How To Handle Your Dysfunctional Family

How To Handle Your Dysfunctional Family

Avnish Mishra, Counseling Psychologist, BetterLYF

It is important to understand what we mean by a dysfunctional family before we start understanding how to handle a dysfunctional family. A family which becomes dysfunctional has multiple internal & external conflicts for eg,  sibling rivalries, parent-child conflicts, domestic violence, mental illness, single parenthood, alcohol or drug abuse, extramarital affairs, gambling, unemployment-influences that affect the basic needs of the family unit.”

The family develops unhealthy patterns of behavior in the face of challenging circumstances and the pattern/ the behavior becomes a part of everyday life. The dysfunction can reflect in the ways the family communicates, resolves issues, faces conflict, expresses emotions and feelings. 

 Moreover, in our culture that normalizes shame, one can hear phrases that run in households like – “Don’t cry, you are upsetting your father”, “You didn’t have to speak up in front of the elder, you have hurt their feelings, “or the cliche – “What will people say?”. The culture perpetuates and the individual imbibes it unconsciously and in turn, the learning is transferred from one generation to another.

 It is safe to say that most of us are going to find it hard to discuss this, let alone reach out for help. Most individuals often express their helplessness and how they are at the mercy of the situation but Psychologists beg to differ because we have figured out various ways to handle it and here’s why you should not wait for any further and reach out to us!

Here are a few ideas to help you manage your family’s cycle of dysfunction. In online therapy, you can learn about various other ways and gain knowledge about how we can turn the story and make this a little less stressful.

  1. Visit your past as an adult. – What I mean by “as an adult” is that we often look back carrying emotions of the child who had gone through it, which makes this perspective not of an adult but of a child. Except now, We are adults who can take responsibility for the present situation and can bring change.
  2. Gain a perspective – It’s true that the past can’t be undone but it’s also true that how we view our past depends upon us, what we learn from it depends upon us. 

Gaining a new perspective gives a new meaning to our experience and facilitates a positive change.

  1. Understand your role – In our life story, we have all kinds of characters and people playing roles of a savior, persecutor and sometimes of a scapegoat. Similarly, we also play a part in everyone else’s life story. Learn how you may have contributed to the whole conundrum that we call dysfunction. It’s not about a good or a bad role, it’s about whether the role serves us anymore or not.
  2. Identify the pattern and unlearn – What we learnt about attachments, values, beliefs, people, & the science of living a life as a child sets a blueprint for our current lives. To connect the two and two together, it’s important to identify the healthy and the unhealthy patterns we picked to be able to unlearn and relearn the ways of life.

If your family’s dysfunction is serious and you feel you cannot move past your trauma, you may need counseling for healing and committing yourself to change your life.

Get in touch with our therapist to get online counseling at BetterLYF now.

Seeking help is a sign of courage. Don't let self-limiting beliefs hold you back from a life you deserve. Avail online therapy to become happier and better. Learn how



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