A dysfunctional, sick, unfulfilling family or relationship is a secretive system with
    a lot of scapegoating, denial and enabling.

    Rules/motto of the Dysfunctional Family (taboo):
    Don't Trust, Don't Feel, Don't Touch, Don't Talk
    (learning early to keep the family's secrets).

    Children (kids) learn from their parents! The things children see, hear, watch,
    observe and experience their parents doing - are the things that "tell" the children
    "how life is"; what's okay; what's acceptable, etc.
    After all, that's where we learned (obtained) our basic notions about life - and
    those go (went) very deep! We become victims and survivors.

    Thus, the dysfunctional pattern is usually repeated by adult children of
    dysfunctional (alcoholic) families: a cycle - unless they become survivors,
    children from these families/relationships will tend to adopt their parents'
    patterns. Children who have grown-up in dysfunctional families share the traits
    of: fear, shame and anger.

    A dysfunctional family depends on harmful or counter-productive methods in
    order to function. It is a system that doesn't work very well: it is chaotic, harmful
    and hurts the people in it:

    it is a major source of stress and depression/anxiety, with many people living
    lives of quiet desperation (or as some describe it, a "living hell").

    In this family or relationship, counter-productive actions are repeated again and
    again until they become an inherent part of the system, because the overall
    functioning of the system becomes more important than the means: it is a
    maladaptive or deviant group/system.
Can wounded adult children
recover, heal and lead
creative, functional lives?
Yes, they can - and they
do!
    Traits: Children who grow up in dysfunctional, alcoholic and unfulfilling homes
    and families and spiritual damage to the child - with devastating consequences.

    They are robbed of their childhood. Their childhood is taken away from them - never
    to be regained - with devastating consequences: unless they become survivors: they
    take on character "roles". They often become "parentified".

    Parentification:
    Briefly, parentification is the process of role reversal whereby a child is obliged to act
    as parent to their own parent. In extreme cases, the child is used to fill the void of
    the alienating parent's emotional life.

    As “parentified children”, these children do such things as: dressing the younger kids,
    house cleaning, preparing lunch and dinner for the entire family, caring for and
    supervising the younger children and, acting as parents to their own parents.

    To misguided eyes, their adult behavior and wisdom is looked upon as cute because
    they seem to have naivete combined with these characteristics far beyond their years.
    In point of fact, these children are very unfortunate in many ways.

    Causes: an important one to these children (any children, actually), is the possibility
    of abandonment. The adultified child takes on responsibilities in the hope that it will
    hold the family together by keeping mom and dad around; to avoid being abandoned.

    Not all "causes" are "negative" in the way the above are. One reality of our time is
    that there are many single parent families. In these families, it falls upon children to
    carry adult responsibilities while their parent is out working. Often, in these
    situations, the parent is asking or expecting the child to take on adult responsibilities
    in their absence. The children, in a very large sense, become the parent of the
    household in the interim between coming home from school and when the parent
    returns to the household.

    There are two main consequences from being parentified:
    * intense anger,
    * and an inability to form solid attachments later in life (which creates many future
      relationship difficulties).

    This is different from the "role" mentioned above.

    The most seriously devastating of the "roles" is the Lost Child syndrome - for there
    is real emotional-mental damage there (and a primary focus of our Counseling/
    recovery healing services (see "Children - Roles" for more detail).

    Characteristics: In a dysfunctional, alcoholic or sick family, there is usually at least
    one person who exercises ownership of/over everyone else in that family system-
    unit. They treat all others in it as if they own them! Thus, feeling that they quite
    rightly can treat them anyway they want.
    Dysfunction in families/relationships knows no boundaries: it is found among rich
    and poor; among all cultures, races and religions & political systems.

    Closely connected to this overview of dysfunctional families are the following three
    inter-related aspects of the consequences of growing up in one:
    These are The Inner Child-Child Within,  Adult Children's adaptive "Roles",
    and The Lost Child Role/Syndrome.
Walk with Me
Through darkened rooms we'll
climb, Past covered dust-filled
sculptures in the night
With hand in Mine we'll fight
the shadows left behind
Till all that's hid within is brought
to light. Fear not that which is
lurking in the dark.
Nor tremble at the sights which
you have seen
For if in Me you trust with all
your heart. Then all the times
of sorrow I'll redeem
~Unknown
In unhealthy, toxic, sick, dysfunctional, maladaptive       
  • Try to control or manipulate the others ("use")
  • Make the others feel bad about themselves
  • Ridicule or call names
  • Dictate how others dress
  • Do not make time for each other
  • Criticize others' friends
  • Are afraid of the other's temper
  • Discourage all from being close with anyone else
  • Ignore each other when one is speaking
  • Are overly possessive or get jealous about ordinary behavior
  • Criticize or support others in criticizing people with your              
    gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability,             
    or other personal attribute
  • Control others' money or other resources
  • Harm or threaten to harm children, family, pets, or objects of    
    personal value
  • Use physical force or threats to prevent others from leaving
  • Children growing up in a dysfunctional family often display     
    behaviour problems because of the effect.
Also see "The Ten Commandments Of The Dysfunctional Family"
Dysfunctional / Alcoholic Toxic Families: Characteristics & Traits

"Roadside Assistance" for your healing and reconciliation Journey Of Life

Adult Children of Dysfunctional Toxic Families/Relationships - Resource
                   About Dysfunctional, Toxic Alcoholic Families
                     Effects on Adult Children, Victims and Survivors

    If you are an "Adult Child", what you are about to read is a
    description of  your family, and not an indictment of you. It
    describes the effects and behaviour patterns that result from
    toxic families, and were learned as results of a particular life
    history – and which can be changed.

    Dysfunction means  "Does Not Work! "  

    These toxic dysfunctional families are responsible for the behaviours
    its members,especially the children, engage in as coping and survival
    strategies.  These learned behaviours generally cause serious
    problems in their future lives - the young children grow up to become
    "adult children".

    In many situations families often put children in the difficult position
    of choosing between family loyalty and maintaining our own healthy
    boundaries. Family dynamics are heavily influenced by cultural
    values; and some cultures put a very high value on the closeness
    of family, as well as being loyalty to  family. Other cultures do not.

    If you come from a culture which places a high value on familial
    loyalty and your family is fairly toxic, you can be in trouble. It can
    create a real challenge to your own mental health.  

    What does a toxic family look like?  
    Toxicity in families can take as many forms are there are families,
    so it would be impossible to list them all. What you will find here
    is an outline or character sketch of the dysfunctional  toxic family.

    If you think you may be part of a dysfunctional family, or may have
    acquired some dysfunctional traits, this questionnaire and quiz may
    help you.
    The Dysfunctional Family/Relationship
    A dysfunctional family is a family in which conflict, misbehavior, and often child neglect
    or abuse on the part of individual parents occur continually and regularly. With the results
    that the other members end up accommodating such actions. Children who grow up in
    such families often end up believing that such an arrangement is normal.

    Dysfunctional families are primarily a result of codependent adults, and may also be
    affected by addictions, such as substance abuse (e.g., alcohol or drugs), or sometimes
    an untreated mental illness. Dysfunctional parents may emulate or over-correct from
    their own dysfunctional parents. In some cases, a "child-like" parent will allow the
    dominant parent to abuse their children.

    In an alcoholic, dysfunctional, sick family, the important life needs of members are
    not met: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc. There is no "safety", and certainly
    no happiness.
    Please note: the word "dysfunctional" as used here, means those important needs
    are seldom or never met: it does not refer to where for all of us, where at times some
    of our needs are not met because of momentary circumstances, or where someone
    else's needs at the time were more important. I positive family settings, there is a
    balanced approach to meeting everyone's needs as much, and as best as possible.

    The Dysfunctional Family
    It is a family, relationship, system or culture where one or both of the primary
    caretakers (parents etc) were unable to fulfill their family responsibilities; or one in
    which physical, emotional, or sexual abuse was experienced: a culture of dysfunction,
    with many forms of violence and abuse.

    Alcohol & Dysfunction feature inconsistent and unpredictable parenting, or has
    uncaring, neglectful, or critical parent-child interactions.There are many "causes" for
    dysfunction (addiction, violence/abuse etc), but the results all follow one identical
    pattern that is easily recognizable: what applies to one, applies to all: the Recovery/
    Healing, escape or overcoming is the same: it is like an "Awakening".
People who really want to heal,
will find a way;
those who aren't ready yet,
will find an
excuse.