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

Characteristics of "perfect daughters"

(adult daughters of dysfunctional families) 

  • Unrelenting inner critic

  • Perfectionism

  • If I do everything just right...

  • People pleasing, accommodating

  • Difficulty expressing feelings and needs

  • Internalized sense of shame

  • Everything's fine with me...

  • Crippling sense of guilt

  • Difficulty recognizing unhealthy behavior

  • What are boundaries?

  • What do I really want?

  • No one really respects me...

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
Open for Business

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.