On this page you will see how Healthy/Functional versus Sick (Dysfunctional/Unhealthy)
Relationships form a stark contrast, as well as the 5 myths of relationships.
Note: the following, please bear in mind is a culturally-based description and comparison.
This is an important consideration, because what is considered "good", "bad", desirable and
acceptable varies widely across cultures and communities.
For more detail on that, read Culture.
|Comparing some characteristics of Healthy vs Unhealthy
There are many other points to compare - these are just a sample.
Five Myths that kill relationships.
- Love is enough: it isn't.
- There is nothing to learn: there is a lot to learn.
- If you love me, you'll _____: wrong.
- My partner/mate will change: says who, and why should they?
- I'll do my half: wrong - each has to do 100%
There is a tremendous difference between Healthy versus Sick (Unhealthy)
You may also have noticed that the components of a Healthy Love relationships are
far fewer - because healthy is easier - than those in Sick/Unhealthy Love relationships
Dealing with Power Games:
In a sick/unhealthy relationship, power games are not easily given up.
- Acknowledge that power games are real.
- Get help to disentangle if you cannot do it on your own, or by yourself.
Remember, dealing with an unhealthy relationship can be difficult,
frightening, confusing, and even unsafe.
Get someone you trust to help you.
This can be a good friend, a support group, a family member, a pastor,
or a professional counsellor or therapist.
You do not have to go it alone!
And the goal - mutual respect in a healthy relationship - is worth your acting now.
Klaas Tuinman MA
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada - 1995 (Rev: 2009 - 2017)
|Healthy and Sick Dysfunctional Relationships - a Comparison
|The Difference Between Healthy/Functional Relationships
and Unhealthy/Dysfunctional (Sick) Relationships
make the relationship work, and to each
- Both parties are totally committed to
- Do not try to change/control partner
- Take care of each other's feelings when
asked, or when it is sensed that it is
- Believes in equality and personal power in
self & partner
- Never laughs at their partner
achieving their full Human Potential.
- Allow all members to work toward
- Unhealthy codependence instead of healthy
- There is little, or no, individual growth
(manipulative behaviour &
- One person playing mind games
- Constant attempts at trying to change other
- Ongoing situation of experiencing negative
- Constant playing of "Power Games"
- Are judgmental or punishing - not
- They are aggressive but call it being assertive.
- They withhold something others want or need.
- They make decisions for the partner/spouse etc.
- They use bullying or bribing behaviours and
Regardless how long your behaviour pattern and circumstances may
have becoming a true survivor is possible at any time.
"Each night I die to old habits and to negative thinking and actions that
do not serve me any more;
each morning I am resurrected into new life, again and again – if I so
choose." (adapted from the chapel's prayers).
Many relationships are not very caring or loving on a consistent basis.
All relationships happen in a context of other people (within the relationship there is
always the "other" - but there are also familial influences as well as community ones.
One common feature in sick, unhealthy relationships is the use of "Power Games." The
word power can be used in many ways. Power games are manipulative behaviours that
keep two people in a relationship on an unequal basis.
The power games in sick and unhealthy, dysfunctional relationships - families can be
subtle or blatantly "in your face": power trips destroy!
Whichever way they appear, basically one person in the relationship believes he or she
must maintain control in the relationship. The person who believes this also feels the way
to be in control is to have power over that relationship.
People who buy into using power games to control a relationship often attempt, or engage
in, controlling behaviours.
They are listed below.
Childhood is where it begins.
Childhood and youth is where it began for almost all lost children;
for all "Adult Children of" . . .
So part of any healing journey is to reconnect with that child inside: the inner child.
And although healing occurs in all those who actively engage in that journey - there will
always be remnants and memories.
Dysfunction too often is generational: it is passed on from one generation to another.
The only way to change it is to break that cycle. The best way to do so is to begin one's
own recovery and healing, and then focus on children in one's life.
This cannot be emphasized too much.
(Also see "Childhood Is Where It Begins")
Good, healthy, functional relationships/marriages and families do not just "happen"
on their own. The people involved make them happen.
And the way they make them happen is by doing certain things differently than many
others around them.
Also see Love, Infatuation, Obsession etc)
They believe in, and practice, love, consideration, kindness and empathy.
It takes TWO people to make a relationship work
|Dawn Cove Abbey