Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Dysfunctional Family

As we talked about last post, the functional family teaches its members basic skills: To feel, to trust and to talk.  It is a "safe" place where you understand that you are loved even when you make a mistake or have a different opinion than the others in the family.  It keeps open, honest and loving communication flowing.

A dysfunctional family system simply lacks these skills because:
  • Someone in the family is emotionally or physically abusive or absent, or possibly an addict. Unconditional love is not present
  • Someone in the family is physically or mentally ill.  Not enough time or energy to take care of the members needs
  • Family secrets are the rule...the message is we don't talk about things - even among the members
  • One member of the family controls the others so they feel like robots
A family is dysfunctional if life skills are not being taught.   A family is dysfunctional if the members don't feel valued and protected.  Usually a family member knows something is wrong but the rules against expressing feelings, trusting or talking make talking about the problem very difficult so denial becomes the norm.  Denial is an unwillingness or inability to be honest about our feelings.  It can become a life pattern.  The result is growth and development as a person is hindered and a loss of identity can manifest.

Dysfunctional families don't work because they don't teach the skills needed to have happy effective lives.

The point of all this is not to blame because all these behaviors are passed down from generation to generation so if you want to cast blame it would probably have to be on your great - great - great grandparents and they probably got it from those before them.  The point is to recognize any passed down family dysfunction and change it in you so it will not continue to be passed down anymore.

We are going to take some time to see how these cycles begin in families and how we can learn to break the cycles and replace destructive patterns with Christ-honoring patterns of behavior

Next post we will talk about how destructive patterns creep into a family line.

Can you identify any harmful family patterns you need to change?

Teach God's teachings to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Deut.  11:19

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