself with grace and kindness and get professional help if you need it.

Maybe when you read this you think that maybe you did have some/or even a lot of dysfunctions going on in your family.  Maybe only a couple of things pop out at you but inside yourself, you knew that something was just not right.  Why did this or that happen to you?  Why did you feel this or that way growing up. 

I do want to add this though.  Sometimes there was no dysfunction going on at all.  Maybe you didn’t get what you wanted so now you think that somehow that was because of dysfunction.  It might just have been that your parent or caregiver didn’t feel whatever it was you wanted was appropriate for you, couldn’t afford it, or it was not age appropriate.  You don’t have to keep up with others and have everything they might have.  Sometimes parents must say no, not now, maybe not ever if they see something you just can’t see. 

Most parents want their children to grow up and be the best they can be in life.  Maybe some push towards that but it is not always dysfunctional.  Children,  especially in this day and age, just want to grow up too fast, and they believe what they are fed at school, in the fake news, with their friends, and teachers that are not teaching but grooming..  They are being forced to say certain things are now ok that aren’t, and they are made to feel like even the color of their skin is a bad thing.  They are made to feel like their view (liberal view) is way more important than freedom of speech or another’s viewpoint.  They are told there is no God and people who believe in God are just bad people.  They are told that it is okay to rob, steal, cheat, commit fraud, cheat, lie, and just about anything else out there and if someone doesn’t agree with them…they are the bad person.  They are told that abortion is okay and it is their body…no, it is the child’s body.  If you don’t want a child…stop having sex…simple.  If you get pregnant and don’t want a child then give it up for adoption for there are thousands of people who can’t have a baby and would love that child. 

Life is not easy and yes, there are a lot of dysfunctions going on in the world.  Things that should never happen but do.  It really is tough getting through life.  Yet, we can make it through.  If you feel you were raised or are in a dysfunctional family even now, even if you are grown now and see that some of these things did happen.  I encourage you not only to pray about it, but to find some help so you can cope with whatever “it” was that did happen.  Sometimes people don’t even mean to act the way they did and don’t understand how deeply they hurt someone.  If you want you can get a good Christian counselor…not just anyone.  A group setting that deals with this, a pastor you can trust to talk to.  I have heard that people do not want to talk much to other relatives or even friends because they don’t know what that person/s will do with the information they share.  I have also found in my studies that people don’t keep a confidence especially if they get upset with you in some way or you have a falling away.  Some, at that point, use what they know to hurt you.  So, I encourage you, yes, to get help always…but be careful whom you share your pains with. 

Now, may God bless you, protect you, help heal you of whatever you did go through or are now going through that causes you pain.  May He give you insight into what you need to do and how to do it.  God loves you.  Give your situation to Him and pray and pray until you find the answer. 

God bless you