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!

If You Don’t Say What Your Needs Are, You Become Invisible!

Many of us often wonder why our needs are never considered or why they are taken for granted. To fix this, we beg, plead, and try to do more, only to find that the more we do, the less we are noticed. Spouses, partners, and parents alike frequently struggle with this issue. The key to solving this puzzle is to learn a few simple concepts that can dramatically shift the balance of…

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Enabling Others: Encouraging Dysfunctional Behaviors

We usually “mean well” and want to be “helpful.” In fact, in many ways this helps us to work and solve problems together. However, there are times that the ways in which we help other people may actually cause more problems that we solve. This can happen even if we do it out of genuine love and concern. Understanding this concept is critical to our ability to develop healthy lives, friendships and…

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Freedom from Being an Adult Child of a Dysfunctional Family

It is hard for Adult Children to ask for professional help and therapy, even though this is the very thing that will help to free them from the “prison” of the past before they pass on their problems to the next generation. It is important to start to be aware of these potential traits so that one can start to “observe” themselves. The more one becomes aware of what they are doing,…

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What does Codependency Really Mean?

Individuals that relate to the patterns of Adult Children tend to struggle with codependence.  Codependency is best understood as a relationship where you do all the work, suffer all the consequences, the other person does not grow or change, others don’t even notice all you do, or appreciate it, and you end up worn out, exhausted, and blamed. Codependent relating is one where there is too much caring and helping. This is…

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Wait, I’m not Crazy?! Adults Who Grew Up in Dysfunctional Families

If you grew up in an unhealthy or dysfunctional family, it has drastically and permanently altered the course of your life. It is absolutely vital to understand how, specifically, this affects you so that you can stand a chance to change patterns of unhealthy choices and behaviors that plague you and your adult life. The bottom line is that it’s important to realize that you are not crazy. Rather, you grew up…

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Why Do People Who Come From Dysfunctional Families Have More Interpersonal Problems?

Have you ever felt that… …other people don’t understand you?…other people “have it out” for you?…you have to “protect yourself” from others?…others are just not as accepting of you?…you have to defend yourself from other people? The answers to these and many other questions are critical to your having a long-term happy life.  Understanding a few issues might be of some help. The challenge for you will be to read this material and learn…

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