Have You Ever Wondered If You Were Raised In A Dysfunctional Family?

4 min readAug 26, 2021

Here are some examples and common traits. Usually, dysfunctional families display more than one of these signs.

  • Privacy is not respected.
  • There are no boundaries.
  • Psychological manipulation.
  • Pretending that everything is fine when it isn’t.
  • Poor communication or lack of communication.
  • Neglecting emotions, lacking empathy, love, and support.
  • Lack of tolerance and excessive attempts to control others.
  • Emotional abuse, excessive criticism, name-calling, putting people down.
  • An excessive need to control and minimize the differences between people.
  • Pressure to act in a particular way that’s deemed “right”, whether regarding religion, politics, personality, or educational level.

Of course, any type of sexual abuse, physical violence, and or physical neglect are all clear-cut signs of dysfunction which I am not going to focus on here.

These are some of the causes of dysfunctional families. The first three groups of people are sometimes willing and capable of growing and changing. The last two groups of people almost never are.*

  • A parent who is ignorant of the needs of children and how to provide for them.
  • Parents lacking essential life skills, including communication skills and relationship skills. Parents with no coping skills and no problem-solving skills all of which are vital to a healthy family environment in the home.
  • Parents who are overly stressed, or workaholics, or have mental health problems, and or are addicted to substances.
  • People with narcissistic personality traits.*
  • Sociopaths and psychopaths.*

Dysfunctional family background can manifest as an adult. Here are some of the effects.

Believing that there is something wrong with you.

As children we consider our parents to be smarter and stronger than us. We look to them for guidance and protection. When the adults don’t make us feel loved or appreciated we automatically assume there is something wrong with us. We interrupt that we are to blame since it can’t be our parents and we feel unworthy of love and praise. You carry that thought throughout your life, you believe it is all you, and you carry this belief into adulthood. You believe you are worthless and that your wants and needs don’t matter. You believe you are garbage and allow people to mistreat you. As a result, you settle for less than you deserve. This makes you feel awful and your life wastes away to the point at which you meet all diagnostic criteria for depression.

Believing that it’s all your responsibility.

If you’re raised surrounded by people who criticize, humiliate, make fun of you, call you names, and blow up over the smallest things… you learn that you’re responsible for everything that happens. You learn to be cautious, to keep quiet, to tiptoe, to anticipate. You learn that it is your responsibility to keep other people happy. It’s your job to keep them calm. Keeping their lids from flipping is your job. It is your job to be perfect in every way. It’s your job to please. When you fail, your job is to suffer the guilt and the consequences. You become the textbook example of perfectionism and people-pleasing.

Believing that you are helpless.

As a child, there wasn’t much you could do to improve your life. At the time, you were just a child. It was impossible for you to do anything about what was happening in your family. You were powerless. It went unnoticed when you asked for help. Leaving was not an option. No other option was available to you. You just took it. As a result, you tolerated it. You persevered. For so long, you have only known negative outcomes. Later on, you became a hopeless and helpless adult. You did! You never learned that you have the power to change your circumstances. You were never taught that you are strong and capable. You were never taught that you have a choice. You never learned that there is hope.

Acknowledge that your family is dysfunctional. You have to acknowledge the dysfunctional nature of your family and the effects it has had on you. Recognizing an illness is crucial to healing.

You may lack self-confidence as a result of growing up in a dysfunctional household. Your dysfunctional family can keep you imprisoned for longer than necessary due to poor self-confidence.

This is called not trusting your own experience. You have doubts about yourself. It’s just one more sign that you’re dealing with a dysfunctional family. It messes with your mind!

A dysfunctional family is characterized by multiple problems that continue endlessly. An unhealthy family doesn’t pay attention to how other members suffer. A dysfunctional family doesn’t work on things together. Kids grow up with a poor sense of self, low self-esteem, and poor coping skills. As an adult, they are poorly prepared for life’s challenges.




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