The Ten Commandments
of Dysfunctional/Alcoholic/Addiction Families
    The Ten Commandments

    The First Commandment:
    Thou shalt reinterpret reality to preserve the perfect fantasy.

    Sample Situation: This commandment is designed to
    hide family secrets. If you saw dad stagger and fall down
    the basement steps because he was drunk, you can't tell the
    truth. "Daddy wasn't drunk; he simply lost his balance and
    tripped. Poor Daddy."
    Application: Even if you see it, it's not real. You must have
    made a mistake. Therefore, reinterpret what you saw to
    make it nice and respectable. If you don't, people will think
    you're - and we're - all crazy. We wouldn't want them to
    think that now, would we?
    Motto: Always believe the truth, the whole truth, and
    nothing but the alcoholic/dysfunctional truth.

    The Second Commandment:
    Thou shalt always send mixed messages, especially when it
    concerns relationships..

    Sample Situation: A dominating father tells his child, "I
    love you. Now beat it and leave me alone."
    Application: You don't really know what's true. Either
    your father loves you or he hates you. Since you never know
    for sure, you'll never be quite sure if others really mean what
    they say since those you loved most only spoke in mixed
    messages. They sounded good, but you couldn't trust them.
    Motto: Avoid people and relationships. It's the safe
    thing to do.
    The Third Commandment:
    Thou shalt be an adult.

    Sample Situation: Children were made to take care of their parents emotionally,
    physically, or sexually and to meet their parents' "childish" needs for power,
    attention, sex, and belonging. The children submitted to avoid physical and
    emotional abandonment by their parents. Children in these environments can't
    really remember a "childhood." For this reason, children were always expected to be
    adults.
    Application: Being child-like and spontaneous is irresponsible and bad. You must
    act like an adult at all times and be responsible, even if you're only five years old.
    Motto: There's no such thing as child's play. It's all serious stuff.

    The Fourth Commandment:
    Thou shalt keep secrets from others.

    Sample Situation: Daddy has a "secret" that only he and his little girl know. Of
    course, she can't tell Mommy. If she does, Daddy will hurt you and Mommy might
    leave and never come back.
    Application: A child's most important duty is to protect the image of their parents
    and family in the community. Watch what you say and be careful not to act funny
    around other people either. After all,  as family we have to protect each other. If you
    stay quiet, you're loyal. If you can't, we won't love you.
    Motto: To really love someone is to show loyalty by protecting their "secrets" at all
    costs.
    The Fifth Commandment:
    Thou shalt protect family secrets.

    Sample Situation 1: A member of the family commits suicide. Since this
    is not acceptable to discuss the member had ever lived here must be discarded. After
    all, no one in our family would commit suicide, would they?
    Sample Situation 2: A member of the family commits suicide. Since this is not
    acceptable; so any notion that the member had ever lived here must be discarded.
    After all, no one in our family would commit suicide, would they?
    Application: Our family doesn't have any problems, does it? Even if we did, we
    don't have to discuss or deal with them. After all, they're not that important. We can
    simply deny their existence so that we don't have to deal with the grief.
    Motto: Life's too painful to have to deal with the pain and the problems. Just ignore
    them, they'll go away.

    The Sixth Commandment:
    Thou shalt not feel.

    Sample Situation: A child cries because her best friend is moving away. "You
    shouldn't feel like that. Stop crying!" yells her mother angrily.
    Application: Since any display of emotion might betray the family secrets that all is
    not perfect, all emotions must be repressed and numbed. After all, we're a normal
    family. We're not like other people who get angry, sad, or afraid.
    Motto: Be respectable. After all, respectable people never show their emotions
    or pain.
Violence & Children's
Development
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Another view on the
Dysfunctional family
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If you are ready to make the change / transition to begin your
spiritual or healing journey (or have already begun) and want
to do so in the company of others going in the same direction,
why not email me? You may be able to exchange or share
your experience for others' mutual benefit and growth.
I sincerely hope that you take the Less Travelled Road
and that it brings awakening  and healing to you.
    NOTES - KT
    A family's purpose (remembering the cultural/community component) can be
    seen as: the living, sharing, nourishing and development of life in healthy
    circumstances - it is easy to see the differences in comparison.

    In sick families/relationships, when this purpose is no longer fulfilled - such as
    when  making a living or caring for children becomes immersed in addictions,
    lies, violence, or personal manipulation, yet still continues, that system has
    become dysfunctional - with strong codependency traits.

    * If, for example, Dad's drinking or abusing Mom allows him to continue
      working at his meaningless job, that the family depends on, then this behavior
      becomes accepted as part of the family system.
    * Because the child is born into it, the family's method of functioning is seen as
      "normal", rather than sick, maladaptive or deviant - it becomes simply "the way
      things are" for that child. It is part of their socialization process.
    * This form of dysfunction is shrouded in non-communication, alienation, fear,
      denial and anger which, while shared by all, is not permissible to express.
    * These feelings get channeled into standardized behavior patterns designed to
      keep the unhealthy system functioning as smoothly as it can under the
      circumstances.
    * The patterns become second nature, part of the basic survival mechanisms
      which  people carry through into all their subsequent situations.  

    The "good news" is, that these can be overcome, reversed,
    and healed from (see "The Awakening").

If you think you may be in a dysfunctional situation, or think have
acquired traits that may be dysfunctional, take the
Quiz.

    Klaas Tuinman M.A
    Deerfield (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia - 2009 [Rev. 2010-19]
    The Seventh Commandment (1):
    Thou shalt allow your boundaries to be violated,
    especially by those who "love" you.

    Sample Situation: A child trying to accomplish a task continues to persist and
    work on it, hoping to gain a sense of accomplishment and approval. "Don't be so
    stubborn!" mommy says. "Just give up. There's more important things than that to be
    done! Now put that stuff away and clean the house so that mommy knows you love
    her."
    Lesson Learned: Anything you want is not worth protecting. Only those you love
    can tell you what is important and what's not. Quit thinking for yourself and just do
    what makes  everyone else happy.
    Motto: Because others are more valuable than you, you don't have the right to
    maintain your own boundaries or to make decisions.


    The Seventh Commandment (2):
    Thou shalt be hyper-vigilant

    Sample Situation: A child is constantly reminded how dangerous the world is.
    People can't be trusted either. Therefore, stay aloof, don't get too close to anybody.
    Lesson Learned: The only way to be safe in this world is to be careful  and
    insulate yourself from others. Be careful. Always be on guard  They might hurt you.
    If you need help, don't ask for their help. Do it yourself.
    Motto: Always be on your guard.
    The wise person is always over-prepared and distrustful of everyone and everything.


    The Eighth Commandment:
    Thou shalt not let anyone do anything else for you. Do it all yourself.

    Sample Situation: Parents continually remind the child that no one is to be
    trusted. If they do something for you, they're doing it to manipulate you.
    Lesson Learned: Stay aloof and don't make friends with anybody. After all, if you
    get too close, they'll use, hurt and abuse you. And remember this: nobody does
    anything for anyone unless they want something from you.
    Motto: Do everything yourself.


    The Ninth Commandment:
    Thou shalt be perfect

    Sample Situation: "Just because you got all 'A's on your report card doesn't
    mean that you couldn't have done better. You're lazy. Now get to work and let's see
    you get some  more 'A+'s'!"
    Lesson Learned: If it's not perfect, people won't love you. No matter how good it is,
    it's never good enough . . .  but keep trying!
    Motto: You're only as good as your performance and that's still not good enough!


    The Tenth Commandment:
    Thou shalt not forgive yourself or others.

    Sample Situation: "You're always in my way, child! Why do you keep asking me
    to play with you? ? Don't you know I played with you last year? Wasn't that
    enough?! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Go to your room. Don't bother me."

    Lesson Learned: The only way I can be forgiven and loved is if I can earn it by
    making  mistakes, even a small one, they'll reject me or think I'm incompetent or
    worthless. I'm afraid I will make a mistake, I know I will, I feel so guilty. Therefore,
    even if I think I can do it, I won't. After all, I could make a mistake and then what
    would I do? Oh, I could  never go back and say I'm sorry!

    Motto: Since Jesus' doesn't forgive me, I can't forgive you either.
    The Ten Commandments Of Dysfunctional Families: A Summary

    The First And Great Commandment Is This:
    "Be a "good" person: Be blind, be quiet, be numb, be careful, keep secrets, avoid
    reality, avoid relationships, don't cry, don't trust, don't feel, be serious, don't talk,
    don't love and above all, make everyone think you're perfect . .  even if it makes you
    feel guilty."

    The Second Is Like Unto It:
    "Since you're worthless and nobody loves you anyway (including yourself), don't
    try to change yourself. You're not worth the effort and you couldn't do it if you tried
    anyway. God won't help you either.  So get back where you belong. There's nothing
    wrong anyway, so    what's your problem! See, I told you that you were stupid."

    - Adapted from Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
Dawn Cove Abbey
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From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman M.A
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Questions and comments welcomed.