Dysfunctional families promote very specific “thinking errors” that cause others difficulty in adapting to change and finding new ideas and directions. These errors in thinking cause a number of problems.

Denial: Prevents us from dealing with what is going in any situation. “We just have a little problem; nothing major to worry about. It’s not that bad!” This stops the discussion.

Confusion: Prevents us from taking responsibility. We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what is going on. Everyone thrives on crisis solutions and responding.

Self-Centeredness: Where the self becomes the center of the universe. Everything is perceived as an assault or confirmation, martyrdom, guilt, or shame.

Dishonesty: Lying by deleting, distorting, exaggeration, and minimizing issues that are talked about, presented, or discussed.

Perfectionism: Actually assuming that perfection is possible. This leads to covering up, denial and mistakes, trying too hard, pushing harder, stress and burning out.

Scarcity: A feeling that there is not enough to go around. It leads us to look for outward symbols for our inner assurance. We try to get more money, time, love, power, and so forth, to feel good about ourselves.

Control: An illusion that we can control how others think, feel, and behave. We try to find ways of controlling every aspect of the present and future to reduce our anxiety and uncertainty.

Ethical Deterioration: Lying to ourselves and others. Excusing the behaviors of others and ourself. Feeling that you have the right to whatever you believe.

Blaming: A frequently used way to make someone else responsible. It takes the focus off the person and blames others. Much energy is then spent “blaming and fault-finding” rather than solving the problem.

Splitting: Making other people into either “good or bad” entities. It plays one against the other and creates “drama,” but does not solve the problem. It keeps the energy going rather than deal with the real issue. We end up blocking results rather than working as a unit, supporting each other regardless of our differences. It leads to fault finding and causes upsets, not solutions and team building.

Peter Principle: This principle, developed by Lawrence J. Peters, Ph.D., suggests that people are ultimately promoted to their highest level of incompetence. This means that your supervisor, or others in authority, may be in a position where they do not know how to handle things and as a result are incompetent. You cannot change this. Instead, you simply have to understand it. Many times, organizations like to promote more incompetent people because they know that such people will not cause trouble to the “higher ups”. This creates loyalty at the expense of real productivity and creativity. However, once developed, organizations have just the one goal of surviving in order to keep themselves going. It may not make any sense to you, but the Peter Principle is a basic organizational reality that you will not have any control over.

We all hope to change other people in order to have a better “family” in this world. Our desire is that other people will be nicer to us. Ultimately, this is impossible.We have to understand the reality of life and quit trying so hard to control and change situations, organizations, and other people that we have no control over. All you have control over is yourself!

We have to understand the reality of life and quit trying so hard to control and change situations, organizations, and other people that we have no control over. All you have control over is yourself!

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