It can be hard to describe the dynamics of your family growing up, especially if you didn’t realize at the time just how dysfunctional they were. When you’re no longer exposed to daily drama, you may look back on what used to happen and realize that there was something wrong with how your family operated.
With this in mind, here are five characteristics of dysfunctional families that might surprise you. According to Dionne Van Zyl, the more you learn about dysfunctional families, the easier it will be to recognize them in your own life and steer clear of any family breakdowns in the future!
Warning Signs That You’re in a Dysfunctional Family as per Dionne Van Zyl
1. Lack of Healthy Communication
According to Dionne Van Zyl, dysfunctional families typically have communication problems. Parents and children feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings in a healthy family. However, in a dysfunctional family, members often withhold information or feel afraid to express themselves openly, leading to misunderstandings, anger, and resentment.
Furthermore, dysfunctional families often have difficulty constructively resolving conflict. Family members may resort to name-calling, put-downs, or verbal violence instead of communicating openly and respectfully.
2. Lack of Support
A family is considered dysfunctional when it no longer works as a unit. According to Dionne Van Zyl, this can be due to several factors, including addiction, mental illness, abuse, and financial problems.
When a family is dysfunctional, there is often a lack of support and love. This can lead to further problems, such as depression, anxiety, and a wide range of emotional issues. In some cases, the dysfunction can even lead to violence.
3. Lack of Predictability
A dysfunctional family is a family where members have trouble communicating and interacting, leading to arguments and a general feeling of unhappiness. In some cases, the dysfunction may be caused by addiction, mental illness, or abuse. As a result, these families can be highly unpredictable and often chaotic. While families can overcome these challenges, it can be difficult, as per Dionne Van Zyl.
If you come from a dysfunctional family, you must seek help if you struggle. Patience and effort can heal your family and create a more positive future.
4. Lack of Emotional Intimacy
A lack of emotional intimacy often characterizes dysfunctional families. In these families, members may be physically close to one another but do not share their innermost thoughts and feelings.
This can lead to isolation and loneliness, as individuals cannot truly connect with anyone in their family.
5. Lack of Healthy Conflict Resolution
Dysfunctional families may also have difficulty healthily resolving conflict. Instead of communicating openly and working through differences, members may resort to yelling, manipulation, or even violence. As a result, individuals in dysfunctional families often grow up feeling insecure, anxious, and mistrustful of others.
Dionne Van Zyl Recommends Therapy for People in Dysfunctional Families
Dysfunctional families are all too common in our society, but they can be hard to identify until you’re living in one. It’s often not until we leave the family home and our parents are no longer there to influence us that we realize how dysfunctional our families were and how they shaped who we are today. Seeking therapy if you’re a victim of one or more of these characteristics is crucial. A therapist can help you to heal and move on to live a healthy, happy life.