How to Overcome the Effects of a Dysfunctional Family


There are many who live or have lived in a dysfunctional family; myself included and often it is hard to shrug off the after effects of living with this kind of emotional disturbance and control. However, there are some who don’t feel that they have been harmed from living in this kind of home environment and if that is true for you, then I totally understand. But, for some there are negative consequences that can affect a person long after they have left that home environment.

But first, what are the characteristics of a dysfunctional family? To be clear, there are several basic characteristics of a family in crisis such as: addiction, control, fear, unpredictability, conflict, physical or emotional abuse, neglect, unrealistic expectations-making family members feel that they have to be perfect, lack of communication and lack of understanding and appreciating the differences of family members.

If any of the above characteristics occurred or are occurring in your family, then you know what I mean when I say that you may need help and guidance to overcome this kind of lifestyle. I know that even though it has been decades growing up in this kind of environment; I still have fears and anxieties every time I think about those experiences and sometimes those memories hinder my life such as being fearful that I won’t live up to someone’s expectations of me or others being critical of what I do.

However, I am finding ways to deal with the consequences that came from this experience such as taking good care of yourself. Studies have shown that those who come from this environment, often have an exaggerated sense of responsibility and often work too hard and don’t take care of themselves. Identify areas that you really enjoy and then allow yourself to do at least one of those pleasurable actions at least once a week or once a day. Try balancing your work with things you enjoy doing. In other words, allow yourself to be happy and to enjoy some time off.

Another thing that will help is to not get involved with your family’s problems. Understand that you can change yourself but you cannot change your family. Stay focused on doing what you think is right for you and limit your time with your former family as much as possible.

In addition, use caution when making new friends and getting involved sexually with others. Keep in mind, that trust must be earned and that means using caution when getting involved with others. In the back of your mind, be judicious when developing relationships and always remember that you don’t have to be perfect in order to be loved or accepted by others. Of course, the same can be true when evaluating others but caution should always be use; especially for those you don’t know well. Always remember that you are in control of who you want to trust, who you feel safe with and who you want to be intimate with. Such feelings should come from you and not your dysfunctional family.

Keep in mind, too, that some studies have also shown that a lack of education and having no religious beliefs; can add negative factors to a family’s lifestyle and cause emotional trauma to family members

To conclude, living in a family that is scattered and unpredictable can be emotionally draining and traumatic; however, you can overcome the problems that can come from such an environment by changing your behavior, distancing yourself from your family, allowing yourself to be happy and explore areas of life that you are interested in and by being in control of who and what you trust in life.


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