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  • Families are supposed to be the people you can lean on during tough times.

  • At the end of the day, you know you can rely on them, and that they'll love you even through thick and thin.

  • But what about those of us who come from dysfunctional families?

  • And are the signs always clear and obvious, or can they be subtle and deceiving?

  • Here are 8 common characteristics of a dysfunctional family.

  • 1. Addiction

  • Roughly 45% of the U.S. population has been exposed to some form of alcoholism or alcoholic behavior in their family.

  • That's as many as 76 million people.

  • And approximately 26 million of those individuals are children.

  • The addiction can be drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both.

  • Addicted parents can have negative financial, communicative, or connective impacts on the family,

  • affecting every family member's ability to form close, healthy relationships with others.

  • 2. Perfectionism

  • This one can be difficult to spot, especially if a family looks picture-perfect on the outside.

  • When perfectionism is highly regarded, and children have to bear their parents' unrealistic expectations,

  • they may grow up with self-image and self-esteem issues, believing they'll never be good enough.

  • They also have a hard time going to their parents when they need emotional support,

  • so they may learn to close themselves up and have trouble trusting people.

  • When parents prioritize performance and results,

  • their children never learn to accept and improve upon their mistakes.

  • 3. Abuse

  • Abuse is another common characteristic of a dysfunctional family.

  • It can be physical, emotional, and/or sexual.

  • Abuse can occur between parents, parent and child, or siblings.

  • People use abuse to punish their families for (an) unwanted behavior, and stay in control when they believe they've been betrayed.

  • If you think you're being abused,

  • we encourage you to call your emergency hotline number.

  • 4. Unpredictability and fear

  • Unpredictability and fear go hand-in-hand.

  • It's a pattern often produced from abuse,

  • but can also stem from a family member's financial or emotional instability.

  • Children who come from an unpredictable household suffer from low self-esteem issues,

  • and either grow up to become extremely responsible crowd-pleasers or end up mirroring their parents' toxic behaviors.

  • Unpredictability and fear are results of overly rigid or religious upbringings,

  • when a family doesn't allow family members to form their own beliefs, aspirations, and interests.

  • 5. Conditional love

  • In dysfunctional families, conditional love is exercised by manipulative people.

  • When a parent or spouse only gives others love when they want something, they're either insecure or selfish.

  • For instance, a selfish mother might show love and support to their child just so that when the child reaches adulthood, they will take care of her.

  • When love is conditional, it can make family members feel used or cheated.

  • 6. Lack of boundaries

  • When a family doesn't establish healthy boundaries,

  • members will often feel like they have no privacy, or aren't being respected.

  • Parent who see their children as trophies or extensions of themselves are narcissistic,

  • causing children to feel confused about their own identities when they aren't properly nurtured or encouraged.

  • Boundaries are blurred when a parent tries to be controlling or dominant through anger.

  • And children feel like they have no choice but to act or behave in certain ways to please their parent.

  • As a result, they grow up feeling alienated or lost, and become overly self-critical.

  • 7. Lack of intimacy

  • Dysfunctional families often mistake codependency as intimacy.

  • In healthy families, parents teach their children how to be self-efficient.

  • But if a parent is scared of letting go, they'll make claims about being able to live without their kids if they grow up and leave.

  • Likewise, a spouse who may show excessive clinginess to their partner.

  • It's important for family members to be with each other because they want to, not because they have to.

  • Ultimately, love is a selfless act, and should never be pressured or forced.

  • 8. Poor communication

  • Family conflicts typically stem from poor communication.

  • When people can't express themselves due to strained or nonexistent communication, they feel unheard, invisible, or misunderstood.

  • Overall, dysfunctional families don't practice healthy communication skills,

  • so members can be quick to react rather than waiting to listen and understand.

  • The resulting arguments cause daily stress and challenges that tear the family apart.

  • Does your family identify with any of these characteristics?

  • What methods have you tried to bring the family back together?

  • Feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

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  • Your funding will help us continue producing quality videos, and reach more people in need of help.

  • And as always, thanks for watching.

Families are supposed to be the people you can lean on during tough times.

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B1 US family dysfunctional parent abuse communication conditional

8 Common Characteristics of a Dysfunctional Family

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    Evangeline posted on 2021/02/25
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