• Anna Belle Wood

Is My Family Dysfunctional?

Is my parent a narcissist? Is my family dysfunctional? Is my relationship toxic? Who am I to even be asking? What's wrong with me? Other people had it way worse!

Perhaps you've asked yourself these same questions. Read up on the subject. Gone to therapy about it. But, you're still conflicted. There's a good reason for that!

A dysfunctional family is characterized by empathetic impoverishment. Empathy is the ability to understand another's feelings. Without empathy, we suffer.

Empathetically impoverished parenting does not consider the children's feelings. This might look like parents who...

  • Demand perfectionism.

  • Require hyper-responsibility.

  • Deny feelings.

  • Withhold love.

  • Are absent.

  • Hurt people.

  • Play favorites.

  • Punish rigidly.

This causes low self esteem, anxiety, depression, and more. Unfortunately, these very qualities make it hard to get started in recovery as adults (see those aforementioned questions).

If you are right here, smack dab in the middle of those waves of shame and self doubt, be encouraged. Your feelings, however complicated, make total sense.

Adulting after dysfunky is not for the faint of heart but it can get better.

Repeat after me:

  • I am not responsible for another adult's wellbeing.

  • I, as much as anyone, deserve my own support and encouragement.

  • Healthy people want me to love and believe in myself.

  • I deserve to take up space in my own life.

  • These feelings are not permanent.

And, know this. You are bigger than what happened to you and therapy can help.

Adulting after dysfunky is living with an inner parent who is devoid of empathy. Yikes! The good news is, you can begin to take the reins and offer yourself the empathy you always needed.

You can also learn:

  • What you like.

  • Who you are.

  • What you're good at.

  • Who you enjoy.

  • How to relax.

  • How to play.

  • How to celebrate.

And, many more fun things!

I hope you found this article helpful, highlighting the core struggle of adult children from dysfunctional families and its origin. You don't have to live the rest of your life denying and doubting yourself, without empathy. What's a kindness you can offer yourself today? It's hard out here. You deserve it!

Wishing you only good things...

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