I mean no offence to anyone born into a dysfunctional family, but in my experience many of my clients are from such families and often carry many of the same attributes of dysfunction as a result.
Understanding the dynamics of dysfunctional families and their skewed relationships often is key to understanding where many of my clients are ” coming from” and why they may act somewhat unusual under stress.
Perhaps the most telling signal is that many adults from such dysfunction simply do not recognize ” what a normal household even is as their own frame of reference was not solid, loving and nurturing. This in itself may lead to unusual and even bizarre behaviour with the adult simply not able to stick to it and become productive and independent individuals.
The judgement of such individuals is often in extremes such as black and white or good or bad, with little of the grey that most functional people have. Poor self judgement and self criticiism of oneself can result.
Alcohol and drug addiction within dysfunctional families may lead to manipulation, lies and deceit with others. This learned behaviour simply masquerades and denies the broken promises and unpleasant realities of the home life.
Fun and frivolity are rare in the dysfunctional home. The norm is more akin to anger, hostility, competitiveness and possibly abuse. There is no spontaneity and little praise and the ” every person for him or hersel” is survival mode.
Intimacy in relationships with others is very difficult if near impossible without extensive counselling and learning to trust others, especially loved ones. Insecurity and fear of trusting is a common problem for most people but it is exacerbated in dysfunctional scenarios. This all leads to confusing messages to a child about love when it is expressed in a ” go away and leave me alone ” manner. The child may continue to seek love and approval throughout life, but never really attaining it as one relationship after another is left in tatters.
The products of dysfunctional families often sense that they are not normal and do not fit in, often simply because they were not allowed to enjoy their childhood and perceive it as a positive experience.
Whereas perhaps most children from dysfunctional families leave home at early ages, often ill prepared for the world, I am puzzled by those that fail to escape the alcoholic lifestyle and in fact remain and partake in the dysfunction, rather than having the fortitude to overcome their insecurity to leave.
Dysfunctional adults from such families have a lot to overcome in life in order to gain control of their destiny and learn to love and live in peace.