Adulting After Dysfunky

Is This You?

An adult daughter from a dysfunctional family, before significant recovery has taken place, operates in survival mode: 

  • She doesn't know who she is

  • She unwittingly betrays herself

  • She says and does what she thinks other people want or expect from her

  • She focuses on what might get her most immediate needs met

  • She is constantly guessing at what "normal" is

  • She hasn't known anything better

Colorful Friends

Note: These patterns of behavior can apply to adult children of any gender...

Athletic Woman

Emotional abuse from a parent can sound like:

  • You're killing your mother.

  • You're a disappointment.

  • Why do you hate me so much?

  • You have nothing to be sad about.

  • That never happened.

  • What's wrong with you?

  • I have nothing to apologize for.

  • You've never cared about me.

  • You're ungrateful.

Strengths of trauma survivors:

  • Resilience, capacity for post traumatic growth

  • Insight and understanding into societal issues

  • Appreciation for the "small things" in life

  • Increased empathy for others

  • Passion for helping people, social justice

  • Creativity, practicality

  • Levity, unique sense of humor ;) 

Couple with Baby
Morning Coffee & Paper

Thoughts that block recovery from childhood trauma:

  • It wasn't that bad.

  • Other people had it worse.

  • Was it really abuse, toxic?

  • I can't think of specific examples.

  • Physical, sexual abuse didn't occur.

  • My parents did their best.

  • I had a roof over my head, food.

Healing from a dysfunctional family or an invalidating early childhood environment is long term work. It's a lifetime. It takes time. Settle in for the long haul with plenty of patience and compassion. A great therapist doesn't hurt either.

Open for Business