Dysfunctional Families

No family is perfect, but when a family is truly “dysfunctional,” the consequences run deep. Does your household experience a lot of conflict, secrecy, unhealthy boundaries, and unmet emotional needs, all with a hefty dose of denial sprinkled on top? If so, it sounds like your family is dysfunctional.

It’s also common for family dysfunction to involve verbal/physical/emotional abuse, substance abuse, neglect, abandonment, addiction, personality or mood disorders, unsafe environments, or a toxic relationship between parents or siblings.

Some parents are directly responsible for causing and perpetuating the dysfunction in their family, and if that’s the case you may feel angry or betrayed, in addition to feeling scared. No matter who is to blame for the dysfunction in your family, it's ok to acknowledge that you are going through some challenging things.  There is no need to be fearful or embarassed about reaching out for help!
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How Does A Dysfunctional Family Affect Its Members?

Family dysfunction happens when one or more members of a family unit is unwilling or unable to care for their mental health, leaving their loved ones with a lack of support and the added burden of accommodating (or avoiding) their unhealthy behaviors. This absence of a strong support system impacts everyone physically, emotionally, and spiritually. How are your family dynamics hurting you?

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You aren't alone.

Check out these stories of hope from others who have struggled with this issue.

What's Faith Got To Do With It?

Losing faith in people usually means you lose your faith in God a little too. After all, where was He when your parents were fighting in the next room? But reconnecting with your faith can be a great way to process the love you deserve even though your family couldn’t give it to you. Through faith you can learn that you’re never alone, that there’s always hope, and that your needs deserve to be met. There are people who care and who are ready to pray for you anytime. Love is available to you right now, this minute. You don’t have to wait for it.

Be strong and courageous.  Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6
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How to Deal With a Dysfunctional Family

Living in a dysfunctional family can wreak havoc on your mental health, and it’s vital that you learn to take care of your mind if you hope to break the cycle of dysfunction someday. It’s not your fault that your parents have let their own issues create chaos in your family, but you can’t control them or their actions. What you can do is create a better path forward for yourself. Find supportive friends and community members, talk to your school counselors, and find a therapist who can help you start to establish healthy boundaries and coping mechanisms. Without help, you run the risk of perpetuating the unhealthiness in future relationships. What does taking care of your mind look like?

Professional Guidance

Do your best to make and keep appointments with your doctor or therapist to combat the negative impacts of family dysfunction on your physical and mental health.

Caring for Yourself

Make essential self-care tasks your priority. Eat when you're hungry, stay hydrated, and get good rest whenever possible. Always hold a space for the simple things you enjoy to help you stay grounded as you heal.

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