When you have a difficult relationship with your parents, life can feel scary and unstable. TheHopeLine offers resources, help, and support to understand, navigate, and heal from difficult family and parent relationships.

You should reach out right away if:

  • You have been abandoned (or feel emotionally abandoned) by one or both of your parents.
  • One or both of your parents are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or other harmful substances and behavior.
  • You find it difficult or impossible to talk to one or both of your parents about circumstances or changes in your life (and how those situations make you feel).
  • You are feeling overwhelmed about your parents’ divorce or separation.
  • Your parents make you feel attacked or unsafe.
  • One or both of your parents are abusive.

Your family relationships should be safe, nurturing, and encouraging. If you don’t feel refreshed being around or thinking about your family, you can talk to someone who cares at TheHopeLine.

What is a Dysfunctional Family?

You may be wondering, “How did my relationship with my parents get this way?” No family is perfect, but many families have dysfunction that, when unaddressed, breaks down communication and hurts relationships. What makes a family dysfunctional?

A family becomes dysfunctional when conflict, abuse, cruelty, and other toxic behaviors become the norm. If you and your family fight constantly, and no one tries to improve their behavior or get help managing their emotions, you’re likely stuck in a pattern of family dysfunction.

It’s important to note that while outright cruelty and abuse are certainly part of what makes a dysfunctional family, those aren’t the only ways one can take shape. Families can also become dysfunctional if parents insist on perfection, have poor emotional boundaries, withhold affection, distance themselves from your life, or manipulate you into doing what they want.

What Can I Do to Heal Parent and Family Relationships?

As with any difficult relationship, how much it can change depends on how willing each person is to talk about the issues, acknowledge responsibility, and get help resolving the problems. If your parents are open to talking to a counselor, mentor, or therapist, you’ll soon be on the path to building a stronger relationship together.

If your parent is unwilling to get help, or if the issues in your relationship stem from having little to no contact with your parents, your path will be different. But it is still possible to let go of the pain and cultivate other meaningful connections with friends, family, and other people who make you feel safe.

TheHopeLine offers help with parent relationships through confidential email or live chat. We also offer prayer for family challenges anytime, day or night. Reach out to us today to get support and start on the journey to healing.

Want to learn more about family relationships? Search our library of resources (blogs, podcasts, ebooks, and more) for answers to questions like:

  • How Can I Stay Close to My Parent in the Military?
  • What Can I Do if My Parent Has a Mental Illness?
  • What if I’m Angry About My Parent’s Addiction?

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Free eBook: Understanding a Relationship with God

A guide to understanding the basics of Christianity and a meaningful relationship with God.  Do You Feel Like Life is Meaningless? Are you wondering what your purpose is? Do you have questions about what Christians believe or what it means to be a Christian? At TheHopeLine we believe real and lasting HOPE can only come […]

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